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General News of Monday, 5 September 2011

Source: Franklin Cudjoe

Wikileaks - Raw Notes On Ghana

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1. Embassy was approached by two advisors to National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate John Atta-Mills, Edward Nunoo and Sylvanos Tamakloe, who told Political Office that Electoral Commission (EC) Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan was being pressured by the ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) to announce false results that would be supplied by the NPP. The EC Chairman told Ambassador that the allegations were "utter nonsense." #WIKILEAKS

2. Ivor Greenstreet said that Nduom's campaign is entirely self-financed, and that money goes only to Nduom and his chief campaign strategist, David Ampofo, who receives about $5,000 a month to keep Nduom's name and image front and center in the media. Although Nduom can't win, he hopes to establish long-term viability for himself through media recognition. #WIKILEAKS

3. When the Political office pointed out that the rumor mill had consistently put the Libyans in the NDC camp, Pratt said that Akufo-Addo's funding did not come from Qaddafi, but from the Libyan foreign minister, with whom Akufo-Addo had established a close relationship during his days as Ghana's foreign minister. He added that President Kufuor controlled most of the NPP party money that would normally flow into Akufo-Addo's campaign, and that "he hangs on to a lot of it."

4. If the NDC wins, Pratt is convinced, Rawlings will no longer have a political voice that resonates with the people, and the victory "will put an end to the Rawlings factor forever." In the case of an NPP win, however, Pratt fears that Rawlings could gain a new lease on life in national politics, re-emerging as a redemptive figure hailed by an army of disillusioned and disenfranchised youth. #WIKILEAKS

5. Pratt said that he has a long-standing personal relationship with both Akufo-Addo and John Atta-Mills that goes back at least two decades. He felt that Akufo-Addo had been unfairly tarnished by the assumption of corruption because of the high-level positions he has held within the Kufuor administration, but that he was in fact much cleaner than most of those around him. #WIKILEAKS

6. However, while President Mills has struck the right rhetorical tone regarding his commitment to combating narcotics, Akrasi Sarpong said that the Mills Administration has so far failed to provide adequate resources to NACOB. He underlined that the force is understaffed, underfunded, and underresourced. (COMMENT: Sarpong implied that police are open to corruption because of their personal financial situation.

7. In reaction to Prof Mills claims about a sinus infection and his radiotherapy in South Africa, Foreign Service Health Practitioner at post notes that MRIs are usually not required to diagnose sinus problems unless a physician is concerned about tumors. He also notes that radiation therapy is not usually used to treat sinus infections (usually antibiotics or surgical repairs are used), but that such therapy is more likely used to treat some form of cancer. #WIKILEAKS

8. In a January 17 meeting with Political Chief and visiting AF/W Desk Officer (reftel), Mills claimed to know about a recent plot to assassinate former president J.J. Rawlings. When asked for more details in the January 26 meeting, Mills said some colleagues informed him about one month ago that some members of the Govt and ruling NPP party had sent professional assassins from the United States to assassinate Rawlings in Ghana. #WIKILEAKS

9. We have heard from other sources that Grace Coleman is seriously ill, but PolChief has affirmed to Ghartey that an illness would not exempt Coleman from extradition. Our understanding is that Members of Parliament are not immune from criminal prosecution except on their way to and from work while parliament is in session (although the definition of "work" has been debated). #WIKILEAKS

10. Prof Mills traveled to China and South Africa in the past few months for medical check-ups, which stirred media speculation about his health. Several well-informed contacts have told PolChief Mills has/had throat cancer. Other NDC sources close to Mills insist he only had sinus problems which developed as a result of his regular swimming. PolChief saw at the convention that Mills had lost weight but appeared energetic. #WIKILEAKS

11. Rawlings may have some medical problems -- he trembles slightly and loses his thoughts frequently. He called on his colleagues for opinions and then insulted them in front of us. His raw outbursts and scattered ideas are typical, and as bizarre as ever. His views of a coming violent convulsion contrast with the much more moderate, democratic views of many others in the NDC party. Rawlings can however still whip up his own people to cause trouble if he chooses.

