THE LARGEST opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has swiftly responded to the resurrection of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills' health issue, by no less a person than the nation's Chief Executive, President John Agyekum Kufuor, at a rally organized by the NPP in Accra, last Sunday.
The NDC stated that the NPP is trying very hard to dent the image of the NDC and its flag bearer, because they have realised that they are facing an uphill task to convince Ghanaians to extend their term of office. It is, therefore, not surprising that President Kufuor himself has now joined the fray to embark upon this smear campaign.
“The NPP has not been able to unearth any dirt on these distinguished Gentlemen (John Mills and John Mahama), in spite of all their best efforts, hence their desperate resort to smear tactics. We realize that the NPP is constrained by the fact that, though their Flag-bearer has been a politician for some years, the running mate is a political novice, who is yet to establish any political credibility and reputation of his own.”
In a statement signed by the party's Communication Director, Ms Hanna Tetteh, in reaction to President Kufuor's attack on Prof. Mills, the statement pointed out that the vice presidential running mate of the NPP was an unknown quantity.
“The fact is, until he was announced as the NPP flag bearer's running mate –he was politically unknown, and even in his own home region he has no political constituency.”
The Communications Director of the NDC said in view of the constant innuendos and baseless allegations on the health of Prof. Mills, it would be appropriate for Ghanaians to have information on the health status and fitness of all the Presidential aspirants.
“We are, therefore, suggesting that all the Flag bearers submit to thorough medical examinations and have the results of those examinations published for the attention of the good people of this country. We are of the view that this medical examination should include testing their HIV status, whether they have any form of Diabetes, Cancer, Hepatitis or any medical ailment that requires disease management on a permanent basis.”
According to the NDC, the party was quite confident that Professor Mills would have no problem with such a medical examination and would come out with a clean bill of health. The NDC requested from the NPP that their Presidential candidate, as well as the other flag bearers, would oblige Ghanaians to have a complete disclosure of their fitness and well-being, and ability to lead this country.
“We look forward to the response of the other Flag bearers on our suggestion. Until then we wish to assure all of those involved in the political contest that the NDC will continue to show Ghanaians that we care for them and have their welfare and progress at the centre of our policies and programs. We are committed to investing in people, investing in jobs, investing in the economy and maintaining a transparent and accountable government for a better Ghana. We look forward to making our commitments a reality for Ghanaians everywhere.”
Taking President Kufuor to task after his party professed that this year's campaign should be based on issues, but not personality attacks. Ms. Hanna Tetteh said, the NDC has, however, noted that in the face of an uphill task of managing the country, the NPP Presidential campaign was facing challenges in convincing the electorate to extend its term of office, it has, therefore, resorted to smear campaign tactics in order to try to give its campaign some momentum.
The party said what was even most unfortunate was these tactics being deployed by none other than our President, His Excellency J.A. Kufuor, saying “One would have thought that in the dying months of his term of office, he would be more concerned about his legacy and consolidate his reputation as an elder statesman. Unfortunately, it appears that this is not the case.”
To Ms. Tetteh, Ghanaians would recall that the NPP indicated at the beginning of the year that they wanted to wage an “issues based campaign”, but was quick to add that as the campaign of the NPP continues to struggle, and they have to commit more and more resources to bussing and renting crowds to turn up at their campaign venues, one can see their campaign rhetorics becoming more strident, erratic and contradictory, and the smear-fest seems to have started in earnest.
“We of the NDC believe that Ghanaians are intelligent and discerning enough to see through the spin and propaganda, and to focus on the real issues of which the men competing for the high office of President has the character as well as the competence to be trusted with the management of the affairs of this nation.,”
The NDC was of the view that after the NPP has been bedevilled with trials and tribulations, they desperately wanted to seek solace in non-existing health problems of Prof. Mills.
Responding briefly to the health issues of Prof. Mills, Ms. Tetteh averred that -”On the specific issue of our Flag-bearer, Professor John Evans Atta Mills's health, the NDC response is quite simple. Professor John Evans Atta Mills has no health issues at the present time. Earlier this year, he had surgery for cataract in his left eye, but other than that he has no health concerns.
She continued, “Perhaps the President spends so much time out of this country that he has not been able to keep up with the campaign of the NDC, and so perhaps we can take the opportunity to inform him that Professor Mills has campaigned extensively in the Western, Central and Greater Accra Regions. We would like to let the President know that Professor Mills will be going to the Ashanti Region at the end of this week after filing his nomination and if he wishes, he can meet him over there.”
According to the NDC, the fact of the matter was that the NDC was running a total campaign that involves its running mate Hon. John Mahama, the founder – Former President Rawlings, the National Executives, right down to its branch executives at the constituency levels, and all its party faithful who are committed and working in earnest to ensure the victory of the NDC in the December polls.
She contended that unlike the NPP that can rely on government officials at the Regional and District levels, in addition to its party executives to run its campaign, and has the benefit of unlimited use of state resources.
The NDC, she claimed, was using all of its cherished members to run this campaign for Election 2008, “and we are overwhelmed and humbled by the support that the people of Ghana have shown towards our party and our campaign. We assure all Ghanaians that if we are given their mandate to take over the management of the Government of this country, Professor Mills and his team will not let them down.”