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General News of Monday, 13 June 2011

Source: GNA

Akufo-Addo promises to strengthen institutions of democracy

Accra, June 13, GNA - The 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Saturday recommitted himself to his 2008 campaign promise that if voted into office he would deepen Ghana's democracy.

He said he would do so by empowering the public sector as independent entities, serving the wider public interest in an efficient and professional manner.

A statement from the party said Nana Akufo-Addo, who has spent the last 35 years as a principled advocate for democracy in Ghana, told a packed evening town hall audience of Ghanaians in Germany that he knew the value in protecting and deepening democracy.

He promised: 93I would not do anything to put the democracy that we have fought for in jeopardy. Indeed, I am committed to making our democracy work better for us in our fight to create a society of opportunities, by bringing human dignity, security and prosperity to every household in Ghana."

The statement said Nana Akufo-Addo, acknowledging the presence of members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the audience, thanked them and urged all political activists to focus on a 93competition of ideas" for the common national goal for development.

"Not all of us in this room are bound to agree. Indeed, that would not be ideal. Germany is benefiting from a vibrant competition of political ideas and an efficient public service that serves the people."

Ghana, he said, should not be different. 93What is important is that we put Ghana first and we allow the institutions of state to work for everyone."

Earlier in the day, in giving his keynote speech at the 3rd International Conference of the NPP, Nana Addo warned 93that democracy cannot endure if the leaders and the people are not committed to it; if they do not understand it, or if they are not sincere to its principles and values."

He urged Ghanaians to treat democracy like a planted tree that required nurturing.

US President Barack Obama's call that Africa needs strong institutions and not strong men has become a major mantra in Africa.

But, without referring directly to what the U.S leader said in Accra two years ago, the NPP flagbearer stressed, 93Democracies do best when there are strong and vibrant institutions," and went on to remind Ghanaians about similar statements that he made in the past.

Nana Addo told the Germany conference, 93Let me repeat what I said on May 16th 2008," three years ago, when he delivered the second in the series of the Ferdinand O. Ayim Memorial lectures: 93Strong democracies are built by strengthening the institutions of democracy, rather than the power of men."

A month later on 26th June, 2008 at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Evening Encounter with Presidential Candidates, Nana Addo went on to say, 93The gains we have made in our democracy due to the sacrifices of great individuals must be protected by great institutions."

Last Saturday, he renewed his 2008 promise to Ghanaians that his government would empower the institutions of state with the necessary resources.

"When we come back," he said, 93we shall prioritize our budgetary arrangements to ensure that we have the funds to strengthen Parliament, the Judiciary, CHRAJ, EOCO, Food and Drugs Board, Standards Board and other institutions with more resources and where necessary, better personnel and greater efficiency."

In addition, "it is equally vital that we promote the development of a culture whereby these bodies see themselves as independent public entities serving the wider public interest, not the temporary conveniences of the government of the day".

But, he said it would not come on a silver platter. "It takes dedication, determination, discipline and a collective sense of responsibility to build a great nation. That sense of responsibility must necessarily involve the growth of a public sector that responds to the needs of its citizens," he noted.

What Ghana needs, according to him, is 93a public service that frowns upon the culture of corruption and provides the people with a quality environment of law and order, physical infrastructure, social services, sensitivity and quick responsiveness to needs, and a regulatory environment that allows free and fair competition."

"I have stated that I want to come to office with programmes, not promises. It will include a programme for the development of a first class public service that will help administer, at the national, regional and local level, the machinery of state with efficiency, respect for citizens and value for money."

A central function of the public service under an Akufo-Addo presidency, he said, would be 93the supervision of a humane public healthcare system that is accessible to all, and a quality public education system equally accessible to all. It must ensure that our cities, towns and villages are safe and clean."

Nana Akufo-Addo said Ghana must have a public service 93that supports not hinders, the growth of the private sector, the goose that lays the golden egg of prosperity and progress. We will build such a service."

The NPP flag bearer condemned what he called, a 93leadership crisis in Ghana", where the three arms of government were under some needless strain. "Not only in the Legislature and the Executive can we sense a crisis.

The Judiciary, the defender of our liberties, is under threat as well, facing a constant barrage of intimidation and harassment from agents of Government and the ruling party, a most unwelcome development for Ghanaians," he said.

In the speech, in which he also articulated his vision for the Ghanaian economy, Nana Addo reiterated his commitment 93to building a new society of opportunities, where every Ghanaian has the opportunity to better him or herself, and by so doing better the Ghanaian society".

Describing that as the NPP way, he explained, 93That is what we mean when we say we want to build a property owning democracy in Ghana."

Nana Addo argued that the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition of the NPP had been the most consistent and principled.

He said the party remained driven by the principles and values which motivated the founding fathers of Ghana and his government, God willing, would not deviate from those enduring values and ideals.

"In 1969, when outlining the goals of the Progress Party, Kofi Abrefa Busia, its leader and one of the three seminal figures of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition of Ghana, committed to providing for every Ghanaian, a job and to every worker, security; to every family, a decent meal and a decent home. To every person, equal opportunity and social justice," the NPP flag bearer recalled.

He added, 93To every individual, the essentials of freedom of speech and expression; freedom of movement and association; freedom of conscience of worship and to all Ghanaians, progress. We still stand by these goals, and, God willing, when we come back to power in 2013, we shall work hard to achieve these and more for the Ghanaian people."