Minister shoots Amissah down!
8/3/2012 7:30:05 PM -
By Emmanuel Akli
Whilst Madam Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, has come out to openly congratulate President John Mahama for naming Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, as Vice President, some hotheads in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are also kicking against the nomination.
The barrage of criticisms that have greeted the nomination so far, were initiated by the National Organiser of the party, Mr. Yaw Boateng Gyan, who told a radio station in Accra on Wednesday, this week, that he was not at home with the decision of the president to nominate Mr. Arthur as his vice, and possibly as running mate for the December elections.
According Yaw Gyan, he had known the Governor as a true cadre who supported the Rawlings' revolution, but could not say same for the people at the grassroots of the party.
This attack might have compelled the Vice President's nominee to grant an interview to both Ghana Television and Citi FM in Accra yesterday, to explain the roles he had played in the party since its inception, including being appointed a Deputy Minister of Finance during the reign of former President Rawlings.
He also explained that the national currency, the Cedi, always depreciated against major currencies during election years, and that he could not be blamed for the current tumbling of the currency.
But, a few hours after trying to defend the role that is going to be assigned him as the Second Gentleman on the land, Mr. Arthur was hit with another blow, this time from Mr. Victor Smith, Eastern Regional Minister.
To the former Ghana Ambassador to the Czech Republic, the NDC would be gambling with its chances of winning the December elections if President Mahama contests with Amissah-Arthur as his running mate.
He noted that Amissah-Arthur was a good technocrat, therefore, if he was appointed to help the President complete the rest of the late President Mills' term, he would not have any problem with that, but to contest the election as a running mate, he would have a problem with that.
Speaking on Citi FM in Accra yesterday, Victor Smith, who was apparently eyeing the Vice President slot, but lost to Amissah-Arthur, said a running mate should be someone who could bring the numbers to the table. The person should also be someone who would excite the public. He, however, regretted that he did not see those attributes in the Vice President-nominee.
'I'm not comfortable, I can tell you clearly. I have made that point to leadership. Amissah-Arthur for the longer time is a weakness. It will not help us the way I see politics as being done in this country. We need somebody who will bring us a lot of votes; a person to complement the President. John Mahama has a lot of ground support, but you need to partner him with another strong person who can excite people. If you ask this guy to go, I can tell you then we are gambling; then we have reached the gambling stage,' Victor told another radio station - Asempa - FM in an interview.
'Someone may ask whether I am interested in the position of a running mate? I may aspire high in my political carrier, but I'm not saying it should compulsorily be me. There are other people who can fit into the partnership we are looking for,' he added.
According to Victor Smith, who is also contesting the Abuakwa North parliamentary seat on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress, he was a person who always speaks his mind on issues concerning the party, and that he even lost his job when he defied ex-President Rawlings to support the nomination of Mr. John Mahama as the late President Mills' running mate.
Victor Smith would not comment on suggestions that Mr. Amissah-Arthur would rake in votes from both the Central and Western regions. 'I don't want to toe ethnic lines,' he said.
The Eastern Regional Minister's effusions did not, however, go down well with the presidential spokesman, John Abu Jinapor, who called to the radio station to express his reservation about the comments being made by Victor against the nominee of the president.
According to him, Victor Smith had unfettered access to President Mahama in both his office and home, and was, therefore, surprised that he could go on air to make such comments against the nominee.
Mr. Amissah-Arthur would be vetted by the Appointment Committee of Parliament in public on Monday. This was after the House had rejected an in camera sitting to vet him. The opposition parties have already raised issues with his handling of the free fall of the cedi, which would definitely feature prominently during his vetting.