-Promises to give CHRAJ, SFO teeth - But office of accountability stays Accra, Nov. 9, Chronicle -- President John Agyekum Kufuor has reiterated that if voted into power, he would fight corruption with clenched teeth by empowering accountability agencies like the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to sharpen their teeth against corruption.
According to the President, the fight against corruption would be strengthened through the effective implementation of the Public Procurement, Internal Audit Agency and Financial Administration Acts.
But even as the government takes credit for the new Public Procurement Act, experts such Prof. Gyimah Boadi, Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD) have described it as more of a 'donor driven' Act.
Speaking at the launch of the New Patriotic Party's manifesto in Accra yesterday, Mr. Kufuor re-affirmed that he would maintain the Office of Accountability at the Presidency as an in-house self correction mechanism to ensure internal discipline.
The Manifesto was titled “Positive Change Chapter Two” “As part of the on-going fight against corruption, the Office of Accountability within the Presidency, designed and functioning as an effective in-house self correcting machinery will be maintained.”
But some international agencies, including certain European Universities, have expressed disgust at the office of accountability and questioned the ability of some key staff to tackle corruption in government.
The President who is also seeking re-election, stated that his government would keep respecting the rights and responsibilities of all citizens, regardless of age, gender, tribal or religious affiliations.
“I am asking you to trust us again and give us your mandate. Judge us by our performance and vote us back into government to implement Positive Change Chapter Two.
We are committed to make our great nation, even greater,” he said.
President Kufuor, who received various accolades from the supporters of the party, pointed out that some promises of the NPP during the last election had been fulfilled while others were on-going.
“All these achievements have been recorded within a congenial atmosphere of freedom of expression and association, and of political and religious tolerance. Ghana is also at peace with its neighbors in the sub-region and generally has good international relations with the rest of the world,” he said.
Mr. Kufuor who was flanked by a host of NPP stalwarts and other key government functionaries and his wife said, “You will agree with me that the logical flow from successful Chapter one, to chapter two, which is to accelerate economic growth, is dependent on the good people of Ghana renewing the mandate of the NPP government.”
He continued, “It is to justify this appeal for renewal that the NPP government has taken pains to present this outline of the way forward, or a road map, for the next term of office which God willing and with your support, begins in January 2005.”
Speaking further, President Kufuor disclosed three-pronged priority areas of Positive Change Chapter Two, in addition to the five priorities, which he said remained central and relevant to the new manifesto.
The President said his five main priority areas included a vigorous infrastructure development, modernized agriculture, rural development, enhancement of social services, improved education and health-care delivery, good governance and private sector development.
He noted that he had included Human Resources Development, Private Sector Development and the continued adherence to the tenets of good governance in the party's new manifesto.
This arrangement, he said, was calculated to direct the efforts of all stakeholders to the over-riding importance of accelerated economic growth and its resultant wealth creation.
“The sense of shared vision and common purpose, which should result in a general perception of our nation as Ghana Incorporated, will play the role of locomotive when well-managed, to pull the general development of our national society forward,” he said.
“The challenge now is for the government, in the tried and tested fashion of the south-East Asian Tigers, to launch this concept of Ghana Incorporated, to fuel and efficiently co-ordinate the productive efforts of all stakeholders within the economy for the attainment of the objective of accelerated growth.”
Mr. Kufuor continued that his aim was to achieve an economic lift-off, and propel Ghana into a middle income bracket of nations within the next decade.
In order to achieve this, he said, the economy must exceed 8% growth per year on a sustained basis, which would translate into per capital income of US$1,000 by year 2012 and would also assure the nation of an average generation of 300,000 new jobs.
Touching more importantly on the manifesto, President Kufuor said it was meant to transform decades of economic instability, and authoritarian rule into a new period of economic stability and genuine constitutional governance for the people of the nation.
He added that the Positive Change Chapter Two was also meant for laying a solid foundation and providing an enabling atmosphere to undo the harm of the seemingly irreversible economic stagnation and social despondency.
He stressed that, “This, in our estimation, has always been to engender a new spirit of hope, energize Ghanaians to work productively for themselves and promote prosperity for the nation.”
Throwing more light on the significance of the manifesto, Mr. Kufuor said, “In sum, Positive Change was never meant to be a one-off event, but rather a process to render Ghana into a caring society made up of prosperous, healthy, disciplined and enlightened citizens.”
He concluded that since assumption of office, the NPP government had pursued the agenda for Positive Change in a systematic and determined manner, adding that they (NPP) had worked with a resolve to arrest and reverse the serious decline and dejection of the economy they had inherited from the previous government.