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General News of Tuesday, 29 November 2005

Source: Joy Online

Esseku is bitter- Dan Botwe

Information minister Dan Botwe says the reported comments of NPP chairman, Harona Esseku, about payments on contract awards at the castle could be a case of sour grapes.

He says Mr. Esseku is peeved because he appears to have lost President Kufuor?s support in his bid to contest the party?s chairmanship for a second term.

Mr. Botwe, former general secretary of the NPP, was speaking to Joy FM in reaction to allegations by the Enquirer newspaper that the president personally distributes money collected from some companies for party activities.

The newspaper attributes the allegations to Mr. Esseku who has persistently denied them.

Commenting on the issue, Mr. Botwe said Mr. Esseku?s comments could be described as a way of hitting back at the president for refusing to back him in the chairmanship race.

? Mr Esseku wants to be re-elected as national chairman. For some time now it is generally believed that he enjoys the full support of the president in his 2001 campaign. Now the president doesn?t seem to support him again. So certainly there are some sour grapes there, he is a bitter man. I?m telling you that he is bitter about the fact that he is not going to get the support of the president to be re-elected,? he said.

However, NDC MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga disagrees with the information minister.

He says Mr. Esseku?s alleged comments must be investigated.

?The national chairman of a political party, you admitted was close to the president. A person in that kind of relationship is more likely to know exactly what happens when it comes to the president?s fundraising tactics and strategies.

If the chairman is the most important person in the party, how come that he is not important enough to know how much money is coming to the party, who is taking the money, the decision and about how the money is being spent.

Let?s be frank here, he has made some statements and I believe that nobody would have the interest of the party at heart more than the president. We need to take the statements serious and not dismiss them the way you are proposing,? he said.

Meanwhile Mr. Esseku, who continues to deny the newspaper reports, has also dismissed suggestions to go to court saying it is his prerogative.

When he called into JOY FM on Tuesday morning, Mr. Esseku repeated his challenge to The Enquirer?s editor, Raymond Archer to broadcast the taped recording of his interview.

It?s been suggested that the party chairman should consider resigning or giving up his plans of contesting the position of national chairman again in the wake of the alleged contracts scandal.

But Mr. Esseku disagreed

?There is no pressure on me to resign, why should there be pressure on me to resign. I heard someone saying that it will be in his own interest to resign. What interest. I was elected to be in office till the end of the term. If I have said something they should investigate it but why should I resign?

I have not contemplated resigning; when I do, I will resign. I have filed to run this election and I am going to run,? he said.

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