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09.10.2008 NPP News

Allegations of corruption against gov`t officialsNPP OPENS FIRE ON RAWLINGS... dares him to prove innocence in GHACEM bribery charge

By Bismark Bebli - Ghanaian Chronicle

THE RULING New Patriotic Party (NPP) has opened more fire on the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings over his consistent allegations of corruption against government officials, including the sitting President, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor.

The NPP has also delved into the manifesto of the NDC, describing it as a document that lacks original ideas and has a sense of inertia that presage how they (NDC) will approach the problems of the country if elected.

Addressing a news conference in Accra, yesterday, the National Chairman, Mr. Peter Mac Manu accused the former President of collecting kickbacks from GHACEM- SCANCEM but failed to prove his innocence except to deny it.

“Indeed last year, a Norwegian court, the Norwegian owners of GHACEM admitted that it had a deliberate policy to corrupt African leaders and that Mr. Rawlings and his wife had for years been multibillion dollar kickback beneficiaries in the company's bid to virtually monopolise the cement industry in Ghana.

To date, in his defence, Mr. Rawlings has only managed a half-hearted statement from his lawyers, denying the charges. Let the former President at least attempt to clear his reputation in those charges before accusing others of corruption,” he charged.

Mr. Mac Manu, flanked by party gurus, including Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the National chairman of the Campaign Committee, Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy, the Communications Director of the campaign team, Mad. Agnes Okudzeto, the second Vice National chairperson and a host of others, said “For a party and a leader who with impunity, issued a white paper to clear Ministers found by a constitutionally mandated body of being corrupt, Ghanaians surely are the better judges of the value of NDC's hypocrisy.

Touching on the introduction of the former Generals by Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings at the launch of the NDC's “A Better Ghana Manifesto” over the weekend, at Trade Fair in Accra, the NPP chairman had this to say -“As for former President Rawlings' introduction of former Generals and invocation of war images, the least said about it the better. He continued, “The former President appears to miss the days when we changed governments with bullets, not ballots. The people of Ghana want democracy and he must help us to promote it or get out of the way. Additionally, he asserted, “From his pronouncements on the security situation with his repeated invocations of Kenya, to his meetings with former Security officials, to his insults of the people of Central Region, the former President has been intemperate, divisive and disruptive.

Mr. Rawlings, like a leopard that cannot change its spots, will never change his character. The question is whether the NDC can move out of his shadows If Prof. Mills is elected, can he be his own man? Will Mr. Rawlings permit him to be his own man? Will a new NDC government pursue the people's agenda or the agenda of revenge?

Why would they investigate the deaths of the Ya-Na and Mobila without investigating the deaths of the three NPP activists decapitated at Kunbungu and those killed during the "Kumi Preko" demonstrations?”

Reacting extensively to the NDC's Manifesto, the NPP noted that it was full of inaccuracies. According to Mac Manu, the fact that the NDC was the first major political party to elect a flag-bearer nearly two years ago, and yet was the last to launch its manifesto was significant.

He said such a move suggested that the NDC either lacks original ideas or has a sense of inertia that presages how it will approach the problems of the country if they are elected. “The NDC as a party is a follower, not a leader and cannot lead in solving national problems,” he claimed.

Mr. Mac Manu further argued that “The NDC Manifesto contains some inaccuracies. First, growth in 2007 was 6.3% and not 5.8% as they claim. Also, the current national debt at the end of June was GH¢7.8 billion, not 91 trillion cedis as they claimed. What is important is the size of a nation's debt as compared to the size of the economy. Under NPP, that has fallen from 189% of GDP and under the NDC to 48%.”

He maintained that the fact of the matter was that the NDC devoted so much time during the launch of their manifesto to attacking the NPP because it had little to say that was original and it has had very little planning to do in how to move Ghana forward in the last seven years in opposition, besides scheming on how acerbic they can be in spewing out insults and lies about the NPP.

According to him, after Prof. Mills had said in his foreword that the best grade for the NPP would be a failing grade, the NDC ended up pledging to continue most of our major policies with modifications, and in most cases irresponsible changes that will set our nation back for years.

The NPP chairman cited that, for instance, the National Health Insurance Scheme, in their promise to introduce a one-time premium, instead of the annual premium charges normally associated with insurance schemes, would endanger the NHIS. “Either the one-time premium would be so high that most Ghanaians cannot pay and we would return to the days of "cash-and-carry" or the premiums collected would leave the Scheme cash-strapped and lead to a collapse of the scheme. Whichever way, a vote for the NDC would endanger the NHIS.”

To him, the NDC now says that they will continue the NHIS that they voted against, thinking that returning to the "cash-and-carry' system as they previously threatened, amounted to timidity and insincerity.

NPP also contended that if a student did what the NDC just did with regards to their manifesto in a term or research paper, that student should be charged with plagiarism.

Accordingly, he said the NDC, without acknowledging it, has stolen the central ideas of the NPP manifesto and now naively wants the public to believe that these are original ideas.

'They saw 11.3 million Ghanaians sign up for the NHIS and decided it was political suicide to be against it. They witnessed the popularity of the Capitation Grant and decided it was impolitic to be against it,” he said.