12. Rawlings agreed that the NPP manipulated the 2004 results, stating "killings will take place" in 2008, including possibly his own death, because the NPP is desperate to stay in power. #WIKILEAKS

13. PNC leader Edward Mahama agrees with the claim that Prez Kufuor supports Alan Kyeremanteng, recently telling Ambassador that the Asantahene (an important power broker in the NPP and close to Kufuor) dislikes Akufo-Addo because of his ties to a rival traditional leader. #WIKILEAKS

14. Akufo-Addo is a formidable contender for the NPP slot. He is respected for his intelligence, political family background, and broad government experience, which includes tenures as Minister of Justice and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is reportedly backed by NPP youth and Akyem businessmen. On the other hand, he has poor organizational skills and often comes across as arrogant and formal, which may not play well with many party activists and Ghanaian voters. #WIKILEAKS

15. Spio-Garbrah was a loyal supporter of Mills in the 2000 and 2004 races and has been very involved in the NDC. He served as Minister of Education and Ambassador to the United States under former President Rawlings. Nonetheless, he appears to have offended some section of the party, including his peers. Fellow party supporters cringed when Spio-Garbrah recently claimed that the NDC lost the 2004 election because of the quality of its leadership. #WIKILEAKS

16. [2006] According to Obed Asamoah, Rawlings was actively working against Atta Mills, making it impossible for him to gain the party's nomination for president. #WIKILEAKS

17. Ghartey said that the key to quickly resolving the cases of the four narcotics suspects and the corrupt judge was authenticating their voices on the respective tapes. Predictably, the suspects have denied that the voices are theirs and Ghana reportedly has no experts who can authenticate these voices for use in court. He asked for USG assistance in providing a voice expert to authenticate these tapes (which are in the Twi language). #WIKILEAKS

18. Attorney General Joe Ghartey had ordered the arrest of the four main suspects caught on tape discussing cocaine deals, including a large shipment from the fishing vessel Benjamin (reftel). Ghartey thought businessman Alhaji Moro, who is also recorded on the tape, was not guilty because he stayed out of the room during the cocaine discussion and specializes in armed robbery, not drug trafficking. #WIKILEAKS

19. The purpose for this dinner remains unclear. Ghartey, a 45-year-old lawyer who was promoted from Deputy Minister to Minister in the last Cabinet reshuffle, may have wanted it for self-promotion. He seemed eager to project himself (quite convincingly) as open, youthful, informal, and progressive. The dinner was organized by the local representative of U.S. company Kosmos Energy, who may have wanted the dinner to promote himself as a middle man. #WIKILEAKS

20. Attorney General Joe Ghartey assured Ambassador that the GOG was very serious about combating narcotics trafficking. "Heads will roll," he said, noting that he had recently fired an employee because of his handling of a narcotics case. #WIKILEAKS
21. Despite his volatile nature, Rawlings is still a powerful political force in Ghana, and his magnetic but mercurial personality attracts ordinary Ghanaians, as evidenced by the line the Ambassador's staff formed to take pictures with "the leader," as his supporters call him. Given this influence, and his open animosity towards the current regime, it is easy to understand why the NPP is still afraid of him and his followers. #WIKILEAKS

22. Any encounter with JJ Rawlings has an element of the bizarre. He booms forth his opinions (which are often overly emotional and difficult to follow)...He loses track of his thoughts, grabs people around him (he grabbed the Ambassador's arm on several occasions), and fumbles with the 2 pairs of glasses dangling from his neck. He combines charm with a subtle sense of menace and confusion. None of his entourage offered intelligent opinions on economics or Ghanaian politics writ large. #WIKILEAKS

23. In an emotional outburst, Mrs Agyeman Rawlings accused the NPP government of manipulating economic statistics to create an illusion of economic progress, arguing that growth was much lower and inflation higher than the official reports. #WIKILEAKS

24. Mike Oquaye was often an obstacle in our efforts in the energy sector. Boniface Siddique is a friend to the Embassy and also an impressive performer. Ayikoi Otoo was unresponsive so his removal may be helpful. Papa Owusu Ankomah was unhelpful to us as Attorney General but cooperative and friendly as Interior Minister. Shirley Botchwey is well-regarded. Oboshi Sai-Cofie's shift from Deputy Chief of Staff to Deputy Minister for Information removes a helpful ally in the Castle. #WIKILEAKS

25. Former Local Government and Rural Development Minister Charles Bintim was demoted for being ineffective and unable to account for $200,000 reportedly deposited in a personal bank account in 2005, although he was kept as a minister apparently because he is the only tribal Konkomba in Cabinet. #WIKILEAKS

