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16.02.2005 NPP News

NPP Holds Up Appiah Ofori As a Hero

By Ghanaian Chronicle

THE ANTI-Corruption crusader and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa Constituency in the Central Region, Hon. Appiah Ofori, has been lauded for his bold and decisive decision to champion the cause of anti-corruption to the extent of petitioning the Appointments Committee against his own party member.

Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle on the party's position on the outspoken MP, the National Youth Treasurer of the NPP, John Boadu said the fact that the MP was able to speak his mind without any intimidation or harassment from the party and the fact that his members in parliament are not up in arms with him reveals the democratic credentials of the party.

The only democratic party He proclaimed, "This shows that the NPP is the only democratic party in this country. After going at this length on the matter, you don't see the party calling him to order. You don't see the party intimidating him, let alone he being intimidated by his own colleagues in Parliament. If you want to build democracy, we want people like this to build it. This alone indicates that when we say the NPP is the only democratic party in this country, it is the truth! It shows the democratic credentials of the NPP."

Asked whether the MP is a threat to the NPP or not, he retorted, "Is he a threat to democracy; far from that. He is a threat to the development of this country.

When did Appiah Ofori realize these accusations? He is not a threat to this party at all." On minority walk-out On the minority National Democratic Congress, NDC's walk-out from parliament last Thursday, Mr. Boadu, stated that as far as the party was concerned, it was one of the defeatist strategies of the NDC to win sympathy from the public. "Their conduct begs the question and I am not guessing for a second, that they were only playing mischief with the sub-committee's report which led to the secret balloting."

Capricious use of majority power Speaking further he said, "I agree that capricious use of the majority power can lead to dictatorship, and the passage of wrong laws. It must also be pointed out that the majority has the mandate to rule, and as a result issues that affect the majority should not be allowed to override an important exercise."

He said it was unfortunate for the minority to stage a walkout from the voting system, which was nothing new but similar to what existed even in the days of the NDC.

On the controversies surrounding the approval of some ministers, Mr. Boadu was of the view that it was a mistake on the part of the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Hon. Sheikh I.C. Quaye, to present the Curriculum Vitae (CV) to suggest that he was a banker, which generated a heated debate.

He dismissed the moral issues raised against Dr. Richard Anane, the Minister for Roads and Transport, and commended the sub-committee for the work done, saying that if the public disagrees with the report the onus lies on the one who alleges to prove otherwise.

The Minority on Thursday, last week registered its first walkout in the first session of the fourth parliament of the Fourth Republic, over the method of voting for the confirmation or otherwise of Dr. Richard Winfred Anane, Minister for Roads and Transport, The Central Regional Minister, Hon. Isaac Edumadze and Hon. I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional minister, after the ruling by the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Ebenezer Begyina-Sekyi Hughes, for secret balloting.

In the midst of the protest, the majority went ahead, voted and approved all remaining three of the President's nominees. Hon. Edumadze polled 116 votes out of 120 members with 3 against, while Hon. Richard Anane and Hon. Sheikh I.C. Quaye each polled 119 votes. There was one invalid vote in all cases.

According to the minority, the decision by the Speaker to opt for an open ballot instead of a secret ballot was a travesty of justice. The three nominees were not approved following the first round of vetting due to various charges that hung around their necks. This led to a sub-committee of the Appointments' Committee being constituted to further investigate the charges. The manner of the secret balloting that led to the approval of the three was what had provoked the walkout by the minority.

I feel vindicated When contacted for his reaction Hon. Appiah Ofori said he embarked on the crusade against Mr. Isaac Edumadze, in order to save the country and the party.

"I see myself as an asset to the nation, because if we allowed corruption to prevail in this country, we cannot bring about development," the crusading MP said, adding, "I feel vindicated. "

On the question regarding why he waited till he brought the allegations after the Central Regional Minister's nomination, he revealed that he did not know of the allegations until after the President's nomination.

He said when he first heard of the allegations against the minister, he investigated them and established that they were true, before going ahead to petition the Appointments Committee.

"The problem of these boys standing by the roadside can't be stopped, if people continued to steal public money," the MP emphasized. According to the MP, his stand was to protect the interest of the party, as happened in 1996 when Ms Rosemary Ekwam, a party firebrand,, took then presidential aspirant of the NPP, Kwame Pianim, to court to prevent a possible action against him by the NDC after he had had the party's nod as a presidential candidate, which would have seen him disqualified.

Hon. Appiah Ofori continued that he first wrote to the Appointments Committee, so the allegations could not be used against the party. Responding to why he did not alert the President so he could withdraw the nomination of Edumadze, Appiah Ofori said once nominations had been submitted to the Appointments Committee, they could not be withdrawn.

On whether he had got a response to his petition to the President, the crusading MP said he had not, but added that the President had been travelling for sometime now, and that could explain why.

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