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11.03.2009 General News

Brawl between reporters and DMG

By Ghanaian Observer
Brawl between reporters and DMG

The issue of reducing fuel prices "drastically" which came up during the 2008 electioneering campaign of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), on Monday caused a heated argument at the International Press Centre in Accra, when a group calling itself the Democratic Movement for Ghana (DMG) got to the Centre to launch the association.

The members, consisting of 250 people from all the minority parties in the country, argued that it was inadequate for the government to have reduced the price by only GH¢5p on every litre of petrol, adding that the NDC promised to reduce fuel prices drastical1y and that the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia, also at a party ral1y said the party will reduce the prices of fuel to GH¢2.

This, however, did not go down well with some journalists who argued that President John Evans Atta Mills, the then Presidential candidate of the NDC promised to reduce the prices but did not use the word 'drastic'.

Defending government further, reporters from the Daily Democratic, Financial Intelligence and Ghana Palaver newspapers as well as Radio Gold, said even if the NDC used 'drastic' in referring to how they were going to reduce fuel prices, 'drastic reduction' can also be the 5Gp reduction, stressing that "they did not state the percentage by which they were going to reduce" fuel prices.

Members of DMG continued to argue that it was improper on the part of the government to have delayed the reduction of fuel prices in the country.

According to them, the NDC promised Ghanaians to reduce petrol prices as soon as they are reduced on the international market and that though oil prices were reduced in the space of one and half weeks there was no corresponding reduction in the country.

DMG, which also has branches in Ashanti, Central and Western regions, was formed two months ago with the vision to make Ghana's democracy a healthy one, contribute to the sustainable democracy and ensure that all promises made by politicians and political parties are fulfilled.

The Spokesperson of the group, Manaf Ibrahim, said since the inauguration of the NDC government they have traveled across the country, meeting and talking with ordinary Ghanaians, various interest groups and members of political parties on their views on the current happenings in the country.

He pointed out that the harassment and humiliation suffered by the Managing Director of Barclays Bank, Ex-President Kufuor's son, NPP's running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and many other people by NDC thugs, all in the name of recovering state assets, is wrong and therefore must be condemned.

"This situation is wrong in the sense that it embarrasses all Ghanaians and erodes the international goodwill built over the years ... it is sad that the leadership of the NDC have not openly condemned these acts," he said.

Ibrahim also pointed out that the NDC further promised a lean government and public accountability, saying, "as it stands now the Mills administration has exceeded 75 ministers."

The transition team over the course of six weeks has spent a whooping sum of about GH¢30 million on sitting allowances and per diems of the many members, most of whom were of no significant benefit to the nation, he charged.

"The GH¢30 million spent was a woeful misappropriation of tax revenues ... we condemn this profligacy because the money could have been used to build 150km of motorable roads or 136 unit classroom blocks or three clinics to save the lack of those amenities," he said.

Supported by members of the group, they cal1ed for government to make public accounts of the transitional team for public scrutiny so as to bring wrong doers to book.

Members of DMG also cal1ed for the review of the constitution as the time al10wed for transition and formation of cabinet and replacement of old political appointees is inadequate.

"We entreat the executives to initiate the necessary constitutional reforms that will curtail future transition ... we therefore advocate for a two month transitional period between election and handover to enable smooth political transitions in the country," they appealed to the executive arms of government.