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14.08.2006 Politics

Tony Aidoo, Ohene Ntow battle over Kufuor’s comments

By mjol
Ohene Ntow & Tony AidooOhene Ntow & Tony Aidoo
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Members of the two leading parties, NDC and NPP, used the better part of this morning hob knobbing on radio stations to put their own spins on the President's comments linking the NDC's Rojo Mettle Nunoo and the opposition party to the narcotics trade currently under investigation.

General Secretary Nana Ohene Ntow, who spoke on JOY FM, said the president's reference to Rojo Mettle Nunoo and the NDC was intended to draw attention to the unnecessary politicization of narcotics related allegations brought against individuals.

Nana Ohene Ntow told JOYFM that the NDC drew the first blood in the politicization of crime.

“I think the President did not accuse anybody. The President spoke within a certain context, and if you listen to the tape of what the
President said, he started from Amoateng and the effort that the NDC
Members of Parliament and others have tried to link it to the NPP party just because an NPP MP or an NPP individual has been arrested, charged in dealing with cocaine. So he (President Kufuor) said no, this is totally unjustifiable because we have another cocaine case on our hands in which a leading member of the NDC has been mentioned and that is not enough grounds for people to link the NDC party to cocaine,” he said.

The NDC concedes it set the tone for the president's weekend speech. However, Dr. Tony Aidoo, a leading Member of the party, says the response was disproportionate. He is also concerned about the factual inaccuracies in president Kufuor's comments.

"The significance of Mr Kufuor's statement was that he was trying to exercise his right to reply but he went beyond required proportionality to make a statement of fact that was essentially accusatory. Because his point of reference was that the NPP does not do drugs and I'm not surprised because I think Mr Kufuor has been having sleepless nights. His government has been characterized by scandal after scandal. This particular doctrine, if we go through the period from 2002 till today, is the most scandalous drug busts has all had NPP personalities involved,” he said.

Dr. Tony Aidoo says President Kufuor's comments could taint the findings of the Justice Georgina Wood Committee investigating the various cocaine scandals.

"A committee set up at the ministerial level, a minister controlled by a President, and a President goes and makes prejudicial statements and you think the proceedings are not going to be influenced. I'm not saying they would but you see the potential for President Kufuor's declared position on the issue is bound to have an impact.

“Already it has created public debate today. Every newspaper, every radio station is talking about this. What it has done, therefore, is that it has shifted the issue to a very high level of controversy and therefore the investigations itself will be affected by the controversy,” he said.

But the NPP's Nana Ohene Ntow disagrees.

“I don't see why he should preempt it. The President is President, but he is also an individual. He is also a member of the political party in front. He is a leader of a political party that is being unjustifiable and unduly smeared and he has the responsibility to his party too, as a party member, to help set the party's record straight. That's exactly what he did. He hasn't in any way undermined the work of the committee. His comments would not push the committee to be prejudiced,” he said.

For most observers the President's comments, factual or not, have exposed him to public criticism and condemnation.

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