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06.01.2005 Politics

Independent Candidate Denies Veep’s Involvement In Campaign

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Mr Abubabar Jibreel Ustarz, a defeated independent parliamentary candidate for Bawku Central, has denied the involvement of the Vice-President,Alhaji Aliu Mahama, in his campaign to win the seat in the December general election.

“The Vice-President never sponsored my campaign, either directly or indirectly to enhance my political fortunes,” he said.Mr Ustarz said this yesterday at a press conference in reaction to the allegations made by the Member of Parliament for the area, Madam Hawa Yakubu.

He noted that Madam Yakubu should blame herself for her defeat. This is because “there was a peaceful but massive demonstration in Bawku against her decision to stand in Bawku Central.”“She did not heed and said she could manage the situation if she gathered enough money and came to the area. She thought she could win the seat by merely dishing out sewing machines, wax prints, motorbikes,mobile phones, grinding mills, television sets, cash, among other things,” he alleged.

Occasionally cheered on by some of his supporters, Mr Ustarz also alleged that the good people of Bawku had stood solidly behind the outgoing MP in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections. However, she never reached out to the people to advance their political agenda.

“The most unforgivable political blunder committed by Madam Yakubu was the irresponsible and heartless way and manner she handled the Bawku political crisis.Her blatant refusal to resettle the victims of the 2000 crisis that erupted after the elections and to sympathise with the families of more than 300 people who lost their lives as tradition demands was still very fresh in the minds of the people of Bawku,” he stated.

On the alleged assassination attempt on her, Mr Ustarz challenged her to confirm or deny whether the bullet that hit the soldier,“a long distance away from Hawa, came from an assassin's gun or it was the result of a ricochet of warning shots fired into the ground at the Winamzua School polling station and whether the wounded soldier protested to that effect to the hearing of the people present”.

He dismissed claims that Madam Yakubu was harassed and intimidated, adding that from the day of the electioneering to the very final hour of the elections, she was always under heavy and powerful military-cum-police guard.

Mr Ustarz alleged that Madam Yakubu had rather used the security agencies to her advantage because there had been several instances when his supporters had become scared due to the heavy presence of police and military personnel on Hawa's campaign trail.

“These elections had been the most violent-free in Bawku's political history. Notwithstanding this, there were reported isolated and minor skirmishes that are very typical of electioneering,” he stated.

Claiming that he was a member of the Busia/Danquah tradition from birth, Mr Ustarz, also known as Baba Yara, said his decision to stand as an independent candidate was supported by all peace-loving people, especially his supporters, who wanted to see peaceful elections.

He also blamed the executive of the NPP for his decision, since there was no primary in his constituency, saying the outgoing MP employed her own schemes and machinations through the local and national executives of the party to get him disqualified without any apparent reason.

He called on the top executive of the party to reconsider its decision to dismiss those who stood as independent candidates, since that would not augur well for the NPP.

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