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Politics of Monday, 25 October 2004

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I won?t campaign in Yendi - Kufuor

Accra, Oct 25, Chronicle -- The campaign ground at Mantse Agbo-naa, James Town in the centre of the capital city of Accra, was thrown into absolute euphoria when President John Agyekum Kufuor, described on one of the placards as ?a true and caring father? of the nation arrived to officially to launch the New Patriotic Party (NPP)?s December 7, victory campaign.

The arrival of Mr. Kufuor at about 4.10pm was met with the popular gospel tune, ?Afi ye ya?afi (This is our year) by the Western Diamonds on brass band and the crowd of thousands of party members and sympathizers, went wild.

Amid shouts of various accolades extolling his performance, his affability, dedication and care for the people, the President?s entourage meandered its way through the clinging crowd to the raised platform, which had been bedecked with party bunting.

The heavy security presence notwithstanding, it was a very tough assignment controlling the teeming crowd and paving way for the president to pass as the ecstatic crowd surged forward to shake hands with him.

The president waved, smiled and displayed the victory sign reminiscent of Kwame Nkrumah, by raising the two fingers next to the thumb.

This symbolizes the number two position of the NPP on the ballot paper and was interpreted by the spin-doctors to signify his second coming. He walked majestically to the platform and to a standing ovation from the Ministers of State and party hierarchy.

After the exchange of greetings with party officials, President Kufuor paid a courtesy call on the James Town Mantse at his palace, which overlooked the rally ground to explain the rationale for launching the campaign in his jurisdiction.

The various Parliamentary Candidates stormed the ground with their supporters and showed the victory sign for a second term for Mr. Kufuor and vice president Aliu Mahama.

Supporters bore placards, some of which read, ?Kufuor is Mandela for Ghana,? ?HIPC has brought real life for Ghanaians,? ?Stop using Dagbon as campaign message, unite them,? ?NPP is not tribalistic,? ?NPP is good for governance,? ? They will never see power again,? ?Kufuor is a true and caring father.?

Speaker after speaker failed to talk about issues but rather extolled the virtues of President Kufuor, very unlike the 2000 launch when the then opposition NPP highlighted issues of poverty, high cost of living, cost of school fees and poor governance among a litany of malfeasance associated with then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

President Kufuor, himself, said very little, indicating that his address had been issued in a statement to the press.

He, however, spoke briefly about the nagging Dagbon crisis and said until the issue was settled and the Ya-Na given a dignified burial, it would be hypocritical to go AND campaign in Yendi.