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12.08.2005 General News

Mills Bemoans Nation's Current State

Ghanaian Chronicle

The former Vice President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, has urged President John Agyekum Kufuor, to continue giving credit to his predecessor.

"I hope President Kufuor continues along this path of recognizing the achievements of his predecessors, because it will help break the vicious cycle of fault-finding, vendetta and recrimination which is holding back the clock of national progress."

This comment came in the wake of President Kufuor's acknowledgment of a $15-million Kuwait fund facility, which was sourced by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for the national electrification project.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Prof. Mills, also the presidential candidate of the NDC in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, expressed concern about recent developments in the country, bordering on the presidency.

Mills said it was only a disloyal and unpatriotic Ghanaian who would indicate that he or she was not concerned at "the way the Presidency of our country is being exposed to all manner of rumour and innuendo, and the personality of the President vilified."

He continued that, "Even though President Kufuor now appears to have a problem with the word 'perception', the truth is that there is a perception that the president is afraid of Ms. Yazji's evidence and is therefore doing all he can to prevent her coming down to Ghana, which perception is now very pervasive, and for very good reasons too."

He expressed also, dismay at the inability of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO's) attempt to pre-empt any investigation by declaring that there was no public interest in the matter (of hotel building acquisition) to warrant investigation.

Prof. Mills contended that it was unfortunate that a member of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) was promoted and appointed deputy chairman in the middle of investigations into the president's conduct into the hotel affair. That, he said was reminiscent of the appointment of the late Justice D.K Afreh to the Supreme Court.

Further, Prof. Mills said, following the NDC's criticism of the CHRAJ's composition, "the substantive Chairman of the Commission, on duty outside the country for the past two years with the International War Crimes Commission for Rwanda, was brought back to parade the corridors of the CHRAJ to create the impression that he was still a functioning member of the Commission."

Delving into the pros and cons of the positions of the CHRAJ, SFO and Parliament, he said, "The general impression is one of an unwillingness, nay, even a fear, to have the Hotel transaction investigated, or to manipulate the investigation processes, or to cover up the truth," adding that, "What President Kufuor must realize is that the whole matter was brought into the public domain by the ill-advised Press Release of May 12, 2005, by Chief John Addo Kufuor, his son, in which the son provided partial information, only to his involvement in the acquisition of the hotel."

Continuing, he averred that, "It was then subsequently sustained by clear untruths such as the one on the President's alleged custom and tradition of inheritance and succession and once Ms. Yazji joined the fray, by the equally ill-advised attacks by spokespersons of the government on the person of Ms. Yazji."

The former vice president, spoke also on the economy, education, health and democratic agenda, pointing out that despite the very encouraging picture of the economy painted by the government and its officials, coupled with apparent approbation by the international community of the country's economic performance, the truth was that there was still "Wahala' in the country.

He asserted that, "The cost of living has risen astronomically. The standard of living has fallen drastically. These reflect in the growing incidence of parental neglect, broken marriages, prostitution, child labour, streetism and other negative social phenomena that sociologists have been quick to point at."

On fuel price hikes, he said when in 1999, the NDC government increasedpetroleum prices by only 26%, then candidate J. A. Kufuor had stated that, it was 'criminal, insensitive, irresponsible and economic short-sightedness for any government to increase fuel prices,'and had referred to the NDC government as 'a vampire Government sucking the blood of Ghanaians.'

Prof. Mills who said he supported the position taken by the Committee for Joint Action, added that it was untenable that, "the NPP apologists are blaming the external economic environment for the difficulties of the domestic economy. When we told them so in 2000, they said it was due to our mismanagement of the economy."

He bemoaned the distress rate of industries in the country and the laying off of workers, due to the folding up of large-scale, small-scale and medium-scale companies.

According to him, domestic rice producers have abandoned their farms, due to high operating costs and unbridled importation of subsided foreign rice, adding that the local textile industry has virtually collapsed. 'The Kufuor administration has made a fetish of macro-economy stability when it is evident there is something fundamentally wrong with the economy."

On the democratic agenda, he stated that the NPP government had embarked on the wholly unnecessary diversion of seeking to take the registration of Ghanaian voters to the doorsteps of Ghanaians living abroad instead of those who wish to do so to return home to register and vote, as had been the case in the past.

On the democratic agenda, he said, "The frontiers of the media freedom it claimed are gradually receding. The NPP government appears to be taking back by the left hand the freedom it claimed to have given the media with the right hand, by virtue of the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law."

On health, Prof. Mills said, the cash and carry system was still with the nation five years after the NPP promised to abolish 'that iniquitous system' adding that this month, August, makes it exactly a year when the NPP government started deducting two-and-a-half percent National Health Insurance levy and the compulsory deductions of workers' two-and-half percent SSNIT contributions commenced.

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