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General News of Thursday, 14 February 2008

Source: GNA

Kufuor: Focus political campaign on what you can do differently

Accra, Feb. 14, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday counselled political parties to focus their campaign to win votes more on what they would do differently, if they were given the mandate to govern.
They should also avoid resorting to threats, abuse and projecting their opponents in bad light. The advice comes as Election 2008 to choose who succeeds him and new Members of Parliament (MPs) shifts gear. In his State of the Nation Address, the eighth and the last to be delivered by President Kufuor to the 230-member Parliament, he observed that in canvassing for any elective office, political parties had the machinery for marketing their favourite candidates for a choice to be made by voters.
He faulted the situation where it was increasingly becoming evident that some preferred the marketing strategy of presenting their opponents in the worst possible light.
"I dare say they might do better if they focused more on what they would do differently, if they received the people's mandate." He reminded politicians that far from being at war, the parties were only going into elections. The President dispelled any suspicions about the transparency and fairness of the December polls, pointing out that the country's electoral arrangements currently in place had been put to test four times already since 1992, with outcomes that had been endorsed as reflecting the true wishes of the people. "Each election has thrown light on areas that need attention. Thus we have progressed from opaque to transparent ballot boxes and from Voter Identification (ID) Cards with no pictures to ones that have pictures."
In addition, polling agents of the political parties have acquired experience from each round of elections and with training could get even better.
Another refreshing news is that ongoing work on the National ID Cards has so progressed that issuance of the cards should be possible this year.
President Kufuor also made reference to the independence, competence and capacity of the Electoral Commission (EC), which has received international commendation over the years for its neutrality and professionalism to conduct credible elections.
The Judiciary was also there to be petitioned by those who felt aggrieved or short-changed, he said, adding that, there was so much going for the electoral process that there was no reason to contemplate extra measures for resolving imaginary scenario in the polls. He used the address to thank the nation for the opportunity given to him to serve as the country's President for two terms. "I want to thank especially my favourite political party, the New Patriotic Party, on whose ticket I stood, whose vision has been my source of inspiration. I have no doubt that the party's motto: Development in Freedom, remains relevant."
President Kufuor had earlier given an upbeat assessment of the performance of his Government over the last seven years, describing its achievements as solid.
The Government, he said focused on providing the platform for accelerated growth and this had been achieved through macro-economic stability.
The next phase of development should take the nation into industrialization, with attendant employment opportunities and value addition to raw materials, especially agricultural produce. Critical to the industrialization phase, he said, had been the acquisition of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) and with this the dream of Ghana's first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah at long last was within reach.

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