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17.03.2009 Politics

Democratic group condemns Mills...For failing to bring his men to book

By Issah Alhassan, Kumasi - Ghanaian Chronicle

A PRESSURE GROUP, called Democratic Movement for Ghana (DMG), has taken a swipe at the President, His Excellency, John Evans Atta Mills for failing to openly come out to condemn the consistent attacks on opposition members by the National Democratic Congress.

The group, which comprises supporters of the various opposition parties including the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) have further criticized the government for failing to live up to its promise of drastically reducing petroleum prices against the backdrop of reduction of crude oil prices on the World market.

Speaking at a press conference organized over the weekend, the National Chairman of the Movement, Abu Ramadan said the President had failed to exhibit leadership capabilities for not calling supporters of the ruling party to order, and had resorted to issuing statements of apologies, which according to him, had done little to curtail the situation.

According to the Movement, the government has criminalized the right for individuals to own property in the country as enshrined in the constitution, by continuously seizing properties of individuals in the name of recovery of state assets. The group cited the seizure of vehicles belonging to personalities like the NPP flag bearer, Nana Akufo Addo, the son of the ex-President, Chief Kufuor and the MD of Barclays Bank by thugs of the NDC, and the arrest of former running mate of the NPP, Dr. Muhammadu Bawumia, as some of the few acts of the government, which casts a serious slur on the democratic credentials of the country. The Movement has further lashed out at the President Mills'-led government's transition for lavish spending and misappropriation of state funds.

According to the Movement, information available to it indicates that the 92-member transitional team of the NDC government had spent GH¢30 million on sitting allowances and per diem over the six week period of operation, an amount which according to them, would have been enough for the construction of 150 km motorable roads, or built 136 unit classroom blocks, or better still 3 clinics to save the lives of people in the rural areas. “We believe that this extravagant spending of the NDC defeats its own claim to reduce waste and cut down on government's expenditure.” the group emphasized.

The Chairman of the movement argued that the NDC deliberately set up a large number of transitional teams with the view of creating avenues for members of the party to squander state funds, adding that the NPP in 2001 set up a slim 32-member transitional team which effectively carried out the same job.

The DMG has also appealed to the government to initiate steps towards a constitutional review in order to extend the transitional period from the current one month to two months, between election and handover, to ensure smooth political change in the country.

Meanwhile, supporters of the opposition New Patriotic Party in Kumasi have corroborated the position of the DMG, and called on Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo- Addo, the NPP flagbearer for the 2008 elections to tackle the government on the incessant attacks of supporters of the NPP by operatives of the ruling party.

Describing the return of Nana Addo to Ghana as timely and a step in the right direction, the supporters said they would want the flag bearer to quickly swing into action by leading a high-powered delegation of party executives to engage the government on recent political developments in the country, which have seen a number of NPP supporters being harassed and assaulted by operatives of the ruling party.

Nana Akufo Addo last Sunday cut short his planned six month tour of Europe and returned to Ghana, as a result of recent happenings in the country, which obviously have not augured well for supporters of the party across the country. A lot of political developments, including the alleged harassment of NPP supporters across the country, the manhandling of personalities perceived to be sympathizers of the opposition party by operatives of the NDC government and the gradual decline of the nation's economy have dominated the headlines in the absence of the NPP flag bearer. Some supporters of the party in the Ashanti Regional capital of Kumasi, and the stronghold of the party, are expecting Nana Addo to engage the government and find lasting solutions to the end the maltreatment being meted out to them across the country.