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Opinions of Friday, 13 May 2011

Columnist: Daily Democrat

How much is Nana Konadu’s campaign budget?


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The allegation that President John Atta Mills is putting together a whopping sum of GH¢90 million (approximately $60m) to mount his campaign to lead the National Democratic Congress (NDC) into 2012 by Herbert Mensah is unfortunate.

The President had a good laugh at the assertion and appropriately dismissed it by questioning the rationale behind spending that amount of money on campaign for a flagbearership race that he has already won.

The witty responses that the President gave to the accusation should perhaps have settled the matter but his opponents, bent on smearing him with dirt, are now demanding to know how much his campaign is using for the Sunyani congress. The Daily Democrat wonders whether President Atta Mills is the only person contesting the flagbearership race of the NDC and whether his opponents have already declared how much they have committed into their campaigns.

President Mills, like any other aspirant is contesting the NDC flagbearership race and without doubt is bound to make expenses just like the rest of his challengers. What makes the expenditure of his opponents sacrosanct such that it should be hidden from the public while what the President does should be made public?

While Mr. Hebert Mensah and his associates are busily digging into the campaign of President Mills trying to uncover the non-existent can of worms, they have given Ghanaians a good reason to wonder how much money Nana Konadu has committed for her campaign and where the funds are coming from.

Perhaps there is no need to question Mr. Hebert Mensah, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawling’s associate who first made the accusation against the President. But then has Mr. Mensah taken time to also reflect where an officially unemployed Mrs. Rawlings is getting the money from to run her campaign?

Indeed, opponents of President Mills, inside and outside the NDC, will love to make breakfast salad with this allegation. Unfortunately for them, the Professor has left a legacy that nobody can rub mud on and as much as his accusers try to paint him as the most extravagant contestant in the flagbearership race, the man’s record speaks for itself.

Lest we forget, President Mills is not contesting the flagbearership race on behalf of the nation; he is in the race as an individual and as a member of the NDC. Does the NDC constitution demand contestants to make public the amount they have put together for their campaigns, if so the President should not be the only person answering questions on amounts and sources of campaign funds. As Ghana’s Head of State, President Atta Mills at least has the most stable job in Ghana with a stable income and if anything at all, he has a source of funds for his campaign.

If as Vice-President of Ghana, President Mills refused to take per diem on his journeys and exhibited his consistency by refusing to take it as President, Ghanaians can clearly see how opponents are simply trying their best to smear him with such baseless accusation. The per diem that the President has refused all these years he has been in government was a lucrative business for his predecessor, President Kufuor who went on superfluous journeys just to rake in some extra cash to drop into his money box.

Suffice it to say, why should a President who has given up huge sums of money that he can legitimately lay claim to turn round to splash such astronomical sum to prosecute an internal party contest he is a sure bet to win?

President Mills could not have said it better when he stated that he would have to break the Bank of Ghana for a general election if he could put GH¢90 million just to contest for an internal party election.

This spurious allegation, though meant to erode the fortune of the President in the flagbearership race would become the wings he rides on to victory on July 8. Ghanaians saw it happen before the 2008 elections when every horrible thing on earth that could ever be said about a person was heaped on the then candidate Mills. Eventually he was declared dead by his opponents who had hitherto contended he was a dead man walking. President Mills survived the doom prophecies to win the elections.

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