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Opinions of Saturday, 27 August 2005

Columnist: Abdul-Rahman

Nana Akuffo Addo: A President in the making- A Rejoinder.

I will start this rejoinder by first commending the writer of the above title. The eloquency and clearity with which he wrote the article was amazing to say the least, and his ideas are very thought provoking. I must add that if I were Nana Addo Danquah I would have appointed him my spokeperson. The writer was also very open with his passion for the Danquah-Busia tradition and more importantly the person he wrote the artitle about (Nana Akuffu Addo). As the writer indicated Nana is one of the qualified persons capable of leading Ghana. I have no doubt at all in my mind of Nana's leadership abilities, professional skills, and above all his intelligence and eloquence. Nana Akuffo Addo, should he be elected as the NPP presidential candidate will be a very hard nut to crack and will give any opposing candidate a good run for his money. For Nana is rich, knowledgeable, experience, and had worked within the Ghanaian democratic system since 1992 when democratic governance was introduced in Ghana that ended the cacophony of military rule in our body politique.

I do not therefore purport this rejoider to cast doubt on Nana Akuffo Addo's abilities as a potential presidential candidate of the NPP or for that a matter a presidential material for the nation as whole. However, I intend to challenge some of the writers views with regard to the NDC that according him constitute Nana's strength as a candidate. I will also dismiss the writer's view that Nana's activism makes him a democrat.

Politics of crude oil and genesis of political opportunism in Ghana did not start with the NDC. In fact the writer alluded to this in one his eloquent portrayal of Nana's rich resume. Thus Nana's participation in the demostration to oppose the innitial introduction of VAT was one of the starting point. It is important to note tha tthe NPP introduced the concept of political opportunist in the polisyllablic encyclopaedia of Ghanaian politics since 1992. In 1995 the NPP and other opposition elements in the country were so opposed to the VAT that they stage one of the largest demostration in Ghanaian history (kumi preko). This demostration resulted in the death of one person and left several others injured. The NDC, faced with the unpopularity of the VAT was forced to withdraw the VAT bill and introduced it again in 1997. Even then the NPP stood opposed to the bill though the 15% VAT rate was reduced to 11%. Thanks to NDC's majority in parliament the bill was passed on its second introduction. The view of the then opposition NPP was not about education. Their view was that 15% VAT will bring an untold hardship on the people of Ghana. One would have thought that the NPP upon its assumption office 2000 will reverse the Value Added Tax which it had so much opposed, but Nana and his NPP cohorts not only maintained the tax system but went ahead to embellish it with an increase. I wonder what the family of the person who died at the demonstration would feel. Certainly betrayal. Perhaps if the NPP had provided the then ruling NDC with an alternative Ghana would have been better. But on the contrary Nana Akuffo Addo and others saw a great political advantage in opposing VAT when it was introduced even though they knew it was the only option for the NDC to raise revenue for national development.

There is a growing concern among a section of Ghanaians specifically supporters of the New Patriotic Party that the National Democratic Congress is making political capital over crude oil price increases. They view the current government's increases in oil prices in Ghana as part of a global phenomenon. Indeed Mr. Francis echoed the same idea in his article. He claimed that NDC instead of offering alternatives and constructive criticisms have resorted to demostration and press conferences falsly castigating the ruling government. I do share the writers position that Crude Oil prices is a global phenomenon. Indeed oil prices has always been a global phenomenon. Economic giants like the United States, Canada, Japan and etc are all affected by global oil price hikes. As result oil producing countries use this resource as a foreign policy tool. But oil price hikes are as global today as they were in 1999 when the NPP including Nana Akuffo Addo were on streets of Accra demostrating about oil price increases by the NDC. To suggest that the NDC is falsely castigating the NPP over a global phenomenon that our government have little if any control over, is also to assume that NPP is ignorant of the fact that in 1999 crude oil price hike is a global affair. If indeed they are ignorant that back then our government had no control over oil prices then the NPP does not deserve to rule ghana again. If they knew and went ahead with their demostration only to take advantage over prices which affected the fortunes of the NDC in the 2000 election, they are equally guilty of what is pertaining in Ghana today. Common sense tells us that if you throw a ball on a dead end wall, the ball bounces right back to you. The ball is bouncing right on the face of the NPP today. They oppose such increases in 1999 and today increase crude oil prices in Ghana by over 300% just in 5 years. Interesting the same party, tradition and same people would ask the very party (NDC) they opposed and insulted in 1999 for the increases they made not to talk because of global events. What a reverse psychology to quote my good fried Kwabina Fio. Recent comments by officials and sympatizers of the NPP regarding the Wahala demostrations reminds me of Professor Danquah's psychology class I took years ago at the University of Ghana. The NPP is in psychological projection. Projection is a defense mechanism use by people to unconsciouly deny their actions by projecting or believing that others are responsible for such actions. After 4 years of nothing on the table to show Ghanaians, the NPP had no option but to project. Almost every thing wrong in Ghana today, according to the NPP, is NDC's fault. That is not an example of a responsible government. I pray that will not be the government of Nana Akuffo Addo.

Let use few space I have to comment on Nana Akuffo Addo's candidature. Nana's tenure of office as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice does not reflect a good democratic credentials as the writer want us to believe. It rather depicted him as an arrogant individual who does not obey the basic tenets of democracy "not wining all the time and lost is part of the game". When he lost a case against Mr Tsatsu Tsikata at the Supreme court of Ghana. He hurryingly convinced the President to appoint several supreme court judges just to over turn an earlier decision of the court. In fact he succeeded in doing so. The NPP paraded a banch of party faithfuls to the nation's highest court and lo and behold his wishes were granted. There are inside reports from the Kuffour camp that the rational behind moving Nana from the Justice Ministry to his current post (Foreign Affairs) is that more oftern than not his legal view conflicts with those of the President. They also claim that he unneccessarily challenges the authority of the president. Also, the argument that Nana will not accept corruption under his watch is neither here nor there. After all he was a member of government (Cabinet member) when Bamba, Anane, and several others were allegedly syphoning off state coffers for their personal use. Some of the allegation he could have used his good offices as the leading attorney and minister of justice to investigate.

I will end by congratulating the writer for his eloquence and thoughtfulness. I disagree, I don't hate. Let's continue the discourse.

Abdul-Rahman
Wellan, Ontario
Canada


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