NPP politics: The two Addos have spoken!
Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, one of the 17 New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirants has accused his political detractors of playing up his relations with President John Agyekum Kufuor as a cover up for their poor performance as public officers. "Some of my competitors did not perform well as ministers of state and have nothing to show for their stewardship. This is why they are harping on my blood relations with the President just to frustrate my ambition but they will not succeed," he said.
Dr Addo-Kufuor was responding to a question as to whether he had the President's support and whether he thought he needed that to become the NPP Presidential Candidate for 2008 during an encounter between him and journalists. He was speaking against the backdrop of the NPP National Chairman's warning to aspirants to carry out their campaign with decorum and to stay away from mudslinging.
He said Ghana's political system was not dynastic for people to succeed their family members as president and for him to have been subjected to parliamentary vetting before becoming a minister and the fact that he has to stand elections before assuming leadership, indicated that being a brother of a president had nothing to do with his political ambition.
"People talk as if when my brother became president I was a poor farmer somewhere and he went and picked me and made me a minister," he stated.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor reminded Ghanaians that when he first became Member of Parliament in 1996, his brother was not the president. He declared: "When me and my brother initiated and financed the club, which eventually led to the formation of the NPP, my brother was not president..In my family we were brought up to be independent minded and for that matter my brother is free to decide whether to support me or not; just as I am free to decide to be president without necessarily seeking his support," he said.
He urged Ghanaians to free themselves of the mentality of hinging one's success on to one's relation in a position of authority and said 'this attitude has rendered Africa backward". He said he was determined to change that when given the chance in 2008.
Asked what he would do differently from his brother if given the nod to become President of Ghana in January 2009, he said, "if I become President I would have oil money at my disposal so I would spend more lavishly on national development than my brother did".
On the issue of corruption and accountability, which some people claimed his brother was perceived not to have shown much commitment to, Dr. Addo-Kufuor said he would declare his assets and order all of his officials to do the same and those found wanting would be dealt with speedily.
Dr Addo-Kufuor credited the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for affording him the opportunity to study the health-financing situation in several countries when he was the shadow minister of health, which prepared him to champion the National Health Insurance Scheme.
He also credited the NDC for constructing the first phase of the 37 Military Hospital Project before he tackled the second phase as Minister of Defence.
Asked about the existence or otherwise of a US Military base in the country, he said there was no such thing on the soils of the country, but pointed out that America was too powerful for a small country like Ghana to try to stop them from establishing their bases around the world.
When Dr Addo-Kufuor was asked about a statement attributed to his supporters that there was no coup attempt during his tenure as Defence Minister although several official reports had spoken about arrest of coup plotters, he said the alleged statement did not come from him.
He said coups could be plotted anywhere but he was only 'a goalkeeper who prevented goals from being scored'.
Dr Addo-Kufuor assured Ghanaians that under his presidency the country would be unified saying although he was an Ashanti none of the Service Commanders today was from his ethnic group.
This, he said, showed that he was ready to work with people based on merit rather than ethnic background.
After elaborating his achievements in private life; as an MP and a Minister as well as his vision, he stated that the NPP under his brother built the foundation for Ghana's development and pointed out that he would build "the superstructure" as Ghana's next President.