President J.A. Kufuor has advised the electorate not to vote 'skirt and blouse' in the December elections.
President Kufuor said it was important for the electorate to understand the dynamics of politics, which made it imperative for an executive to obtain a majority in Parliament to facilitate the execution of its policies and programmes, as well as the governance of the country.
President Kufuor, who gave the advice at a durbar of the chiefs and people of Bekwai at the weekend as part of his six-day tour of the Ashanti Region, therefore, called on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters and sympathisers as well as all Ghanaians, to vote massively for him, as President, and NPP candidates as Members of Parliament.
Voting 'skirt and blouse' is an emerging phenomenon in Ghanaian politics where a voter votes for a presidential candidate of a particular party but voting against the parliamentary candidate of that party in an election. The President addressed similar durbars at Nyinahin, Nkawie, Foase, Manso Nkwanta and Kuntanase.
The visit was intended to enable the President to inspect development projects in the region and also introduce himself as the NPP's presidential candidate in the December elections. At Nyinahin, President Kufuor highlighted some of the achievements of his government and asked the people to take into consideration the record of the NPP administration and vote accordingly.
He said the government's decision to purchase VALCO and the subsequent approval of the step by Parliament were refreshing, since an integrated aluminium company which would be a possible outcome of the VALCO sale transaction, would engender development in areas such as Nyinahin, noted for bauxite deposits.
President Kufuor underscored the policy of the government not to establish state farms, state factories or run VALCO as a state entity, as used to be the case in some past administrations. Rather, he explained that under the NPP administration, the state would encourage private businessmen and women and support them to take over state enterprises as either purely private businesses or as joint ventureships with the government.
At Nkawie, Nana Twum Barima Appau III, the Nkawiehene, commended the government for delivering on its promise of Positive Change. He said the government had succeeded in managing the economy so well that the cedi had stabilised, the country's foreign exchange reserves had increased and many projects, such as the construction of health facilities, schools and roads, had been initiated or completed.
He, however, appealed to the government to direct its attention to the development and utilisation of the National Agricultural Show Centre in Nkawie and also upgrade the newly established health centre in the town. President Kufuor recalled his political life, which, he said, began in Atwima Nwabiagya Constituency where he was voted to become a member of the Constituent Assembly in 1968 and the Member of Parliament in 1969.
He said throughout his political life, the people of Atwima had consistently been supportive of the attainment of his political objectives and expressed the hope that they would vote massively for him as President and for the NPP in the December elections. Reacting to the request by the chief, President Kufuor said the government would focus its attention on the development and utilisation of the agricultural show centre.
He reiterated his government's commitment to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in December and advised the chiefs and the people to co-operate with the government towards the achievement of that objective. At Foase, Nana Kwaku Tufuor, the Foasehene, appealed to the government to create a separate district for the Atwima area of the Atwima-Kwanwoma District.
He further appealed to the government to establish a boys' school for the people in the area, since the Atwimaman Senior Secondary School, the only secondary in the area, had now been turned into a girls' senior secondary science school by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
He commended the government for the construction of the Ohwimase-Nwineso No 1 Road and appealed to the President to ensure that the work was extended to Nwineso No 2 and Nwineso No 3. Responding, President Kufuor said the government would give attention to the problems presented by the chief and asked the people to exercise patience since efforts were being made to tackle them.
At Kuntanase, President Kufuor explained the rationale behind the government's decision to adopt the HIPC initiative and the benefits the country had derived from the initiative so far.