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09.10.2003 General News

Poaching is detrimental to multi-party democracy - PNC

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Accra, Oct. 9, GNA - The People's National Convention (PNC) on Thursday condemned political strategy of poaching key members of the minority parties ostensible to weaken their organisational capabilities. "These are dangerous dent to growth of multi-party democracy and endorsement of corruption by political parties, who are supposed to champion the crusade against corruption and indiscipline in the country," Dr Edward Mahama, PNC Leader told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra.

He noted the offering of huge sums of money, appointments, and other inducement packages to some key members of other political parties to either defect or silence them to be counter productive and this must be condemned by all democratic forces.

Citing the political antagonism between the PNC and the ruling New Patriotic Party that preceded the Bimbilla bye-elections in 2002, Dr Mahama said such development undermine democracy, transparency and sincerity.

He said democratic governance must be build upon the pillars of sincerity, trust, free and fairness to all opponents, and above all unwavering character.

The PNC Leader said political poaching undermines democracy and breads corruption and stressed that a PNC government would strengthen the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to fight such practices.

Additionally, he said, a PNC government would fight corruption by encouraging transparency in government, strengthen civic education and adopt punitive measures to discourage the practice.

Dr Mahama emphasised that to avoid the Bimbilla episode during the 2004 electioneering campaign the party have adopted some stringent measures to bind its potential parliamentary candidates. He said the party would outdoor the measures at its November 14, 2003 National Delegate's Congress.

The Congress, he said would elect a Presidential Candidate and other national executives of the party as well as amend portions of the party's constitution, endorse a memorandum of understanding for the Grand Coalition, elect core national executives for the Elections 2004.

On the party's policy direction, Dr Mahama said his party would activate abandoned silos, promote animal husbandry, food preservation, tourism and small-scale industries to give employment to the people. The provision of subsidies on farming and fishing inputs to significantly reduce the level of poverty in the country would also be a priority area for PNC Government.

He said farmers and fishermen formed about 60 per cent of the workforce adding, "this workforce bears the brunt of bad government policies such as removal of subsidies, increases in petroleum prices with the corresponding increase in transportation costs and higher tariffs on water and electricity".

Dr Mahama said the PNC would pursue a divestiture programme that would build national self-reliance in the context of an integrated African economy.

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