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Opinions of Saturday, 20 December 2008

Columnist: BISHOP Dela

Let's Not Be Cowards, Fellow Ghanaians

“Skirt and Blouse” Will Not Work For Us.

Fellow Ghanaians, let’s make no mistake. Voting “skirt and blouse” will not help our country at all. Consider carefully those who are advocating for this kind of voting and ask yourselves who they are and why they are all of a sudden urging us to vote this way. The advocates of “skirt and blouse” voting are Nana Akufo-Addo’s supporters who have now agreed that NDC will have majority of seats in our next parliament. They desperately want their man, Nana Akufo-Addo as President; so they have come up with this idea to confuse Ghanaians to establish a confrontational government that would have a President from a party without majority in parliament. If you have followed Ghana’s politics very well you would know that voting “skirt and blouse” will not work for us. There would only be unnecessary bickering, boycotts of proceedings, rancor, and waste of time and resources. Very few major policy decisions would go through. It would be the fault of voters if we create this situation and neither of the parties gets to implement the promises it has made to us. For best results in any democracy, the executive must have considerable support of the legislature. What we need is just a balanced parliament with very strong opposition. We already have that and it is time for us to elect a President whose party has majority in parliament to serve us diligently.

From the first round of our recent voting, NDC has the simple majority in parliament and would elect the majority leader and Speaker of the house. It makes every reasonable sense that if independent MPs and third-party MPs choose to align with any of the major sides in parliament, they must do so with NDC to form a proper working majority instead of with NPP only to barely match the numbers of NDC and make the country ungovernable for our new President. To guarantee a meaningful progress for our country in the next 4 years, we need to have a NDC President. Let us therefore elect the finest, Professor Atta Mills on December 28th to roll out his people-centered policies for our country. Professor Mills is a simple, religious, humble, honest, peaceful, and trustworthy man. He is not a corrupt man and, he does not have dictatorial tendencies. Even NPP leaders have said this several times. Prof. Mills will not bring back human rights abuses that some Ghanaians have experienced under military dictatorships in the past. Prof. Mills will advance from where NPP will leave off in the respect for human rights and continue the general progress Ghana has been making in this area since 1992. Former President Rawlings will never be President of Ghana again. He has done his part and he is not returning, no matter who becomes our next President. Ex-President Rawlings is free to campaign for Prof. Mills and must do so because of his popularity. Ex-President Rawlings is arguably the most popular person in Ghana right now and if he were in the NPP, the party would use him more than NDC is doing. It does not mean he wishes to return to power or dictate to whoever will be the next President. Like many Ghanaians, Ex-Prez. Rawlings recognizes the good qualities of Prof. Mills and he is using his popularity to help him win the elections. This must not affect Prof. Mills negatively at all. Prof. Mills is the best candidate among the 2 in the race and must be elected if Ghanaians are really serious people.

Now, assuming even that we must have a “skirt and blouse” situation, it would require a President who can work across the aisle. Must this President be Prof. Mills or Nana Akufo-Addo? This calls for critical assessment of the candidates’ demeanor, character, and habits. This would not necessarily have anything to do with the candidates’ vision. What use is it if a man with tremendous vision cannot co-operate humbly with his opponents to implement the vision? CHARACTER AND HABITS are the important factors here. Do we know each of the candidates very well? Let me refer you again to comments made by one Larry Gibson, who was described as Nana Akufo-Addo’s U.S. political consultant. Mr. Gibson said the following: “The voters understand that they are electing a person more than they are electing a program. That’s universal. . . . Far more important is the assessment of what type of person this is, . . . Policies are important, but for elections people want a sense of the person, . . . the more successful candidates are not necessarily those with the most popular policies. – Larry Gibson

All Ghanaians know that Prof. Mills is religious, humble, honest, peaceful, and caring. If anyone has any questions or doubts about his character and habits, let us know and we will organize a town-hall meeting for him to address your questions. WHAT ABOUT NANA AKUFO-ADDO? What do most Ghanaians think about him? Don’t Ghanaians perceive him as arrogant? Can such a person work with majority-NDC without frequent confrontations? How do his own colleagues in NPP see him? I always like to quote directly from NPP supporters so that Ghanaians can see that certain views about Akufo-Addo are not only from his political opponents. Examine carefully what these 3 die-hard NPP supporters have said about Nana Akufo-Addo. First, take note of the statement of Mr. Michael Ampong, the campaign coordinator of Alan Kyeremanteng’s during NPP’s primaries. He alluded to Nana Akufo-Addo’s arrogance and temperament in the following statement: “MR. MICHAEL Ampong, Campaign Coordinator for Mr. Alan Kyerematen says . . . the former Foreign Affairs Minister is arrogant, temperamental and hot-headed for the number one job of the land, the Presidency, and therefore, it will be suicidal for the NPP to parade him as its presidential candidate.”