26. By the end of January 2006 the situation at Ghana International Airlines began to unravel. According to former CEO Vitale, GIA's new CEO, UK citizen Brian Presbury, had given Vice President of Public Affairs Sammy Crabbe a free hand in managing GIA. Vitale reported that Crabbe was giving inflated contracts to service providers owned by relatives, friends, and in at least one case, Crabbe himself. #WIKILEAKS

27. Politics is very polarized and ethnically divided in Ghana, Professor Mills said, adding that the current "Great Ashanti project is terrifying." (note: President Kufuor is an ethnic Ashanti, as are many at the top levels of his government. End note.) He would try to hold the country together, but "the time comes when the people you lead take over," he said. #WIKILEAKS

28. Professor Mills told Ambassador he reached out in good faith to cooperate with the new NPP government when it came in power in 2000. However, within his first month of office, President Kufuor threw a number of NDC activists in jail and came to Mills' house with armed men to interrogate his wife, he said. Kufuor has never called him and he avoids any contact with the President. #WIKILEAKS

29. CMS considers D.K. Osei an adversary, who together with others in the GoG ) including Mpiani ) have attempted to undermine CMS since the Kufuor government took over in 2001. This group is in league with the controversial and notoriously corrupt ex-VRA Chief Wareko Brobby, whom Kufuor removed in 2003 following a series of scandals and death threats from VRA workers. CMS suspects Brobby may be behind the disinformation campaign that many Cabinet members seem to have bought on to.

30. Background: CMS Energy invested $100 million equity in 1998 to install two 110 MW combustion turbine generators near the Takoradi Port. CMS partnered with VRA (which invested $10 million), forming the Takoradi International Company (TICO). The goal was for CMS to duplicate VRA's own 330 MW plant, which is co-located with TICO. CMS has proposed a 110 MW "2nd cycle," which would be driven by the exhaust of the 220 MW TICO plant, representing a 50 percent increase in output.

31. D.K. Osei painted a more negative picture during his earlier meeting with the Ambassador, arguing that most Ministers disagreed with the entire premise that the thermal expansion deal was good for Ghana. He added that even if CMS satisfied the President's own concerns, he would hesitate to override the entire Cabinet, bcos CMS's only 2 supporters in the Cabinet, Mike Ocquaye and J.H. Mensah, had acquitted themselves poorly in explaining the deal during Cabinet meetings. #WIKILEAKS

32. The Ambassador pressed Prez Kufuor on the benefits of the thermal plant expansion deal and exhorted him to meet with IFC and CMS to find a way forward. She noted that CMS's President for Enterprises, Tom Elward, planned to visit Ghana next week, and urged Kufuor to meet with him. Kufuor relented a little from his earlier opposition as the meeting ended, emphasizing that he was open to discussion and meeting with Elward, and agreed the deal could be important for Ghana. #WIKILEAKS

33. The Embassy has received a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support Major Tandoh as Ghana's candidate for Deputy ITU Sec General. As Chairman of the NCA he repeatedly blocked and delayed the resolution of Westel's dispute with Govt of Ghana. He is also widely rumored to among the most corrupt GoG officials.

34. South African High Commissioner Molekane claimed that he had not had any personal contact, but that his mission had contacted Rawlings' staff to facilitate his South African visa in 2005 and during the election in 2004, when Rawlings alleged that the Govts of South Africa and Nigeria were plotting to assassinate him. Molekane added that these contacts were informational in nature, and that the Government of South Africa felt the accusations did not merit any official response. #WIKILEAKS

35. Canadian High Commissioner Bobiash criticized the international community for hobnobbing almost exclusively with the Ghanaian elite, based primarily in Accra. He commented that this elite group, comprised of well-off and highly educated people is out of touch with the other 95% of Ghanaians. The elite have little understanding of or sympathy for the difficult conditions under which most Ghanaians live, and Bobiash argued they lack a sense of urgency to do much about it.

