You are here: HomeNews1996 01 27Article 473

General News of Saturday, 27 January 1996

Source: The Chronicle


PRESIDENT RAWLINGS last Monday admitted before millions of his country men that he has a problem Though he couched it in diplomats, he left no one in doubt that he was referring to his famous temper which caused the assault at the Castle.

Describing his tangle with Arkaah at last fortnight's cabinet meeting as 'regrettable", the President conceded that he is "not the best of diplomats" and that sometimes his frankness can cause problems. Said he: "I must admit that sometimes I am not the best of diplomats because my frankness can get in the way".

Without departing from his text for one minute, the President curiously steered away from giving his version of the incident and completing popular perceptions that the ministers employed lying and deceitful tongues to paper over the scandal of the whipping of the vice-president. "I am not here today to speak about what happened.

Enough has been said already......", adding in the next breath that he could not "trade a lie for a lie."

Even as he sought to persuade Ghanaians to "work together to pass the test" of peace and stability, he launched into a direct attack on the vice-president who was sitting poker-faced on the front row of the dais with him. Surprisingly, the vice-president's entry into the Independence Square with his wife attracted loud and sustained applause from the largely partisan crowd and his beautiful wife Marian, conjured a wry, knowing smile even as the barbs flew from the President to her controversial husband.

Arkaah was described by the president as a liar in the presence of the assembled crowd and the message was played to millions more on radio and live television. The ceremony was also witnessed by scores of diplomats and foreign dignitaries, including the former President of Zimbabwe and a member of the OAU Eminent Persons Group. "He goes on public platforms and to the local and international media to denounce and tell provocative lies about the government..." lamented the President.

He never pointed to a single lie told by the Veep. His Excellency was, however, grandiose enough to posit that the issue was simply not that between a President and his Vice, though his disdain showed by his inability to refer to Arkaah as his Vice, but instead, "running mate". "It touches on the fundamental basis of democracy, basic common sense and the time-honoured principles that men of honour would normally respect", he said. President Rawlings noted that the quality of leadership provided by his government had led to its ability to sustain stability. In a more that confident posture, he declared that it was the government's commitment to democracy and the rule of law which had received applause and investment from overseas.

In a final flurry on his vice in the couched language he had used throughout, President Rawlings reminded Ghanaians of the relevance of truth, saying "truth means more to me than being President". He added that had politics in the country enjoyed the dignity of basic truth the political instability Ghana had experienced in the past would not have occurred. 'Lying is not only cowardly, but as it gets vicious it gets very destructive. It destroys a home, a community and from high office it can destroy a nation', the President philosophised. He called on Ghanaians not to allow deceitful tongues to crash the nation.


MR. KWAME PIANIM'S declaration for the NPP Presidency last Friday immediately attracted massive support from high ranking and very influential opinion and political leaders within Ghana and beyond.

His high profile announcement at the well choreographed press conference attracted the immediate endorsement from the most respected Parliamentarian, Mrs. Hawa Yakubu Ogede, Independent candidate from Bawku who admitted that she would be in his corner because he is an alliance man with solid credentials and excellent grasp of national issues.

Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, and NPP Presidential candidate virtually stood down for Pianim's candidacy when he also endorsed Pianim announcement and was actually spotted working for the 57-year-old economic consultant. He was Chairman of the Pianim press conference.

Other high energy heavy weights within the NPP who appear to have subsumed their own interests for their "bankable candidate" include Dr. Charles Wereko Brobby and word on the street is that Dr. Dsane Selby might also surrender his aspirations in favour of the "Man of Peace and Action".

The NPP's political juggernaut in Upper West, Alhaji Imoru Salifu, and chairman of the party in the region (he was the Regional Minister in the second republic) also showed his endorsement by appearing on the sais and was warmly applauded.

Dr. Kofi Amoah, leader of the yet-to-be-registered Ghana Democratic Republican Party, called Chronicle offices on Friday night from California for confirmation of reports of Pianim's candidacy. He immediately promised his support and backing. "That's good for Ghana" he said. Perhaps one of the biggest shot in the arm for Pianim's campaign for the ticket is the report of the open support he has conjured from the most active and influential pivot of opposition support in North America - 34-year old Boakye Agyarko.

Boakye is the most sought after chief priest of all the NPP Presidential candidates and he fetes all of them when they visit America. Only Pianim has attracted his unequivocal endorsement so far.

Even before the news settled down, major figures in the NPP's other think-tank, the famous Young Executives Forum showed support for Kwame Pianim The Forum tried to sponsor one of their own-Allan Kyeremanten who later withdrew his friends in the group insist that Allan is Kwame's man though he will not publicly say that when he showed up to -in his words- offer moral support to the NPP aspirant. Though Professor Adu-Boahene's camp remains largely solid and do not appear to be ready to surrender to Pianim, Chronicle gathers that, Mr. Appiah-Menkah, a soap manufacturer is thinking of joining the Pianim bandwagon because he has always told the ageing Prof. that he can no longer support him if Kwame is running. He was on the front pew at the Press conference and sent signals about his intentions.

Adu-Boahen fundamentalists began campaigns to discredit him recently when they said he has not supported the Prof. financially since 1993. There were even reports that he is dancing to the NDC because he wanted to buy a state-owned palm oil plantation for his soap business. Adu's men were hand again distributing dirty handouts near the NPP headquarters last Friday accusing Kwame Pianim of doing business with NDC people. Last fortnight, a meeting of the board of NEW ERA Newspapers financed by Appiah-Menka, Donkor Fordwor and other loyalists, decided to cease funding the paper they set up to support Adu Boahen and produced from his Airport residence.

The paper which started with vicious attacks on Kwame Pianim and other perceived critics of the Prof. including Yours Truly, was managed by Prof. It is now looking for fresh sponsors. This is the second failed project undertaken by being in 1992. Another Adu-Boahen stalwart, Professor Kofi Apraku has also become disillusioned with him over allegations of disbursement and accounting of some "cash matters". One of the more reluctant King Makers is Nana Akufo Addo of the Alliance for Change fame who is reportedly nursing presidential ambitions himself though popular opinion is against any AFC leader seeking to run for this particular office.

Nana, an adroit and silky politician is keeping his options open, and in an interview with Chronicle at Pianim's press conference where mixed with the milling crowd, he said he is thinking about his own political future and not about endorsing anybody yet.

Mr. J. A. Kuffour who has been coming on strong lately appears to be the other candidate of some standing who is resolute about his own ambitions. The NPP last Friday, against a last ditch attempt by Mr. Haruna Esseku, a strong man from Senya Breku and da Racha, okayed an Alliance strategy and strengthened Pianim's chances even more strongly. Other high profile politicians at the dais with Kwame was the PCP women's leader, Professor Adzei Bekoe former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Science and Technology and leading member of the NPP. Dr. Issah Egala of the CPP was also there along with Courage Quashigah who is touted to be the campaign manager of Kwame Pianim.

The fight of the minds of the NPP delegates is already known as the number one slot will be coming from the NPP. It will be between the rapidly deteriorating Adu-Boahen and Kwame Pianim. Somewhere down the ladder, it emerged that Mr.Dan Lartey of the CPP and Dr. Jones Ofori-Atta are also staking their claim. Dan Lartey and Jones both claim to be serious.