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19.03.2009 General News

Minister Caught In Lobbying Web

By Daily Guide
Parliament of GhanaParliament of Ghana

ALLEGATIONS THAT the lobbying mechanism being adopted by certain gurus of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the selection of District, Municipal Chief Executives is shrouded in bribery and other corrupt practices are wide gaining public acceptance even within the ruling party.

Even though original reports hinted that the acceptance of goats, sheep, dogs, tubers of yam and huge sums of money was initially noticed in the northern part of the country, latest information reaching DAILY GUIDE indicates that strong lobbying is going on in the Eastern Region also.

Series of petitions from concerned residents in the Upper Manya Krobo District have pointed to Stephen Kwao Amoanor, the Member of Parliament (MP) of the constituency and Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, for allegedly twisting the arms of other contestants in order to pave way for one Frederick Abaitey Keni, who is his campaign secretary.

According to a group of people who identified themselves as concerned citizens of the constituency, because the Minister hails from the Asesewa zone, he had always used his office and influence in the party to elbow people from other zones out of the system.

They contended that the constituency had five zones, namely Asesewa, Sekesua, Otrokpe, Anyoboni and Akwatem Zuymonor, and lamented that Hon. Amuanor had always prevented zonal balance when it comes to party positions.

A petition dated March 4 and presented to the Vetting Committee stressed, “Since the inception of the Fourth Republic, all NDC MPs have been from the Asesewa town. Currently, all the party's executive members are from Asesewa, except the constituency chairman, who hails from Otrokpe”.

They listed the positions from Asesewa as MP, Cabinet Minister, 1st Vice Chairman, 2nd Vice Chairman, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Organizer, Youth Organizer, Women Organiser, Deputy Organizer, Treasurer, Propaganda Secretary and Financial Secretary, and wondered whether the other four remaining zones do not deserve a share in the distribution of the national cake.

In a related development, another group of residents have written to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) accusing the Minister's secretary of being a desperate criminal.

A petition dated March 10, 2009 said residents would rise up should the vetting committee give the nod to the wrong person.

The residents said Keni is embedded in so many criminal activities that it would be in the party's interest to investigate him before he is given any appointment, stressing that they would be compelled to go to court if their patience is overstretched.

“We are hereby stating that, should the party ignore our concerns and go ahead to nominate him for election, we risk exposing the party to series of legal actions that will be embarked upon by litigants.

“Though we don't intend to give the government and district any negative publicity, we will not relent in our efforts to ensure that the right people get the nod as leaders to champion the developmental agenda of our district,” they cautioned.

Meanwhile, all efforts to contact Hon. Amoanor have proved futile as his phones were reportedly switched off. This paper however has in its possession a letter, supposedly written by a group of NDC activists but which has serious criminal implications because some of the signatories have distanced themselves from it.

The letter, dated February23, 2009 to the Chief of Staff, has been submitted through Hon. Amoanor.

By Bennett Akuaku