36. The American Ambassador expressed concerns about perception of rising corruption. British High Commissioner Wetherell agreed with the Ambassador that there is corruption in Ghana and that some politicians are using corrupt means to get rich while they are still in power, including some officials in the Castle. However, there was no firm evidence that corruption in Ghana is increasing (in fact it appeared to be declining) or that corruption was large scale, he opined. #WIKILEAKS

37. According to French Ambassador Jacquemot. Ghanaian elites are isolated and do not understand the scope of poverty in their country. Jacquemot conceded that corruption is a problem (although it is better than many other countries in Africa). #WIKILEAKS

38. Prez Kufuor came across as remarkably composed and calm, given that the U.S. Ambassador had clearly outlined for him the perception of growing corruption in his government. He appeared satisfied with his own version of events [regarding the true state of corruption in Ghana]. #WIKILEAKS

39. Ambassador asked Prez Kufuor how HP's bid for the national ID project had lost out to France's Sagem. She wondered how Sagem could underbid the Govt's own $60m estimate by $20m. Compounding Embassy's concerns were reports that the President's son Chief Kufuor worked as a consultant for Sagem, and Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani, who oversaw the process, had manipulated it in favor of Sagem. #WIKILEAKS

40. The Ambassador also responded to D.K. Osei's accusation during the November 29 telephone conversation about Political Chief Scott's meeting with and passing money to Raymond Archer. Ambassador said Scott considered Archer one of a number of regular contacts in the media, met with him as a normal part of his political duties, and had not paid him money. She noted the Embassy's only direct support to Archer was a grant to study investigative journalism in the U.S. #WIKILEAKS

41. President Kufuor dismissed allegations of corruption in his administration (reftels) and insisted his government was as decent as any in or out of Africa. The meeting followed on the Ambassador's November 29 telephone conversation with the President regarding the safety of Raymond Archer, the Editor of local daily The Enquirer. #WIKILEAKS

42. Ghana has taken steps to combat illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and has mounted major efforts against drug abuse. It has active enforcement, treatment, and rehabilitation programs. #WIKILEAKS

43. Recent press coverage suggests the Government Of Ghana has become more aggressive about combating corruption at low levels. Ghana has adequate anti-corruption laws and committed individuals in its anti-corruption institutions, but their resources are small in comparison to the problem. #WIKILEAKS

44. The editor of the Enquirer, who has been very aggressive in reporting on high level corruption, told PolChief on November 25 that he has faced serious pressure from the president and his staff to back off of corruption stories, especially related to his investigation of the Confederation of African Football stadium deal (which implicates the GOG in accepting bribes from the Chinese) and the presidency's alleged use of procurement kickbacks to fund the ruling party. #WIKILEAKS

45. We do not doubt that Ghana is among the best in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of corruption, but its presence here as a very serious problem should be an indication of the long-term difficulties in bringing Western-style development in the near future. #WIKILEAKS

46. The $200 million in funds made available annually through the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) are reportedly a source of significant corruption. Senior Minister Mensah (brother-in-law of the president) controls the HIPC funds, and uses these resources to fund the Government Of Ghana's patronage network. #WIKILEAKS

47. When Government of Ghana (GoG) negotiators complained about not having personnel experienced enough to fully evaluate Alcoa's proposals, Alcoa submitted a list of consultants recognized industry-wide for their competence and offered to pay for any work contracted. GoG officials refused, but submitted a list of Ghanaian experts (all GOG officials) and asked that Alcoa pay them instead. Alcoa refused the proposal. #WIKILEAKS

48. Alcoa, currently [2005] negotiating with the Government of Ghana (GoG) over their proposal to build an integrated aluminum industry, reports that GoG interlocutors asked for $3 million to fund an internal public relations campaign to promote the industry within the various ministries involved in the negotiations. When Alcoa officials asked for a line-item budget to justify the cost, their interlocutors could not produce one. #WIKILEAKS

49. And of all the Ministers in government, Post would argue that Nduom is the most capable of taking control of the team and completing an acceptable Compact. Prior to his appointment as Minister of Energy in 2003, Nduom oversaw the development of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (Ghana's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper -- PRSP), an even more unwieldy program than the MCA proposal. He received well-earned praise for his ability to steer that process. #WIKILEAKS

50. Prez Kufuor also voiced concern that the Ghana team's decision to increase the Millennium Challenge Project amount from $290 million to $500 million (mostly added infrastructure projects) would lead to problems with the MCC and further delays. He was unsure how the increase had come about and said he had taken his team to task. He admitted that he was a little uncomfortable with the larger amount and asked the MCC's Rod Norman whether the enlargement was realistic. #WIKILEAKS

51. Palestinian Ambassador Omar portrayed both Rawlings and his wife Nana as out-of-touch and having an insatiable appetite for power. Omar said Rawlings cannot endure psychologically having lost the reins of power and should have sought a post-presidential identity earlier. "He feels defeated," Omar said, adding that if it were not for Rawlings' advisor, Captain Kojo Tsikata, Rawlings never would have stepped down. #WIKILEAKS

