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General News of Thursday, 28 February 2008

Source: Nana Obeng-Danquah

Akufo-Addo sets up task force

Appiah-Menka During his campaign for the flagbearership of the New Patriotic Party, one key message of his campaign was a pledge to re-define the relationship between the government and the party that helped set up the government.

A little over two months after winning the contest, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has set up a Task Force to ensure that the party has a greater say in the formulation of government policy. It will also seek to address the charge of neglect leveled against the government by foot soldiers and members of the party.

The ten-member Task Force on Party and Government Relations was yesterday inaugurated at the party's headquarters at Asylum Down, Accra. Veteran politician and staunch NPP member Akenten Appiah-Menka, who is also Chairman of the Ashanti Region NPP Council of Elders, chairs the Task Force.

Other members are General Secretary Nana Ohene Ntow, Greater Accra Chairman Sammy Crabbe, South Tongu DCE Kate Aglah. The rest include Nii Ayitey Boafo of the Office of the President, Kwasi Ankama also of the President's Office, Francis A Boakye, Patron of Tescon, Mercy Ngala, a Party activist, Western Region Organiser Kojo Acquah, and Asoma Cheremeh, a lawyer.

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, the Task Force will among others advise the party in the making of appointments so as to get the balance between competence and loyalty to the party’s principles right; propose ideas on how to make the party the intellectual source of ideas and policies and make it the "guiding force of our governments;” devise ways to address the legitimate welfare concerns of party members.

It will also seek to make the President and Ministers more accessible to party members; and work to improve the working relationship between party functionaries and government appointees at all levels.

This, according to him, would reinforce the links between the NPP and the government so that the party members become "part and parcel of the party’s victory." Mr Appiah-Menka told The Statesman that the essence of the committee’s mandate was to get the party people to have confidence in the party and work for its success and victory.

He stated that for the committee to attain its objectives as envisaged by the party and its flagbearer, both the national and the party’s constitutions ought to be revisited to fine-tune the necessary changes.

"While some aspects of the 1992 Constitution which are pregnant with the seeds of dictatorial tendencies are not the subject of this forum nor even the party alone, I believe the weaknesses in the party’s own 1992 constitution which contribute to the gap between the NPP government and the NPP, as a party of the government in power will have to be revisited," he noted.

According to him, this should be done before the next NPP President is sworn in by January, 2009.

He noted that the last sixteen years have given NPP the opportunity to observe its strengths and weaknesses both in and out of power maintaining that, "In multiparty democratic systems, the opposition party, in a free and fair elections never wins power. It is rather the governing party that loses elections and hands over power to the opposition party to become the government."

Mr Appiah-Menka, on behalf of the committee, assured the party that with unity, commitment, trust and transparency they would live up to expectations but called for the necessary support and co-operation.

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