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24.08.2004 General News

NDC calls for investigation into mercenary story

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Accra, Aug. 24, GNA - The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Tuesday called on Parliament to as a matter of urgency set up an independent, non-partisan committee to ascertain the origin and veracity of a story published by "The Analyst", a Liberian newspaper alleging that a political party was recruiting Liberian mercenaries to invade Ghana.
Dr Nii Joseph Aryeh, General Secretary of NDC, at a press conference in Accra, said given the circumstances surrounding the publication and the information already in the public domain, it would require only a few weeks for a Parliamentary Committee, when established to conclude an investigation and present its report.
He said a "Parliamentary investigation would lay to rest any feelings of suspicion and settle any disquiet that may lodge in the minds of the citizens".
Dr Aryeh said, even though, the story was condemned by the Ghanaian media as unprofessional, that was not enough, adding, "we recognise that the story has created public anxiety and it is in the national interest to get to the bottom of the matter".
He said under New Patriotic Party Government reports of such alleged recruitment of mercenaries for purposes inimical to the health of Ghana's democracy had persisted and proliferated.
He said the circumstances surrounding the publication, therefore, presented a unique opportunity for the nation to address the issue succinctly.
Dr Aryeh said the NDC last week issued a press statement in response to stories concerning an alleged plot to destabilise the country before and during the run-up to Election 2004.
He expressed disgust at what he described as attempts to draw the Party into an alleged plot to recruit Liberian mercenaries as well as the fixation of the NPP government with alarmist reports about coups, imaginary attacks and other destabilisation scenarios.
He said the latest reports on the visit of Former President Jerry John Rawlings to Lome last week and the slant given to it appeared to fit perfectly into the pattern.
Dr Aryeh said, "it was the contention of the NDC that the authors or progenitors of this genre intended to achieve several self-serving purposes, to justify the importation of arms and weaponry reported to be in the possession of unauthorised groups and individuals loyal only to the ruling party".
It was also an attempt to undermine the credibility of the NDC as a bona fide political Party irrevocably committed to the progress of democracy in the country and to lay the foundation for any future unjustified attacks on any member of the NDC or the party as a whole. He said should the matter turn out to be true that any Party or individuals intended to carry out such a plot; the resultant destabilisation of the economy and social existence would be devastating.
He said it was alarming to note that despite the seriousness of the allegations contained in the story, the Editor of the said newspaper had not been prevailed upon to identify the source of the advertiser's announcement.
Mr Kwamena Ahwoi, a leading NDC Member, in an answer to a question said somebody was misinforming Ghanaians and the NDC was out to sensitising the public with the support of the media on all issues.

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