52. The NDC, which is holding its national convention in December [2005], is divided and financially weak. Rawlings still exerts a strong influence on the party but there are many in the party (including the camp of former NDC presidential candidate John Atta Mills) who want to distance themselves from the ex-president. Some believe these tensions will eventually split the party. #WIKILEAKS

53. However, the threat of terrorism remains clear and present, as the same live-and-let-live attitude that permeates Ghanaian culture also makes Ghana susceptible to ease of entry, to bribery of officials, and to security officers sometimes not noticing when real danger is present. A determined individual or foreigner (or small group of foreigners) would have little trouble perpetrating a deadly attack. #WIKILEAKS

54. At one late night Islamic event last month attended by the National Chief Imam, the organizing Imam began by announcing his group's love for America, their love for the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, and their love for the charge d'affaires, who was attending. #WIKILEAKS
55. The Dependency Legacy: Ghana's dependence on foreign assistance over a long period of time has built a paradigm of dependence that impacts our relationship. Add to this the large Ghanaian diaspora population in the U.S. and the result is a knee-jerk "what can you give me" mentality. There is a need to build more entrepreneurship, more bureaucratic capacity, more of a sense of responsibility for tough economic decisions. #WIKILEAKS

56. On the one hand, Prez Kufuor argued the GoG had almost finished setting up the new, autonomous National Petroleum Authority (NPA), established under the National Petroleum Act that Parliament passed June 14. The NPA, headed by a Chairman who "is not a party (NPP) man," would have full responsibility to organize fuel tenders and set prices (according to an agreed formula). Kufuor even stated that the GoG would "use the NPA as the fall guy" when prices rise. #WIKILEAKS

57. Ambassador praised our excellent bilateral cooperation on law enforcement, especially in counter-narcotics. Owusu-Ankomah appreciated USG support, saying he hoped for continued support in counter-narcotics. Narcotics is a serious concern in Ghana, especially trafficking through Ghana for other countries. He would like to get sniffer dogs and more sophisticated narcotics detection equipment. The Ambassador noted our appreciation for the good cooperation from NACOB's Akuoko. #WIKILEAKS

58. The Ambassador had expressed her concern about the growing number of allegations and experiences of corruption that the embassy was hearing about ... President Kufuor asked the Ambassador to give him details, cases and specific allegations, saying he would look into them personally. #WIKILEAKS

59. At one point Prez Kufuor spoke with a bit of bravado that the NPP was making progress with the politics of the North because moderate Muslims were supporting the NPP. He was confident that in the future more Muslims would support the NPP, although he did not understand why they could have voted against him in 2004 because he had a Muslim vice president. #WIKILEAKS

60. Kufuor asked if the Embassy could help intervene with former President J.J. Rawlings to encourage him to tone down his anti-government rhetoric, which was causing excessive "turbulence" in Ghanaian politics. The Ambassador noted that, while she was by no means an apologist for Rawlings, she .... suggested the government might choose to ignore Rawlings' frequent barbs. The minister indicated that he got her point. #WIKILEAKS

61. NPP Chairman Esseku suggested to Embassy Political Chief that Kufuor's handling of the incident involving the kidnapping of a Ghanaian chief to Ivory Coast was an embarrassment and diminished his stature (Kufuor flew to the Northern region with much fanfare, reportedly against the recommendation of his senior staff, for what turned out to be a minor incident involving a chief who Esseku described as a known arms smuggler.) #WIKILEAKS

62. New Attorney General Ayikoi Otoo had no issues to raise with us, except the request to fund a backup generator for his office. At the least, we hope we put some energy behind the LOA and the extradition treaty. #WIKILEAKS

63. Political leaders here are risk averse and focused on the short term, with little sense of vision for the next decades. Over the longer term, Ghana needs to make significant progress in economic development. It desperately needs to diversify its economy to reduce its current vulnerability to cocoa and gold price shocks. It needs to boost investment to create jobs for its youthful population (50% of Ghanaians are under age 18 and predicted to increase by 50 percent by 2025) #WIKILEAKS

64. The Kufuor government has not put in place sufficiently investment-friendly procedures or policies. While the rhetoric is pro-market, the reality is often protectionist and statist, reflecting Ghana's socialist legacy. #WIKILEAKS

65. The NPP generally did well among urban, wealthier, more literate, more industrial and ethnically Akan voters, especially in the south, center and west. The NDC by contrast was strong among rural, lower income, less literate, Muslim and non-Akan voters, especially in the north and east. #WIKILEAKS

66. r. Shipley's film, entitled "Living the Hiplife: Reggie Rockstone and Ghanaian Popular Culture", uses interviews with younger hiplife musicians, disc jockeys and record producers to show how the well-known singer, Reggie Rockstone, became known as the "godfather" of hiplife music. One record producer in the film is Rab Bakari, who grew up in New York and who helped Reggie Rockstone develop his unique music style.#WIKILEAKS

67. Prez Kufuor and his staff are clearly more aware that they need to monitor Ghana's MCA preparations closely. While we have some doubts about Mpiani's effectiveness, he appeared well informed on this issue and also seemed prepared to play a constructive role in keeping Ghana on track. D.K. Osei is one of the President's closest advisors and had not previously been engaged in the MCA process, so Post will keep him informed on progress. #WIKILEAKS

68. Mike Oquaye claims to be fiercely pro-American. He studied in the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship in 1997 (in Virginia), and says he has also visited the U.S. several times under the IV program and as a visiting scholar. Oquaye's background is in political science and he does not yet have a good grasp of the energy sector. Nevertheless, he claimed the President put him at Energy "because of all the challenges" in that sector. #WIKILEAKS

69. According to our source in the Bank of Ghana, there is no evidence of the Government of Ghana or any of its senior officials promoting or engaging in laundering the proceeds from illegal drugs transactions or terrorist financing. Neither does Post have any knowledge of financial institutions engaged in money laundering.

70. Charles Mensa went on to say that Alcoa still needed to improve its bid to stay competitive, but had no specific suggestions. Alcoa's Phillips complained that he had similar conversations with Mensa, and wondered aloud about the transparency of the process and Mensa's motivations.

71. Prez Kufuor said he would want to make more use of businessman and presidential confidant Kwabena Darko as a point man on oil and economic issues. (Note: Darko was in the room and helped in organizing this meeting for Senator Inhofe. Owner of Ghana,s largest chicken business, he appears to be a trusted presidential aide on a range of issues. End note.)

72. Charles Mensa hopes to get a small portion of Valco up and running by the end of the year [2004] and to have a deal in place with either Alcoa or Billington by the end of January. Economic office's contact at Alcoa says Mensa's timeline is unrealistic.

73. Kufuor focused on his imminent departure for the AU summit in Tripoli...High-profile appearances before the National Reconciliation Commission by former President Rawlings and, separately, Rawlings' long-serving security advisor Kojo Tsikata (ref B), had increased GOG security concerns, said Kufuor. "We are on a state of alert for the next week or so," said Kufuor. He asked the USG to "use its network" to "see if something is brewing."

74. Ambassador Princen's wife concluded emphatically that Rawlings is a drug-user. Periods of high-level energizing were followed by Rawlings' disappearance for thirty minutes, and upon his return he was subdued and even mellow. He perspired profusely at short notice, and consumed large quantities of non-alcoholic drinks. Princen reinforced my own impression that Rawlings' attention span has shortened of late. But the Princens found the president open, indulgent towards his children, and extremely deferential - even obsequious - towards his spouse. The tenor of their conversation reinforced the widespread impression that they see each other only in public or in the context of this retreat to lake Volta.

75. World bank and IMF visitors complain that Rawlings seems profoundly uninformed on economic matters, even as his minister of finance is seen by financial experts inside and outside Ghana as alarmingly incompetent. Into the vacuum has moved Anthony Aidoo, whose conspiratorial demeanor encourages dark speculation about his malign influence on Rawlings. Aidoo is known to us principally for his entrenched leftist leanings, his anti-imperialist rhetoric while a professor at cape coast university, and his affection for the likes of Qadafi and Castro. Ambassador Princen's opportunity to watch Aidoo at close quarters was far from reassuring. Aidoo seemed to reinforce Rawlings' fears that senior government officials were conspiring to hide things from the president. Aidoo's obsequious behavior towards Mrs. Rawlings also reinforced the impression here in Accra that she is in some degree responsible for the alienation of the president's traditional friends, with Aidoo now filling the void.

