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20.04.2009 Politics

Atta Mills under siege

By Daily Guide
President John Atta Mills President John Atta Mills
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President John Evans Atta Mills has, in what observers see as political acrobatics, eaten his own words, when he announced the withdrawal of six of his nominees for Municipal and District Chief Executives ahead of their endorsement or rejection by the respective assemblies.

Apparently yielding to pressure from certain quarters, the President reneged on a vow he made before senior media practitioners that he would not withdraw any of his nominees unless they misconduct themselves in office; but he removed the six just two days after that promise.

DAILY GUIDE can say, based upon reliable information, that another batch of six nominees has again been penciled for withdrawal by the President this week and more are expected to follow.

It is not clear what must have prompted this sudden turnaround, but sources at the seat of government have attributed the development to the anger being demonstrated by traditional leaders from nearly half of the country over the nominations, which were done without their inputs.

According to the paper's sources, the chiefs who are leading the agitations in their districts are peeved because of campaign promises made ahead of the December 7, 2008 general elections, to the effect that they would be consulted in all appointments the President would make.

President Mills last week told the media he had no intentions of prematurely dropping any of his nominees, and the same stance was trumpeted by his Spokesperson, Mahama Ayariga.

But less than 48 hours after those public pronouncements, he withdrew the nominations of six of the 143 District Chief Executives (DCEs) he named a week earlier.

They are Central Region: Agona West, Sussana Keelson-Aikins; Efutu, Alexander Fiifi Ghartey; Western Region: Jomoro, Stephen Blay; Ashanti Region: Afigya-Kwabre, Benedict Fosu Adjei; and Northern Region: Bunkpurugu, Abdallah Sibri Nanyuni; Karaga, Adam Mohammed Aminu.

Even though the withdrawals of the six have been announced, the President has not as yet named those to replace them, buttressing rumuors that more nominees would also be withdrawn.

The on-going cacophony, threats and reports of violence across the country within the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), following the announcement, was unprecedented.

Reliable information hinted that the President was angry at the kind of names that were announced when it came to his attention that some of the names were nichodamously inserted after he (Mills) had appended his signature to the list and travelled out of the country.

DAILY GUIDE is reliably informed that President Mills was so 'mad' that but for the advice of the security and intelligence apparatus, he was considering giving the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Joseph Yiele Chireh, the boot.

As a result of the disturbing situation, he had no option than to rectify the anomaly.

“What they did was just like a coup. They were all along waiting for the President to travel out of the country for the three-nation tour, and when the opportunity presented itself, they replaced the original list with that of their cronies,” the source lamented.

According to the source, a mafia group at the Castle took control after the vetting committee had finished its work.

The source noted that as part of the grand agenda of the mafia, the number of government appointees in some assemblies across the country had been bloated in order to get easy endorsement for their choices.

“I am seriously against civil disobedience and confronting authority, but I am tempted to agree with the demonstration of anger by the chiefs and party people at the grassroots”.

DAILY GUIDE gathered that the President wanted to penalize a number of people for it, including the sector minister, but held his fire after national security advised that a blanket overturn of the list could lead to more chaos.

It would be recalled that soon after the Office of the President named the nominees, a number of NDC activists and traditional leaders took to the streets to the extent that some party offices were reportedly vandalized.

What started as mere grumbling from Nsawam, Ellembelle, Nkwanta, Akwatia, Ashaiman, Adenta, through Upper Manya Krobo to Ledzokuku/Krowor sparked protests, petitions, threats and even violence almost nationwide, with chiefs leading the demonstration in some cases.

By Bennett Akuaku

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