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Opinions of Thursday, 2 June 2005

Columnist: Appiah-Danquah, Kufuor

Undermining the Presidency - Facing it Head on

Half truths, falsehoods, vindictiveness and outright lies

I have never acted as a serial apologist for the Presidency or the Party. As much as possible I have tried to be objective, fair and consistent.
However, I think that the so called P(NDC) gutter press masquerading as the Fourth Estate under the guise of advocating Free Speech and spewing out falsehood, lies, half truths and sometimes utter garbage needs to be tackled head on. Let us trawl through some of the allegations and leave the Ghanaian jury to decide.
The current salvo, daily insults, abuse, ridicule, half truths and scurrilous articles appearing in some of the Ghanaian gutter press and on the pages of Ghana web regarding the Presidency must be faced head on.
Let me be clear about one thing, if President Kufuor or any member of the immediate or extended family commits any crime or acts improperly or abuse their position I will be the first one to speak out- no ambiguities.
Moreover, I want it on record that Ghanaweb as an institution is not the enemy of the President or the NPP, on this I disagree with Kwabena Agyapong. Francis and the Ghanaweb team publishes what information they receive, it may be the case that the sworn enemies of the NPP and the President are much more inclined to contact the web or to plant stories but that does not necessary make the web an enemy of the Government

The Law is Supreme Under Kufuor

The President has made it clear that no one is above the law in contemporary Ghana. Unlike the P(NDC) era when commandoes and members of the party treated the populace with impunity and the gun culture reigned supreme among some senior members of the party. Infact the ?unGhanaian gun culture? and the high incidence of armed robberies has its roots with the (NDC). Every Minister had a gun in their boot and Tony Aidoo settled petty arguments with the gun. A Deputy Defence Minister who acted more like an armed robber than a Defence Minister.
This President has never interfered with the law since becoming President and never acted ultra vires. If anyone has any evidence of him acting outside his constitutional remit do produce it

Press/Personal Freedom - Free to disagree/dissent and criticise

Unlike the former P(NDC) when the culture of silence prevailed and angry young men were armed to the teeth subjected the Press and critics of government policy to the Castle treatment ? a dose of beatings , head shaving and extra judicial activities. This Government is the toast of the world community and have been commended on its good governance by the African Peer Review Mechanism Process. In the corridors of the European Union, Ghana is the toast of the world- one of the few countries that has been put on the white list of countries. What it simply means is: no one in Ghana can claim political asylum in any part of the European Community as under Kufuor Ghana is seen and recognised by the International Community as a place where the rule of law applies. What an accolade for an African Country.
President Kufuor is admired and respected as a world leader and is treated and feted as a true democrat by all western leaders. A great pride and joy for our country. A different kind of African President. Our continent is so used to brutal dictators and undemocratic Presidents that we do no not seem to know when we have something good.
Readers of Ghanweb will attest to this. For example, in the past I have openly disagreed with some policies of the NPP in Government and on several occasions through quiet diplomacy have made my intentions and views crystal clear to the hierarchy of the party, the President and sometimes through the medium of Ghana web.
On occasions when I have been privileged to be in his company the President will listen to my point of view, as that is his style and in his quiet and nice way explained the reasons behind some hard decisions. I have argued on these pages that one of the hardest decisions ever taken by this President was the petroleum price increase - he had no choice. I am still bemused by the continuing ?wahala? as it is clearly intended to destabilise and usurp the democratic process.

Personal Stance

Readers may recall my stance on the Chinese Loan, the operational police mistakes that was made leading to the ongoing Dagbon crisis and my plea to the President not to sign the deportation order of Luke Butler. I have never acted as a serial apologist for the Presidency or the Party as much as possible I have tried to be objective, fair and consistent.
However, I think that the so called P(NDC) gutter press masquerading as the Fourth Estate under the guise of advocating Free Speech and spewing out falsehood, lies, half truths and sometimes utter garbage needs to be tackled head on.
Let us trawl through some of the allegations and leave the Ghanaian public (jury) to decide for themselves..

