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General News of Wednesday, 8 January 2003

Source: Chronicle

JAK's Attack On JJ: Botwe Defends President

The general secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Dan Botwe, has defended President Kufuor on what appears to be a vitriolic attack he launched on ex-President Rawlings and his party at the just-ended national delegates congress of the NPP in Sekondi.

At the congress and rally which were attended by thousands of people from the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, President Kufuor inveighed ex-President Rawlings for staging the 1981 coup that brought him to power for the second time and his recent remarks, which he described as bizarre. Kufuor asserted that it was God who allowed his party to come to power for Ghanaians to know the difference between a good government and a bad one.

He also described the ex-president and his party (NDC), as reluctant democrats who were dragged, kicking and screaming, by powerful influences, both domestic and foreign, to accept the concept of constitutional rule.

"In government, they regard laws as hindrances to be, at best endured or, indeed, ignored when it suited them," the seemingly emotionally-charged president said with corresponding applause from the partisan crowd whose movement brought traffic to its knees in the metropolis.

In defending the surprising speech delivered by the president, in an exclusive interview with Chronicle, Mr. Dan Botwe said those saying the president overacted to the Rawlings effusions may not be far from right but the current situation dictates that.

According to Dan Botwe, for some time now President Kufuor has been trying to ignore the numerous remarks made against him by Rawlings but the latter keeps on doing it. The general secretary told the paper that members of the NDC, of which Jerry Rawlings is the founder, know that the ex-president is a liability to them but they have allowed him to make unpalatable public statements, which is affecting the party.

To Botwe, President Kufuor's speech, which was delivered at no other place than a party function, was appropriate because he had given Mr. Rawlings a long time to reciprocate his decision to ignore him but the latter abused that.

In the said speech, which was delivered after the congress had overwhelmingly endorsed him as the NPP presidential candidate for the next elections, President Kufuor who was flank ed by his beloved wife, Theresa, said his administration does not believe in the use of the security agencies as terrorists to harass the people of this country.

According to him the security agencies should rather be there to protect the people so that they could have freedom to work to develop the country.

President Kufuor said the NDC had become desperate after maintaining the belief that they were invincible. After the presumed invincibility had been broken in the 2000 elections, Mr. Kufuor noted, they have become desperate people.

"Now they are even saying the opposition is a hell but we were there for 30 years without dying," the president said to the applause of the enthusiastic crowd and added that his administration would not permit any one to use undemocratic means to get to power.

Directing his attention to the Western region, President Kufuor said perhaps it is the richest region in the country; it has, however, suffered a disgraceful neglect in the area of its infrastructure.

He promised that his government would direct its attention to the region to ensure its development, especially in the road sector.

The president said the Takoradi port, Ghana Railway Company and other key sectors would also receive a special attention from his government in order to create employment for the people in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis.