The campaign team of the Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, has categorically denied that Dr Kwame Amoako-Tufuor, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), has been withdrawn from the team.
The team said Dr Amoako-Tufuor still remained its live wire, adding that he had not done anything to warrant a withdrawal from the team which was feverishly campaigning to win the flag bearership slot of the ruling New Patriotic Party(NPP) for Alhaji Mahama.
A Senior Special Aide (Legal) to the Vice-President, Mr Yaw Boaben Asamoa, stated this in an interview in Accra, in reaction to an allegation by sections of the media to the effect that Mr Amoako-Tufuor had been withdrawn from the campaign team and noted that “on the contrary, due to his excellent political skills, Dr Amoako-Tufuor has been elevated to serve as advisor and Chief Strategist to the party while a full time Campaign Manager has been appointed”.
On December 22, 2007, the NPP will be going to congress to elect a flag bearer for the party to contest the 2008 general election.
So far, 19 candidates, including Vice-President Aliu Mahama have declared their intention to run the race for the flag bearership.
Mr Asamoa explained that considering Amoako-Tufuor's duties as the Chief Executive Officer of the GSFP and the manner in which the entire campaign was going, it was decided that Dr Amoako-Tufuor put up a solid team that would work full time to ensure total victory for the vice-president in December.
“He has done that and remains the team's special strategist and advisor,” he added. Mr Asamoa said the trust that Dr Amoako-Tufuor had in the vice-president on winning the coming elections could not be overemphasised, and noted that “he is the live wire of the entire team and his expertise and strategies cannot be left out if the vice-president is really to win the elections”.
“The Vice President accepts and is grateful for the fact that matters affecting his campaign tent to make the news,” he added.
In a related development, Dr Amoako-Tufuor, in a separate interview, has stated that he still remains a staunch member of the vice-president's campaign team.
“I have not withdrawn from the campaign team as it is being speculated in some sections of the media,” he added.
He described the speculations as erroneous and a calculated attempt to create confusion in the vice-president's campaign team.
“I am resolved more than ever before to follow the man who many know is the best candidate to win the December elections for the NPP and subsequently the 2008 general election,” he said.
Dr Amoako-Tufuor said while remaining strongly in the campaign team, he would ensure that his duties as the head of the School Feeding Programme was not compromised.
“I have resolved to use my working hours to see to it that schoolchildren get food to eat while ensuring that the programme runs as effectively and efficiently as possible,” he added.
Dr Amoako-Tufuor said he was available for the campaign at anytime, but would do so when he had closed from work and during weekends.
“I was one of the people who criticised the former ministers who were still in office while campaigning, and I will not have to do same. Rather, I will use my duty hours to do my official duties and my off-working hours for my campaign work,” he said.
Dr Amoako-Tufuor said he still remained the lead campaign advisor and master strategist of the vice-president's team, and asked all those whose minds were being swayed from that fact not to panic.
“I seriously analysed the situation carefully before throwing my weight behind the vice-president and I will not, after working hard all these while, quit when the icing on the cake was a stone throw away,” he said.
He said NPP needed a candidate that was not only appealing to the party, but also appealing to the general voting public as a whole.
Dr Amoako-Tufuor said the battle ahead in 2008 was going to be won by the candidate who had the capacity to swing all the floating voters, but cautioned that the NPP would be making a mistake if it decided on any other person apart from Alhaji Mahama.
As the first-ever vice-president to run almost two terms, he had become more popular with the people and his traits, devotion and loyalty to the party were unquestionable.
Dr Amoako-Tufuor reiterated that Vice-President Aliu Mahama was an affable and humble person who had the charisma and experience to lead NPP to victory, come 2008, and pledged his continued and unflinching support for him.
Story by Charles Benoni Okine