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19.03.2009 NPP News

NPP cautions President Mills No diversion tactics

By The Statesman

President John Evans Atta Mills' failure to use an opportunity provided him by the cream of the nation's media to unite the nation and give hope to the electorate has drawn the ire of the opposition New Patriotic Party.

Yesterday in Accra, Kwaku Kwarteng, Communications Director of the NPP, told the President in plain language to focus on how he intends to fulfill the electoral promises the ruling National Democratic Congress made to the electorate during the electioneering campaign for December 2008 general elections, rather than throwing wild blows that are intended to make him look tough.

Kwaku Kwarteng, was speaking to The Statesman in reaction to the visit of the leadership of the Ghana Journalists Association to the Castle on Tuesday, during which the President was at pains to stress that his seeming calm in the face of growing feelings of insecurity generated by the actions of NDC activist should not be seen as a weakness on his part.

According to the NPP Communications Director, what should concern theNational Democratic Congress and the President is the Government and party's failure to begin initiating measures and policies aimed at fulfilling the many promises made to the electorate, none of which has so far has been fulfilled.

He lamented that almost 100 days into the tenure of JEA Mills, his promise to drastically reduce petroleum prices, 40% allocation of appointment to women, substantial increment in the Capitation Grant, one-time payment of premium for the National Health Insurance Scheme, among others, were yet to see any concrete signs of implementation.

Mills, he observed, was only creating diversions and avoiding the real issues facing him as President and which he knew ordinary Ghanaians were getting angry and impatient about, including rising costs of doing business, the galloping fall in the value of the cedi and escalating food prices.

He pointed out that the Minority in Parliament was right in raising the issue about perceived general insecurity in the country due to the fact that the NDC government has not done enough to arrest perpetrators of violent attacks on NPP supporters, particularly in Tamale and Bawku.

He said the fact that the NDC in opposition accused the NPP government of the same negligence ought to be the very reason why the NDC and President Mills ought to refrain from playing the ostrich.

President Mills used the occasion to tell the world that he remained the only sitting President of the country, insinuating that the spontaneous welcome offered the NPP's Presidential candidate in the last elections, Nana Akufo-Addo, when he arrived in the country last Sunday, posed a security and political threat to his office and position as President and leader of the NDC - even though as Presidential candidate in opposition, he had that same honour of party supporters and activists trooping to the Airport to welcome him home after a medical trip to South Africa.

Mills's implicit and uncanny reference to the Akufo-Addo welcome by the NPP has since drawn mixed reactions from right-thinking Ghanaians and lovers of democracy, as was his remark that Ghana had only one President, which is His Excellency Mr. JEA Mills.

Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, who commented on the President's statement, in a PR that refused to wash, had explained that his boss was perhaps also addressing some elements within his own NDC party, some of whom seem to have had the penchant to undermine his authority since the inception of this administration.

Continuing, the NPP Communications Director contended that the President's statement was unnecessary in the sense that it was legitimate for people to ask questions and raise issues of national concern particularly on security.

"I will advise the President to deliver and focus on his promises and then he would have a peaceful tenure and governance,' he admonished.

He said governance was a difficult task and therefore, would advise the President to exercise restraint and to take the criticisms in stride as he seeks to rule the nation.

Mr Kwarteng maintained that the NPP has refrained from strongly criticising the new NDC government because the main opposition party recognises the fact the administration was still young.

He was, however, worried that that same young administration could afford the luxury of wasting time ignoring issues such as he had referred to.