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General News of Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Source: www.newswiregh.com

I have never described Mahama as corrupt – Spio rubbishes reports

Former Trade Minister and a leading contender for the position of flag bearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has rubbished reports of him describing former President John Mahama as corrupt.

A report by the Publisher newspaper and replicated on its online portal, thepublisheronline.com, had suggested the former Trade Minister had gone all out to describe the man under whom he served as Minister as a corrupt and incompetent leader. Spio-Garbrah in the said story reportedly claims “Mr. Mahama in the past had been dented with both an “incompetence” and “corruption” tag, the very label that plunged the NDC to defeat in during the 2016 elections.”

But Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has refuted the claims by the newspaper insisting he never described the former President as corrupt and incompetent.

In a telephone conversation with www.newswiregh.com, Spio-Garbrah said “the reports are deliberately misleading with their headlines about what I said.”

He clarified that his words were a reflection of what delegates of the party had mentioned to him as part of the reasons why the party lost power hence, it’s erroneous for anyone to attribute the claims to him specifically.

“Those are allegations raised by NPP which are being cited by our NDC delegates and which I am also quoting. So I haven’t myself described the NDC government of which I was a part as being either corrupt or incompetent. I’m only analyzing the reasons that led to the NDC’s defeat in 2016. But even the Kwesi Botchwey report will have similar information is it. It won’t be that Kwesi Botchwey is claiming that the NDC government was corrupt or incompetent but this is what the people of Ghana were told and those were some of the reasons the people of Ghana voted against the NDC,” Spio-Garbrah said.

He added, “Flowing from those NPP accusations, the delegates are saying because of those reasons, it would be good for the party if we can present any candidate who cannot be reasonably described as either corrupt or incompetent so it is up to the NDC to identify such a candidate and present such a candidate to the electorate and it is my view that I can be describe as not corrupt and incompetent. Other candidates can come and present themselves in the same manner but I have not mentioned anybody’s name in the NDC as being corrupt or incompetent so that is all a fabrication by various media houses.”

Mr. Spio-Garbrah, in an interview on Accra based TV3 on Monday reportedly said the delegates of the party(NDC) do not want a leader who has the tendency of being called corrupt or incompetent.

He’s quoted as saying, “We lost the 2016 elections and now the party is reflecting on its losses…the delegates when I asked them what were the reason we lost the elections say…we were accused of being incompetent by NPP and we were also accused by NPP for being corrupt.”

He added, “so, I asked them what is the solution to that and they say we must make an effort to find a candidate who is neither corrupt nor someone who can be deemed to be incompetent.”

But the man who once served with John Mahama in the erstwhile NDC administration says he has not described his fellow contender in the flagbearer race as both incompetent and corrupt.

Ekwow Spio-Garbrah is one of 11 persons who want to lead the NDC into election 2020. The others include former UPSA Rector, Prof. Joshua Alabi, 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban K. Bagbin, former President John D. Mahama, former NHIA boss Sylvester Mensah and a private legal practitioner, Elikplim Agbemava.

Read below the full text of the conversation between Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and NewswireGH

NewswireGH: On what basis do you describe John Mahama as incompetent and corrupt having served with him in government?

Spio-Garbrah: The reports are deliberately misleading with their headlines about what I said. The statement I made I think is on audio tape and is on video tape and I encourage Ghanaians who are interested in this subject to go to my original comments.

I was reporting on interactions I’ve had with NDC delegates, constituency executives who are going to vote for a leader of the party in December and I asked them to tell me what were some of the accusations the NPP leveled against the NDC in 2016 which contributed to our defeat and they the delegates said one of those allegations was that the NDC government at the time was corrupt.

That was an NPP allegation against NDC. The second allegation according to our NDC delegates is that NPP again alleged that the NDC government at the time was incompetent. So according to our NDC delegates, the two main accusations the NPP leveled against the NDC government at the time was that it was corrupt and incompetent. Those are allegations raised by NPP which are being cited by our NDC delegates and which I am also quoting. So I haven’t myself described the NDC government of which I was a part as being either corrupt or incompetent. I’m only analyzing the reasons that led to the NDC’s defeat in 2016.

But even the Kwesi Botchwey report will have similar information is it. It won’t be that Kwesi Botchwey is claiming that the NDC government was corrupt or incompetent but this is what the people of Ghana were told and those were some of the reasons the people of Ghana voted against the NDC.

I mean, what do we think people voted NDC for or against. There were reasons they voted against the NDC and those reasons are what we are talking about but if the NDC doesn’t want to know why we lost the 2016 elections and we want to go into the 2020 election with blinkers on and completely blindfolded then that’s another choice we have but I have not myself accused the NDC government of which I was a part of being either corrupt or being incompetent.

NewswireGH: The report also suggests you said the delegates want someone who is not tagged as corrupt and incompetent. Is that accurate?

Spio-Garbrah: Flowing from those NPP accusations, the delegates are saying because of those reasons, it would be good for the party if we can present any candidate who cannot be reasonably described as either corrupt or incompetent so it is up to the NDC to identify such a candidate and present such a candidate to the electorate and it is my view that I can be describe as not corrupt and incompetent. Other candidates can come and present themselves in the same manner but I have not mentioned anybody’s name in the NDC as being corrupt or incompetent so that is all a fabrication by various media houses

NewswireGH: Could it have been an inference by the newspaper based on your words?

Spio-Garbrah: They may choose to interpret my statements but they cannot put quotation marks against my name. They the journalists can do their own analysis and write their own reports and put their own names against their own reports but from a professional journalistic point of view, and I happen to be a trained journalist, you can’t take somebody’s words and twist them, put them in quotation marks and claim that is what they said when that’s not what they said. They should quote what I said and then write their own analysis and put their own opinions and say well based on what Spio-Garbrah said this is what we, Kojo Mensah or Adwoa Boateng are saying as a journalist of a particular radio, tv stations or online media. This kind of journalism does not follow professional standards.”