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General News | Nov 1, 2004

Tony Aidoo’s Shame

Accra Mail

…Insults University Students …Tries To Play Tribal Politics And …Gets Hooted Out Of KNUST

Nov. 1, Accra Mail -- Some politicians always rub people up the wrong way. They mix up pugnacity with plain speaking and mistake arrogance for knowledge. In an election year, such people are often at their worst, losing marks for the cause they claim to profess.

Dr. Tony Aidoo of the NDC may be admired by those in his party who usually thrust him forward to argue the party's positions on issues, but his pugnacity and arrogance end up losing him the argument altogether. And that's what happened to him at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) last week. During the 49th Student Representative Council (SRC) anniversary week, the students organized a forum for political parties to present their political messages to the student body. All political parties were invited but only the NPP and NDC honoured the invitation.

The NPP took the invitation seriously enough to dispatch one of the most senior members of the Kufuor Cabinet to attend Mr Osafo Maafo, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning represented the NPP. The NDC on the other hand sent Dr. Tony Aidoo to represent the party. The Great Hall of the university was packed to capacity. The students were obviously very keen to listen to their country's political leaders in this election year.

Mr Osafo Marfo spoke first and used the opportunity explain his party's position on a number of issues. He presented a detailed overview of the state of the nation when the NPP took over the country's administration in 2001. He made reference to the almost collapsed economy, institutional decay, poor governance, rundown infrastructure and other problems they had to grapple with immediately on the assumption of office.

He gave a perspective of policy measures taken by the NPP to redress the decline in the economy as a result of which only four years on, there were marked improvements in many sectors of the economy and overall national well-being. Some of the improvements he cited included increase in transparency, public accountability and enhanced individual freedoms. At the end of his presentation, he had been able to present a mini state of the nation address to the students Ghana's future leaders.

It was now the turn of Dr. Aidoo to present the NDC's assessment and plans. He started off by trying to rubbish Osafo Marfo's presentation, which in politics, should be accepted, but he quickly descended into the gutter of bare knuckled political “but butu”. He went straight for the jugular and started calling NPP names by playing the ethnic card.

He called the NPP and Ashanti and ethnocentric party, which brought boos of disapproval from the students. They had assembled to hear dispassionate dissertations on their country's future not the pettiness of tribalism. They booed and booed and had to be restrained by their leaders. After they had calmed down, the student “allowed” him to resume his presentation.

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