Then consider Kwaku Azar’s comments, which I have reproduced here over and over again. Kwaku Azar is a staunch NPP leader in the United States and advocates strongly for NPP at various cyber forums. Like the bold campaign coordinator of Mr. Kyeremanteng, Kwaku Azar also thinks that Nana Akufo-Addo is arrogant and hot-tempered. He also thinks it was childish for Nana Akufo-Addo to have promoted his potency more than once during the campaign. By the time you finish reading Kwaku Azar’s comments about Nana Akufo-Addo, you would not need anyone to further convince you that Nana Addo is incapable of cooperating very well with his opponents who might try to frustrate him. If you understand this, and you love Ghana, there is only one way you can vote for the progress of Ghana but not for constant confrontation between the executive and the legislature in the next 4 years. That way is to vote for the humble and religious Prof. Mills. Now, enjoy Kwaku Azar’s assessment of Akufo-Addo.

"At the verandahs and stadia, people are asking if Nana Akufo-Addo can verbally attack an MP and Minister when he is not even the President, what will he do when he is the President? . . . Serious political analyst are flabbergasted that a politician of his age, pedigree, and experience will emphasize, not once but twice, this potency which only start and fuel the speculation of lack of judgment, at best, and womanizing, at worst. The issue then is squarely whether the NPP or the country can afford a President who is perceived as arrogant and who promotes his potency in the Castle, or wherever the brand new $75M India-built Presidential mansion will be located." – Kwaku Azar

Finally, consider also the statement of another staunch NPP supporter, called “A.k.a. Kasapa” in political forums. He assessed all the top NPP presidential hopefuls in the eve of the party’s primaries and said the following about Nana Akufo-Addo. "Stop smoking weed and you are in the running. Reduce you pompous attitude and you are in the top 3 candidates. Show that you are not greedy and you are the winner! But until then BACK OFF!" --- A.k.a. Kasapa

Be truthful to yourself. Between Prof. Mills and Nana Akufo-Addo, who can best work humbly and peaceably with opposition MPs to move Ghana forward? Just listen to your conscience and resolve not to fall for the tricks of people who are trying to think for you. I HOPE THAT YOU WILL NOT FAIL MOTHER GHANA. But, besides the general negative perception of Nana Akufo-Addo by most Ghanaians including members of his own party, Ghanaians also have many questions for him, which he is refusing to answer. Remember that I have advised that if people have any questions for Prof. Mills, they must bring them out because he would happily answer all of them irrespective of where they would come from. In the case of Nana Addo, we already have questions for him and he is ignoring us and taking us for granted. WE WISH HE WOULD BE COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO MAKE GHANAIANS KNOW HIM BETTER BY ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS. It has been alleged that:

• Nana Akufo-Addo deals in narcotics drugs

• Nana Akufo-Addo accepts campaign contribution from drug dealers

• Nana Akufo-Addo personally uses narcotics drugs

• Nana Akufo-Addo, when he was Ghana’s Attorney General, refused to prosecute 3 women from his party that were caught attempting to traffic narcotics drugs

• Nana Akufo-Addo, when he was Ghana’s Attorney General, discontinued the prosecution of a drug pusher

• Nana Akufo-Addo, when he was Ghana’s Attorney General, released seized assets from drug profits to his brother-in-law.

The above are not the only problems Ghanaians have with Nana Akufo-Addo. He was a senior minister in Kufuor’s government that gave $20,000 or more gold chain in national awards to most of them. He was part of a government that gave more than $20Million to one person for the celebration of Ghana@50 and until now, the person has refused to account for the money. He was part of a government that built a multi-million Presidential Palace without telling Ghanaians the actual cost of the project. He was part of a government that bought 2 presidential jets at the time most Ghanaians think it was unnecessary. He was part of a government that has allowed 77 parcels of cocaine to be missing in a mysterious manner. He was part of a government that has allowed seized cocaine to vanish from police custody more than once with nobody held accountable. He was part of a government that would not let a Supreme Court decision against the government stand but would do anything, including appointing new judges to overturn the decision in government’s favor. But more importantly, Nana Akufo-Addo’s team is already corrupt. His communication director, Dr. Arthur Kennedy was recently given a “free” $30,000 government contract which he did not bid for, and which officials of the Ministry of Health described us unnecessary and “job for the boys.” Akufo-Addo’s campaign chairman, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey also placed a public notice in a national daily recently that he was buying the government bungalow which he occupies illegally. IF THESE TWO ACTS ARE NOT CORRUPTION IN THE TOP HIERARCHY OF NANA AKUFO-ADDO’S TEAM EVEN BEFORE HE BECOMES THE PRESIDENT, TELL ME WHAT CORRUPTION IS. Ghanaians must not approve these corrupt practices by electing Nana Akufo-Addo. A vote for Nana Addo is a vote to approve the sale of the government bungalow to Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey. LET’S STOP THIS TRANSACTION NOW.

It is clear from the above that Ghanaians have only one REASONABLE choice if we want to be respected as serious people. That choice is the religious, honest, peaceful, and humble Prof. Mills. Let’s be courageous and reject all the “politricks,” gimmicks, and fear-mongering by opponents of the finest Prof. Mills and elect him on December 28th so that we can confidently defend our choice anytime and anywhere. If Prof. Atta Mills is elected and he messes up, we shall vote him and his party out of power in the next election. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY WE CAN MAKE OUR POLITICAL LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE TO US. Thank you.