Allegations

1 NEPOTISM
When guys like Tony Aidoo and other members of the NDC accuse the President of nepotism it makes me wonder. Are they suggesting that any Kufuor who is qualified and capable should not be given the opportunity to contribute to our country?s progress or do they mean the President is appointing relatives who are unsuitable for the positions? The fact of the matter is simple: A lot of qualified and competent Ghanaians were not prepared to serve under the NDC quasi-political military regime. This may have created the impression in the minds of the vindictive NDC members that public service positions was a no go area for a section of society and that a certain group of people had to monopolise all the positions in Customs/Airport/Ministries/Military/Police etc.
Evidence
Let us look at a sample of the President appointees. Sister Veronica, who is the Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, had an excellent work history and a brilliant career before her appointment as Ambassador. She was the first woman Regional Director of Ghana Water and Sewerage and worked extremely hard to bring some sanity into the system when she was at Koforidua.
Kwame Addo Kufuor, was a successful Local Doctor saving lives in Kumasi when the (P) NDC criminals and hate filled commandoes were killing and canning poor women.
Kwame, GPHA was the UK representative of Black Star Line based in Liverpool long before anyone heard of President Kufuor ? I could go on and on. Please, Tony Aidoo produce a CV of any appointment of the President (relative) who is not qualified.
DK Osei like Hilla Limman was a diplomat prior to his appointment as Secretary to the President
For good measure a young Kufuor (medical student at Liverpool University) will be spending a month at Korle Bu from 18th June ? 18th July (unpaid) caring for patients. Should he be stopped from coming home to assist because he is a Kufuor?
For posterity let us compare these guys with some appointees in the P(NDC).

Sample of P(NDC) appointees

Adjei Boadi member of the ruling PNDC Council in Ghana attended school at Nkawie(no comments) Tony Aidoo, Deputy Defence Minister; ET Mensah; Dan Abodokapi; Kofi Portuphy; Capt Kojo Tsikata; PV Obeng; Sgt Akata Pore; Chris Atim; Amartey Kwei The country is waiting for these guys CV prior to their appointments to high office. Are we going for quality or quantity or ethnic balance? Those who live in glass houses must not throw stones.
2 CORRUPTION
The false pictures(6 house owned by Ben MD (GPHA ) printed by the National Democrat was the height of gutter journalism. It debased that noble profession- the intention was to destroy reputations and bring the name of the Presidency into disrepute..
What about the Hotel? Chief has come out clearly with a statement. It is absolutely nonsense and farcical for anyone to suggest that Chief?s wages was an equation in the negotiations..
What is wrong with the Banks funding a proposal based on a solid business plan? What is wrong with the son of the President being smart? Kofi Annan?s son was engaged in deals, an embarrassment to the Dad but not evidence of complicity?
The name of the game and the show in town is venture capital. I was involved with a consortium that wanted to bid for the Halewood Ford Factory when Ford decided to close it down and move production to Spain. Our consortium had no capital just our technical and managerial know-how.
I have not got a penny to my name but was part of an unsuccessful consortium.
The consortium that took over Rover from BMW did not lay out a penny, 5-6 banks financed the whole deal. I dare any Ghanaian to come forward with evidence of corruption or under hand dealings in the purchase of the Hotel.
Of course the Bank knew that Chief was the biological son of the President and that may have swayed their decison but is that wrongdoing? Since when did being a son of the President debarred one from engaging in legitimate business?
The share holders of NIB/Prudential can question the banks and check whether their funds are being spend wisely and the good people of Ghana has the right to ask whether they was any arm twisting or whether there was a any prospective buyer who was frustrated because of Chief?s involvement in the deal? . I have no issue with that
What is wrong for the NIB getting involved with the deal? What has the UDS saga got to do with NIB getting involved with the deal? I have stated in this column that the then opposition leader JA Kufuor dropped me at the Airport on my way to Tamale University and picked me from the Airport on my return. He was the one who encouraged me to go to Tamale in the first place and he has always acted in the interests of the North. Why bring in Gyimah and UDS?
Like Kofi Annan?s son involvement in the oil for food saga it is embarrassing for all of us and the lessons has been clearly learnt.
3 TRIBALISM
I do not intend to give a list of the Ministers who served under the P(NDC) government as every fibre of my body is against the word itself (tribe).I curse the guy who invented that word it has cause so much pain, suffering and misery that I wish that word or that line of differentiation never existed. Who cares whether I was born at HO, Tamale, Accra or Kumasi? What I will be remembered by is what I manage to leave behind and how my actions make a difference to the weaker members of society. I can give many examples of why this allegation of tribalism is rubbish, unsubstantiated and contemptible? Spending time on something which I abhor and detest is unproductive and time wasting.
Please could someone provide the web the names of all the service Commanders who served under the P. (NDC)?
All the Senior Army Officers who were prematurely retired? The names of all Chief Executives of major Banks and Corporations under the NDC and let us check whether it reflected the ethnic balance of the country? No one has ever claimed that because there is a disproportionate numbers of a certain group of people entrenched in the civil service that is tribalism? It just happens that certain group of people in Ghana tend to seek pasture green in Western Europe leaving other groups to steer the ship at home ? that is that. I cannot change it neither can the NPP/NDC or the Press.
I do not want to discuss this issue, as it is distasteful and non-productive-pitting brother against brother, family against family and neighbour against neighbour.

