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Opinions of Friday, 9 November 2007

Columnist: Kuyini, Ahmed Bawa

Veep Swerved By NPP: Genuine Mistake or Calculated Move?

News coming out of the vetting process on Tuesday 6th November 2007 indicates that the scheduled vetting meeting for the Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama was postponed without prior notice to the candidate to this effect. Comments on the Ghanaweb more eloquently ?say it all? in terms of how all Ghanaians across the political lines feel about this type of humiliation and total disrespect for his person/position.

However, I would like to ask a few questions just to clarify and/or make sense of this whole unacceptable event. Was this occurrence a genuine mistake or a calculated move to distort and disrupt the Vice-Presidents? ambitions? Many people on tbe Ghanaweb have started talking about the NPP and its supposed linings to Ashanti, tribal bias party etc. Others have started playing the Northerner discriminatory card, while others have started talking about the vice presidents? religion, etc..

It is clear that this event opens the Pandora Box of analysis about all the many ills that may envelop our politics. Many people are dissatisfied with the explanations so far given, especially when it happens to be the vice president who has been seen by many as unlike all the other aspirants; a so called ?outsider? because of his northern origin.

There is no doubt that these expressions of dissatisfaction and subjective analysis, which have been made in a state of anger, frustration or emotional overload can have more reaching consequences for the political process in the coming months. What is worrying is that thE consequence can be devastating for the NPP as a party, which has been trying to establish/re-establish itself as credible party committed to the principles of fairness and justice and transparency for all manner of Ghanaians .

This event could also have significant influence on the outcome of the upcoming elections in respect of those we choose to govern us for the next 4 years. The chance is that people may vote with their emotions rather than with their intellect, which is usually backed by indepth analysis of the policies of the different parties. Such an outcome would make it difficult for Ghanaians to reap the benefit of good governance because we will end up with those who did not really deserve to be in power. In terms of whether this was genuine mistake or a calculated move, this is my observation.

The scenario is that the vice President shows up for a meeting even though he knows there is no meeting......Hmmmmm!!! Smells like a rat to me!!! The strange thing about this event is that we are being told that the Vice President was aware of the postponement. Bizarre!!! Why would a sane person like the Vice President take a whole battalion of supporters to a meeting that is certainly not going to eventuate?

For those arguing that the vice president was informed of the postponement, the questions they need to be asking the chairman of the Vetting committee are:

1. Was the decision to postpone the meeting made by the entire committee or was it a unilateral decision by the chair?

2. When did they /he arrive at the decision to postpone the meeting?

3. Was the vice president?s campaign office informed and within what timeframe was the information passed on?

In fact no reasonable person such as the vice president will leave his national duties to go to an event that has been postponed. Even if the decision to cancel the meeting was made late in the day, there were several channels for communicating this to the vice president, and courtesy demands that the principal subject of the decision be immediately informed. Even if all the telephone lines in Ghana were down, a member of the committee should have been at post to inform the vice president of the committee?s decision to cancel the meeting. ?Not even the chairman of the Council of State, Prof. Adzei Bekoe was around, and there was also no communication from the party (Ghanaweb News 6/11/07).

Given that the vetting committee failed to duly inform the vice president and showed no remorse on learning that he showed up at the venue, the committee needs to explain and to apologise for their incompetence or share disrespect. I am certainly surprised that a well-organised party such as the NPP will have a committee that can be so incompetent, except that they are doing the bidding of some ?omnipotent? power within the party.

This picture makes one feel that this occurrence was not a genuine mistake but a calculated move, with undercurrents of something sinister. It is also a disgrace for a section of the party who have been throwing in placards suggesting that the vice president has no genuine Party membership card. In fact, the NPP leadership should not even allow such a piece of news to be flashed across the world, for many will question the party?s commitment and capacity to work with people who measure up to all of its standards/requirements. Indeed, if the vice President did not measure to the standards/requirements and was allowed to be in this position of trust and decision-making for 8 long years, it shows that party can either compromise on anything, or it more eloquently demonstrates the incompetence in those at the party headquarters.

This incident should not have been allowed to occur for it now casts doubts on the entire vetting process. The question now is , do we want the process to maintain its credibility? If the answer is ?yes? then something more than an apology needs to be put on the table. To my mind, if the NPP vetting process is to regain the total confidence and credibility it had before 6/11/2007, the entire committee needs to be replaced, because they have messed up, and few people are ever going to believe that this committee is not partisan or is competent to handle such a high profile process.

If these steps are not taken, the outcome for the NPP and the entire political process for Ghana in the upcoming elections may be unexpectedly different, because a substantial number of voters will make up their minds with long-term unpleasant consequences.

No person aspiring to be leader deserves such a treatment of absolute disrespect and I am really upset with the committee?s unacceptable behaviour (and I know there are hosts of others that share the same feelings). Someone somewhere must explain and in my view, someone should lose his job.

Dr. Ahmed Bawa Kuyini CEVS, Tamale -

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