Feature Article of Thursday, 4 October 2012

Columnist: Frimpong, Desmond

Our encounter with the "dead" President

The report spread fast, far and wide. Various social media sites, including Facebook and other social media, were on Sunday morning rife with speculations that the former president had died. The rumour started last week Friday and reached its peak on Sunday 30th when former President Kufuor was scheduled to meet with the Norwegian branch of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). So why will anybody put such a story up. Those who started this wicked rumour must be ashamed of themselves. Why do some people take delight in spreading false rumours about our cherished leaders? May God`s blessings be with President Kufuor.

Some people are certainly not very comfortable following the widespread acceptance Nana Akufo-Addo’s promise to provide free seniour high school education has received among the Ghanaian electorate. They therefore had to make up some funny story just to divert the massive attention the policy is receiving. So the best they could do was to tell Ghanaians the former President was dead. On Sunday 30th October, some smartly dressed members and sympathisers of NPP`s branch in Oslo, Norway trooped in our numbers to the plush Bristol Hotel on Sunday to greet, welcome, chat and share ideas with the beloved former president. Upon entering the hotel, we were ushered into President`s suite by Mr Frank Agyekum; and lo and behold there sat the former president looking very cheerful and very fit. The expression on his face said it all. It was quite obvious he was happy to see us and we were elated to see the man some claim was dead.

President Kufuor, the former President of the Republic of Ghana, former chairman of the African Union, a statesman, the internationally acclaimed democrat whose views are highly regarded worldwide, was in Norway as the Special Envoy for the Global Network of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). He came to create more awareness and support for these diseases.

Mr Kufuor was emphatic when he told us during our meeting that the free SHS policy “is not just a dreamy thing he’s [Nana Addo] talking about. He is talking about a very well-taught out, solid, costed policy and the time to do it is now.”

He said Nana Addo is not dreaming about the policy, but has put in place concrete plans to have the policy executed if elected into power.

The former President has provided Ghana with the necessary foundation for economic transformation and this gives the NPP a strong platform to prosecute the campaign of bringing back hope and prosperity to Ghana. We encountered a person of truly exceptional political insight and depth.

The former president urged Ghanaians to embrace the policy because it will help solve problems of youth unemployment and teenager prostitution. Free SHS is populist, says President John Mahama, a man who benefitted from the Northen Free Education policy introduced by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Just as President Mahama benefitted from free education, so will the incoming NPP government with Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as president, ensure that the youth of today are educated freely in order to follow the footsteps of President Mahama. Ghanaians have no cause to doubt the ability of Nana Akufo-Addo and the competent team of achievers in the NPP to deliver on the promise to provide free senior high school education.

The NPP and former President Kufuor were put to test on the National Health Insurance Scheme promise, and we did not fail Ghanaians.

Desmond Frimpong

Oslo, Norway