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24.08.2004 General News

Kufour accused of snubbing chiefs and people of Ada

By Public Agenda
Kufour accused of snubbing chiefs and people of Ada
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... "Mr. War Against Indiscipline" arrives 3 hours late ... President J.A.Kufour is reported to have “swerved” the chiefs and people of Ada when he failed on August 14, to attend the durbar, which climaxed their annual Asafotufiam festival. The Vice President Aliu Mahama who deputized for the president, was said to have arrived 3 hours late for the event. The Asafotufiam festival which is celebrated every first weekend of the month of August was this year postponed to the second week at the instance of President Kufour to allow him attend the Ga Homowo festival on August 7, which concided with the Asafotu. Elaborate preparations had been made in anticipation of the President's attendance, including the printing of brochures outlining the programme, the hoisting of NPP flags and sale of NPP paraphernalia wherever space permitted. The week preceding the festival also saw a massive security build-up in the districts. BNI officers checked into hotels, invaded and infiltrated every stage of customary rites ready to quash any dissent because Ada is perceived as an NDC stronghold. Added to these, officials of the utility services like GWCL and the ECG worked around the clock to restore water and electricity, which had seen intermittent disruptions during the week. The Joy FM news at 6am on that Saturday, which announced that, President Kufour was instead of honoring his promise, beginning a tour of the Western Region, therefore gave the chiefs and people of Ada a rude jolt. Indeed the news is said to have broken the hearts of many, especially supporters of the NPP who had hoped, the President as has become vogue, would introduce their candidate for the 2004 parliamentary elections, Mr. Kabutey Ceasar at the function. As the disappointment became the talk of the town, conclusions were drawn among sections of the Ada community, that President Kufour has developed a phobia for visiting Ada, in view of the backlash such visits cause on the body politic. His first visit or “stop-over” came after the infamous trip to honour President Eyadema's invitation to celebrate a coup anniversary. The storm, which followed that visit, was one that would rather be forgotten by the President. Secondly, it was on the same “stop over” that it was alleged 'brown envelopes' were distributed to some senior journalists at a reception hosted by Mr. Sam Jonah, and intended to compromise sections of the media on their political reportage. President Kufuor's last visit to Ada brought greater controversy. He tried playing some politics while commissioning the ultra-modern district hospital. The NDC supporters at the function refused to let him, shouting that the NDC under Rawlings finished the project before the NPP came to power. The chaos, which followed, led to the arrest and detention of some youth in the district. It was also during that same visit that President Kufuor sparked off another controversy by announcing that the government was going to use 2 1/2% of workers contributions to the SSNIT fund to set up the National Health Insurance scheme. That pronouncement set actuarists, economists, political parties, the TUC and workers on a collision course with government. The tension indeed is still simmering. The people of Ada have also been waiting patiently for President Kufuor to deliver on his Special Initiative on Salt, which is gradually become a forgotten pledge. Recent attempts to lure a section of the chiefs to sign some documents on the Songhor salt were stiffly resisted by the people. This, some observers believe might have caused the President to renege on his promise to grace this year's Asafotufiam festival.