4 CONTEMPT FOR DEMOCRATIC VALUES

I have argued on these pages that as long as the P (NDC) party hierarchy believes in the gun and the ballot box they are not fit to rule Ghana. If the likes of Tony Aidoo and his masters think that they can use the current disaffection with the NPP to ferment any ideas of coups in the minds of the military they are on Mars. The year is 2005 the age of ?kokromite? power and democratic values.
I am not sure whether you have seen it in print, but the European Commission made up of 25 Member States of Europe and the US have a policy on coup d?etats. - The hierarchy of the NDC are so obsessed with the gun that their daydreaming and illusions of coming back to power through the gun runs through their veins.
The people have spoken and their will would prevail. The new world order is based on one-person one vote and if the NDC knows any different they must let the EU and US know. A coup maker will only rule in Burma Camp and no where else. He will never set foot in any part of the EU/US- THAT IS THE NEW WORLD ORDER LIKE IT OR HATE IT.

Tough Decisions The Only Way Forward.

Despite my strong and personal belief that the Party and the President has done nothing wrong and illegal, I am not na?ve and stupid- our honeymoon is over. We are going through very difficult, trying and hard times.
I suggest we implement some of the measures below immediately.

1. Stop Squabbling about the next President
2. Weekly Broadcast
3. Declaration of Assets
4. Local Government Decentralisation
5. Implementation of a Rural Policy
6. Effective use of the Media
7. Performance Reviews
8. Delivery Delivery-

? The President must take his message to the people- He was at his best when we were campaigning in December ? the people loved him . He must start a weekly radio broadcast to the whole nation- explaining policies and current issues
? The President as a matter of urgency must ask all his Ministers and District Chief Executives and Chief Executives of major organisations to declare their assets
? Start the process of Local Government decentralisation and actually put power back into the hands of the rural folks
? Initiate a pro-active rural development policy ensuring that our rural folks 70% of the population have access to all the basic essentials in life.
? The party to aggressively promote good news stories on Radio/TV and the external Press- Use the Ghana web we have enough enemies to create new ones
? Regional and District Chief Executives must start writing their delivery plans and be held accountable . A quarterly reporting process to the Centre must be instituted. They must concentrate on delivery ? delivery, delivery.
? Create District Youth/Women/farmers Forum where real people can discuss and debate issues. A forum that allows local communities to articulate their aspirations, needs and priorities:
? The NPP party to stop squabbling about the next President- this one just got elected. Let us spend our energies concentrating on delivering on our promises not jockeying for power. There is work to be done. ? ? The party must not fall for the agenda of the Press- Silence is sometimes golden.
On a personal note I have received about 30 emails asking about my plans. I will still be taking a year off after completing a major piece of work for my employers - the writing of Luton?s Community Plan, which is a statutory document.
My intention was to spend my year in Ghana assisting my country in whatever way the Government felt proper. I then had a change of mind and opted for Senegal to work for President Wade and his team . However, I have received letters and emails, which have made me, change my mind.
I am a Ghanaian and I can contribute something to my native country. When and if the Government needs my services I will be available with my CV. Tony Aidoo and friends can double and triple check my CV and approve of it before I leave the European shores...
God Bless Our Country



Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.