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07.07.2008 NPP News

Read full statement by NDC - ON THE DIVERSIONARY PROPAGANDA OF THE NPP.

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Read full statement by NDC - ON THE DIVERSIONARY PROPAGANDA OF THE NPP.
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PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS – ON THE DIVERSIONARY PROPAGANDA OF THE NPP.

The National Democratic Congress has noted the attempts of the Communications Director of the NPP's Presidential Campaign, to divert public attention away from the problems and challenges confronting the majority of Ghanaians today. The NPP is desperately trying to continue their propaganda efforts of characterising former President Rawlings as the sole expression of everything NDC. It is very troubling, that at a time when the average Ghanaian can barely make ends meet the NPP campaign committee can only focus on the past. It is regrettable that they only find it useful to spend their time and effort to vilify one man – President Rawlings - in an effort to avoid having to offer solutions to the problems that they have inflicted on the people of this country.

This is NPP politics as usual, and we believe that the good people of Ghana will not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by these propaganda gimmicks and distractions. Having said that, it is time for our compatriots to tell our colleagues in the NPP that while spin and propaganda may make for good newspaper headlines it does not address the issues that most Ghanaians have to face on a daily basis.

A public sector worker today earning an average income of GHC 200.00 a month, according to the Ghana Living Standards Survey spends about 80% of his/her income on food and has 20% left to take care of other costs. Over the last two years fuel and transport costs have soared to crippling heights. There have also been astronomical increases in the cost of water and electricity, and when you add to that the spiralling cost of obtaining accommodation in our towns and cities then it is not surprising that the average Ghanaian public sector worker and most Ghanaian workers are constantly in debt. Indeed, it is a miracle and a demonstration of the resilience of the Ghanaian people that in spite of these challenges they are still hopeful and optimistic.

Living standards for the most of us in this era of “property owning democracy” have not improved despite the much-touted “wonderful economic management” that we have had. Therefore, no wonder the NPP has to try to focus on the personality of President Rawlings to give their Presidential campaign the semblance of having some sort of traction. It is typical that a drowning man has no choice but to clutch at twigs and straws in order to survive.

It has also come to the notice of the NDC and a section of the electorate that the Presidential Candidate of the NPP has taken to making forced, empty, and meaningless gestures towards promoting his image as a man of the people. Lately it has been reported by the media that the Presidential Candidate (probably on one of the few occasions in his life) has taken to riding in tro-tros (never mind that his driver is waiting at the end of the ride to give him back the comfort of his four-wheel drive). Our opponents think that this will suddenly make him a “Man of the people”. These are farcical attempts to show solidarity with the majority of our people and should be seen for what they are – mere gimmicks to belatedly engage the public's attention, and the cynical manipulations of a political group that has lost touch with the life most of our people live.

The Presidential Candidate of the NPP has spent the greater part of his adult and political life as a proud member of the elite, and the people around him and his political party believe that elitism should serve as a guiding principle of their approach to organizing politics and informing policy formulation. It is noteworthy that recently – Mr. Gaby Otchere Darko a relative of the NPP Presidential Candidate and a close adviser has apparently confirmed their elitist approach to governing; he is quoted to have declared on radio, “Democracy is not about empowering people, it is about strengthening institutions”. If that is their belief, then we of the NDC are convinced that they have got the whole concept wrong. Democracy in our view is about people who in the process of feeling empowered build institutions to create equality of opportunity for all irrespective of social, ethnic, and religious background. It is also about ensuring that the rule of law means equality before the law and the impartiality of the investigative and judicial process. The High Court's treatment of Tsatsu Tsikata demonstrates the limitations of this “strengthening institutions without empowering people” formulation of democracy.

The National Democratic Congress wishes to assure Ghanaians that as the political party that successfully brought the country back to democratic rule, and presided over a government that allowed ordinary Ghanaians to confidently participate at all levels of society and governance, we will always act to empower people. In spite of the challenges, the NDC government faced in accessing financial resources electricity was extended to every District Capital in Ghana. The NDC also ensured that access to water, and healthcare facilities were increased and the cost of food, constructing of housing, and transport were not as prohibitive as they are today. We commit to governing this country bearing in mind that we “are always for people, always for development”.

The Leader and Presidential Candidate of the NDC – Professor John Evans Atta Mills, stated unequivocally at the launch of his Presidential campaign that a government under his leadership will have at the top of its agenda, “Investing in people, jobs and the economy” and overseeing a transparent and accountable government. The Leader of the NDC and our party once again reaffirmed our faith in the Ghanaian people, and our belief that together we can chart a course for, “A Better Ghana”. We already know that this nation “will move forward”. The much-vilified President Rawlings proclaimed that at a rally in 1992 before the Presidential and Parliamentary elections that took place then, and made that concept the focus of this first term of the NDC government. The fact that the NPP has had to resurrect this theme for their Presidential campaign shows just how much they have run out of ideas for taking this country forward. We as a party are focusing our Presidential campaign on bringing into being a government that will focus on, “Creating opportunities for all”, and make that goal the focus of its governance activities.

Since Professor Mills outlined the themes for this campaign in “Ghana's Road to Prosperity”, the NPP's Presidential Campaign Team have been using their best efforts to stifle any meaningful national debate on how we can ensure that the majority of our people can afford the basics such as having decent meals and clean water to drink every day. The NDC has sought, and will continue to focus on debating the critical issues and challenges affecting us as a nation. We aim by this process to forge a national consensus on the way forward in dealing the current issues that confront us. We are disappointed that our opponents in the NPP are using every opportunity to confuse and stifle the debate, and have till today not been able to answer the questions posed by the Leader of the NDC – Professor John Evans Atta Mills, at the launch of our National Campaign.

For the record, the questions they were asked are as follows and we hope they will take the time to respond to them in specific terms:-
- What happened to the jobs promised to the youth?
- What happened to the size of government, which they said was too big when the NDC was in power?
- What happened to the cost of living, which they promised to reduce when voted into office?
- What happened to the affordability theory in relation to the pricing of utilities, fuel, and services?
- What happened to their zero tolerance for corruption?

We would also like to add another question, now that crude oil prices are rising globally and the government appears to have frozen any further fuel price increases, how exactly are we going to pay for this now?

The NDC is calling on Nana Akufo Addo the Presidential Candidate of the NPP to answer these questions. In claiming to be the champions of democratic governance and the rule of law, surely the Leader of the NPP is acquainted with the challenges the concept of collective responsibility imposes on government and its leadership.

We believe that as parties competing for the mandate to govern this country we owe it to our fellow compatriots to be able to explain our commitment or otherwise to our principles and rhetoric, in order to assure our people of the integrity and appropriateness of our leadership. We trust that the NPP will take time to answer these questions and help set our nation on the right path. After all, it is for this reason, that of all the leaders that are competing for the Presidency in a multi-party political system who are the “best” that their party's have to offer, it is “The Better Man” from amongst them that the people will choose to lead them after free and fair elections have taken place.

When all is said and done, we live in the present not the past, we look forward to the future and using our abilities and resources to create a society that offers opportunities for all. In order to achieve that we need calm, sober, mature, humble and resilient leadership which will be provided by Professor Atta-Mills, and Hon. John Mahama.

The time for “The Better Man, for a Better Ghana”, has come. President Rawlings term of office has past. Professor Atta-Mills is the future.

Hanna Tetteh
Director of Communications
National Democratic Congress

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