76. Nduom said he is close to Kufuor and that Kufuor is loyal to his friends and close associates ) too loyal, too often according to Nduom and this practice has been detrimental to the Kufuor Administration.

77. Embassy Comment: It was clear from the discussion that Nduom's methodical mind is at work. His extensive travel throughout the country and his strategy for registering voters indicates he is trying to cover all bases. If the PNC joins forces with the CPP it will all but ensure a heated second round of voting, and no guarantee about the outcome.

78. Flag bearer Akufo-Addo must work diligently to "soften" his image and appear more genuinely people-oriented, Alan Kyerematen averred to the Ambassador.

79. Turning to external topics, Ghana, like other countries, has come under the "spell of China." Kyerematen believes that China has a master, long-term plan to ensure that it has the oil and other resources such as timber and natural resources for its billions of people. He criticized Ghana for accepting soft loans without analyzing thoroughly enough the consequences and "fine print."

80. Dr. Mahama started off by thanking the Ambassador for her intervention in getting a road in front of his clinic paved after 17 years of unsuccessful requests to the government. Dr. Mahama stated that he as well as numerous clients and concerned citizens had complained to the Government for years to get the road paved in front of his clinic to no avail, and that it was only after the Ambassador commented to someone in Government about how difficult it was to get to Dr. Mahama's office for a meeting due to the bad road that something happened.

81. It appears that President Kufuor was not injured in the accident, despite the fact that his vehicle, a gift from Libyan President Mu'ammar Qaddafi, rolled over three times, finally coming to rest on its roof. Local citizens reportedly reacted faster than Kufuor's security detail as they overturned Kufuor,s vehicle and pulled him from the wreckage. Kufuor was immediately transferred to another vehicle and traveled to the Castle. Kufuor,s driver and aide experienced minor injuries. #WIKILEAKS

82. The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharabutu, also spoke and declared, through an interpreter, "jihad" on narcotics and urged everyone to join the fight. This project is the first effort to combine religious, governmental and non governmental actors, and a foreign government in a campaign against narcotics. #WIKILEAKS

83. The UK High Commission's Nicholls publicly criticized Ghana for not doing better in a recent newspaper article and Howells appears to have continued on this strong theme. Nicholls said that in response to the newspaper story, President Kufuor dressed down the Minister of Interior and National Security Advisor in front of all the other Ministers for their failure to effectively battle the narcotics flow. #WIKILEAKS

84. Dan Botwe was highly critical of President Kufuor's involvement in the NPP candidate selection process, commenting that if the NPP is to win the 2008 presidential race, Kufuor should refrain from attempting to influence the process. He claimed Kufuor is financing the campaign of former Trade Minister Alan Kyermaten through corruptly obtained funds, and that this effort is undermining the NPP's internal democratic process. #WIKILEAKS

85. Asiedu appears to be connected to several powerful Ghanaian drug barons and other influential people and if he is extradited, the Ghanaian drug baron community will likely be alarmed. This arrest, combined with the arrest and expulsion of the two Afghan smugglers, seem to indicate a GOG willingness, at least in the President's office, to treat the narcotics threat seriously and act accordingly. #WIKILEAKS

86. During a courtesy call on the newly named Director of National Security, Dr. Amoo, DCI General Michael Hayden (who is visiting Ghana on a fact finding tour of Africa) solicited Amoo's thoughts about AFRICOM. Amoo, a Ph.D from SAIS, quickly responded that for Ghana AFRICOM is a "very sensitive matter", and that most African governments share this sentiment. Amoo recalled Nigeria's outright rejection (which suggested Nigeria spoke for the entire continent). #WIKILEAKS

87. Kufuor was also allegedly upset with Poku for his failure to share the full details of BNI's election polling which could have potentially informed Kufuor earlier about Alan Kyerematen's lack of popular support. Kufuor was surprised and embarrassed when Kyerematen lost the New Patriotic Party (NPP) nomination in December 2007, according to sources. #WIKILEAKS

88. Prez Mills confided in the Ambassador that he shall rename the major road named after Prez Olusegun Obasanjo in Accra as the latter was highly corrupt and not deserving of the honour. #WIKILEAKS

89. Asiedu appears to be connected to several powerful Ghanaian drug barons and other influential people and if he is extradited, the Ghanaian drug baron community will likely be alarmed. This arrest, combined with the arrest and expulsion of the two Afghan smugglers, seem to indicate a GOG willingness, at least in the President's office, to treat the narcotics threat seriously and act accordingly. #WIKILEAKS

