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General News of Thursday, 31 July 2003

Source: Chronicle

Attoh's statement on prisons is malicious

An assistant government spokesman, Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, has described as malicious and unnecessary the suggestion by the Ho Central Member of Parliament (MP), Kofi Attoh, to the Interior Minister, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, to refurbish the country's prisons for use by NPP ministers and other officials when they lose power in the 2004 elections.

Speaking to The Chronicle in an interview in Accra yesterday, Amponsah-Bediako said the suggestion was malicious because it shows that the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) main motive for seeking to win back power is not to develop the country, but to seek revenge on its political opponents.

"The statement was unnecessary because it had the potential to generate political tension between the two parties. Such a development, Amponsah-Bediako said, will be unhealthy because "it will shift our focus from development and prevent us from utilizing our energy for the growth of the Nation" should the NDC's main motive be driven by revenge.

He explained that prisons are built or refurbished for lawbreakers or offenders who need to be kept away from the rest of society to reform.

"If this is the case," he went on, "it is wrong for anyone to seek election with the sole aim of causing the arrest of political opponents, even if justified, and jailing them by hook or crook as was the case in the past, when kangaroo courts were set up to try perceived enemies within five minutes and jailed for fifty years."

Amponsah-Bediako said the NDC appears not to have learnt their lessons from the public disapproval of the unjustified atrocities brought to bear on the people of this country during the days of the PNDC and NDC.

In his view, Attoh should not defend corruption, simply because some people who have been jailed by the law courts happen to come from his party, the NDC. The assistant government spokesman said that what is important is for everyone to go about his or her duties honestly, stressing that when this happens, there will be nothing to fear whether there is a change in government or not.

He noted that as a people, Ghanaians must move forward, not backwards and eschew what is wrong, irrespective of their political affiliation.

Last week, the MP for Ho Central, Kofi Attoh, suggested to the Minister of the Interior to provide sliding doors and carpets for the prisons for NPP ministers and officials who will be going there after the 2004 general elections. The call came as the NDC continued to criticize ministers and NPP officials for alleged corruption.

Moreover, almost there years after it handed power over to the NPP administration, three of its former ministers are currently serving various terms of imprisonment for corruption while some are still being tried.