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General News of Saturday, 12 December 2015


Sir John: ‘I pity Amissah-Arthur; he was forced on Mahama'

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President John Mahama was railroaded into retaining Vice-President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur as running mate for the 2016 elections, former general secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie has said.

“I pity this Vice-President,” Sir John, as Mr Owusu Afriyie is popularly known, said on Saturday on Joy FM’s special end-of-year edition of its news analysis and current affairs programme Newsfile at the Coconut Grove Hotel.

“This is a man who, at a point in time, in a conference, Rawlings had to stand up for him because the president had no confidence in him and had sent Hanna Tetteh to come and deputise for the president while he was around, and it took the intervention of Rawlings to send Hanna Tetteh away and asked that the vice-president be brought and he was whisked in with no coat, later on they found him one.

“And so, it seems to me that this is a man who the president has no confidence in. He was pushed into accepting him. I saw the body language of Asiedu Nketia and others when the announcement was made. And it could tell you that the president was clearly stampeded and pushed and, so, whoever he names is not a matter for us,” Mr Owusu Afriyie added.

President Mahama on Monday, December 7, 2015, informed the governing National Democratic Congress’ National Executive Council (NEC) of his decision to retain Mr Amissah-Arthur as his running mate.

"I consulted with the council of state and nominated Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, my vice-president, as my running mate. Reason being: he is able and willing to do the job, he’s got a good track record, he’s been deputy minister, he’s been governor of the Central Bank, he’s been my vice-president, indeed he’s been acting president on occasions I’ve been out of the country.

“I believe that it’s been a useful partnership. We went into 2012 together, and I believe that going into 2016 together we will achieve victory,” the President said.

However, Mr Owusu Afriyie said contrary to the President’s stated reasons for retaining Mr Amissah-Arthur as running mate, he has no confidence in him. “I’m worried for him. As we speak, where is his official residence? The president is still occupying the place where he ought to be and he [Vice-President] is just hovering around. He has nowhere even to stay. This is a problem for me and so they don’t have confidence in him,” Sir John added.

Ahead of the president’s announcement of Mr Amissah-Arthur as running mate, a group calling itself Volta Youth for Development, which claims to be non-partisan, issued a statement in which its members described the Vice-President as an “incompetent” deputy to President John Mahama, and called for his replacement with Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho.

Leader of the group Prosper Fofo Ndekor said in radio interviews that President Mahama and the NDC risked losing the 2016 general elections if Mr Amissah-Arthur was retained.

To buttress the group’s incompetence charge against Mr Amissah-Arthur, Mr Fofo Ndekor asked: “How many times do we hear of the activeness of the Vice-President?”

He also cited a situation a few months ago where Foreign Affairs Minister Hanna Tetteh represented the president at a forum held in Accra instead of the Vice-President doing so, a situation which forced former President Jerry Rawlings to raise a protest.

“It’s a clear indication that even the president knows his vice-president is incompetent,” Mr Fofo Ndekor told Kweku Obeng-Adjei on Starr FM’s Midday News at the time.

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