The Defence Minister, Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor has finally unveiled his presidential ambition by declaring his intention to stand for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearership race. Uncertainty had clouded Dr. Addo Kufuor's entry into the NPP flagbearership race till he told a well-attended party meeting last Saturday at the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua that he was contesting for the NPP slot.
His declaration was greeted with a standing ovation. The announcement came at a time when rumours were fast spreading that the minister might after al not join the race as expected by many observers. When therefore he finally served notice of his intention in Koforidua, the first such emphatic announcement from him, since the rumour of his possible candidature gained currency, the very St. James Hotel venue of the function organised by the regional executives of the party, erupted ingot joy and the mood of the many delegates and other adherents of the NPP changed as they released their pent up excitement.
The notice given the delegates and to her party executives to assemble for the function was short, yet the turn-out surprised even the party officers, especially, as many could not get space in the conference hall of the hotel, hence had to take positions outside as the listened to the minister state his case on that drizzling day. Dr. Addo Kufuor then did what set him apart from many politicians.
On taking his turn to tell his audience why he had called them, he stated that other contestants in the race got on well with him, so for that reason and courtesy sake, he would not hurl invectives at them. “The other contestants are my friends and what I am doing is seeking the opportunity to build upon the foundation which has been laid now by the NPP administration. I am against trading of insults,” he said. That clearly indicated that he was in the race, even before the finally said so emphatically. He avoided as well, verbal lashing of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and rather acknowledged its role in starting certain projects at the 37 Military Hospital, which he came to build upon.
The appreciation of his feats by the mammoth gathering was not in doubt as one of the delegates asked that such developments be televised on state television. During the question and answer segment, the minister showed his class by assuaging the curiosity of an audience that holds the passport to the position of the highly coveted flagbearership of the party. The toughest cause of opposition, but which the minister handled without stress, was the one declared by a delegate who said even though he was impressed with the minister's feats and capabilities, he was of the notion that since his brother was the president, he should not vie for that same position. “when I was nominated for the position of Minister of Defence, nobody said that since my brother was the President, I should not be vetted like other nominees because I am an individual.
I have my own constituency and serving as an agent of the President like the other agents,” he stressed. He took this opportunity to explain to his audience that the President was a servant of the people of Ghana and his ministers, like him, were only agents carrying out his orders. There was an ovation to the answer and perhaps it convinced many who had early demonstrated traits of his apprehension. Outside the hall, an overwhelmed couple expressed this sentiment. Said one: “the man is certainly the best candidate. Look at his achievement and his handsomeness. Ghanaians do not like ugly Presidents.D-G