90. Sources report that Poku visited his office over the weekend and shredded documents and took some films from his office which now cannot be located. GOG officials are also concerned that Poku may have been using GOG resources for his personal benefit and wanted additional details from him. Sources report that Poku returned home later on January 16 under a police escort which will remain outside his residence until he departs for further "debriefing" on January 17. #WIKILEAKS

91. The landlord contends that Bulgaria owes him nearly $800,000 in rent dating from June ¶1993. He obtained an eviction notice from an Accra High Court judge and arrived to throw out the Ambassador. There has been disputes concerning this property since 1978. According to the landlord, the Bulgarians were to pay rent from 1993 onward according to a settlement. The Bulgarian Embassy claim they settled the rent issue in 1983 when they paid a "huge" sum of money to cover rent for the next 50 years.

92. During a courtesy call on the newly named Director of National Security, Dr. Amoo, DCI General Michael Hayden (who is visiting Ghana on a fact finding tour of Africa) solicited Amoo's thoughts about AFRICOM. Amoo, a Ph.D from SAIS, quickly responded that for Ghana AFRICOM is a "very sensitive matter", and that most African governments share this sentiment. Amoo recalled Nigeria's outright rejection (which suggested Nigeria spoke for the entire continent). #WIKILEAKS

93. The landlord contends that Bulgaria owes him nearly $800,000 in rent dating from June ¶1993. He obtained an eviction notice from an Accra High Court judge and arrived to throw out the Ambassador. There has been disputes concerning this property since 1978. According to the landlord, the Bulgarians were to pay rent from 1993 onward according to a settlement. The Bulgarian Embassy claim they settled the rent issue in 1983 when they paid a "huge" sum of money to cover rent for the next 50 years.

94. Sources report that Poku visited his office over the weekend and shredded documents and took some films from his office which now cannot be located. GOG officials are also concerned that Poku may have been using GOG resources for his personal benefit and wanted additional details from him. Sources report that Poku returned home later on January 16 under a police escort which will remain outside his residence until he departs for further "debriefing" on January 17. #WIKILEAKS

95. Kufuor welcomed AFRICOM engagement with the AU, saying that the U has consistently told its members not to have specific bilateral relationships with countries outside of Africa. Close consultation with the AU on the physical location of AFRICOM is important, according to Kufuor. #WIKILEAKS

96. In a separate meeting, Lt. Gen. Joseph Danquah, Chief of the Defense Staff for the Ghana Armed Forces, told Gen. Ward that he welcomes the establishment of AFRICOM but said that African countries should handle African conflicts. #WIKILEAKS
97. Mills' trip to the U.S. is but one example of the NDC's vigorous fundraising activities in Europe and North America to support its 2008 campaign. Similar engagements by former President Rawlings across the U.S. are reported to have yielded the NPP USD 700,000 in pledges during August. #WIKILEAKS

98. In addition, Kwetey said some Ghanaians, particularly Northerners and Muslims, will feel that Vice President Mahama deserves the nomination and is being treated disrespectfully by his party after serving loyally as Kufuor's deputy. Kwetey said the NDC would exploit these negative sentiments to generate support for its own candidate. #WIKILEAKS

99. Concerning Vice President Mahama's Muslim faith, Fiifi Kwetey said religion is an important factor in Ghanaian politics and that many Christian Ghanaians would never vote for a Muslim presidential candidate. While most Ghanaians would not admit this openly, Kwetey said a Muslim could not be elected President of Ghana. #WIKILEAKS

100. The criminal community is reeling after the arrest of two Afghans for narcotics trafficking. Contacts have said the drug "barons" were very surprised to learn that DEA was actively conducting undercover operations in Ghana. The Ghanaian media has carried the story and some opposition parties have seized on the arrests to attack the ruling NPP. However, the President's Office was personally involved in the case and the Govt performed well in the suspects' arrest and expulsion. #WIKILEAKS

101. Among the NPP candidates, Fiifi Kwetey said NDC insiders view former Foreign Minister Nana Akufo-Addo as the most formidable potential opponent in the general election. He noted that Akufo-Addo is well-funded, popular, charismatic, and has great appeal to younger voters. In addition, Akufo-Addo comes from the Akyem ethnic group in the Eastern Region, meaning that he lacks the ethnic baggage that Kyerematen carries as an Ashanti. #WIKILEAKS

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