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17.12.2005 Politics

Political parties must nurture relationship of constructive engagement

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Accra, Dec. 17, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has called on the country's political parties to learn to develop and nurture a relationship of constructive engagement notwithstanding their inherent adversarial nature. He said as and when necessary, they should even adopt a bi-partisan stance in discussing critical issues of national interest; "of course, this presumes basic goodwill among the parties". He was responding to solidarity messages from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People's Party (CPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC) at the National Delegates Congress of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the University of Ghana, Legon.

President Kufuor said the tradition of exchanging such messages was positive and most re-assuring, adding: "It indicates growing awareness within the body politic that without plurality of political parties, our current system of multi-party democracy, as enshrined in the Fourth Republican Constitution, becomes untenable." He said the NPP wished its rivals for political office well in their positive endeavours for our Nation".

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South, in a goodwill message on behalf of his Party, recognised what he said was the significant contribution of the NPP since 1992 to democracy, political and economic development and the deepening of good governance. He said: "All the political parties have a common goal to better the lot of Ghanaians through good governance " and asked the NPP not to do anything that would undermine public confidence in the country's democracy.

Dr Edmund Delle, Chairman of the CPP, said despite their differences, it was important for all the political parties to collaborate to develop democratic institutions and to ensure public accountability. He said the Congress was taking place at a time of great expectations, when Ghanaians were looking for jobs and quality health among other challenges.

Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan of the PNC said the democratic credentials of the NPP, was of no doubt and that it had the capacity to rejuvenate itself in the face of difficulties. He noted that taking up management position in political parties was a difficult one and more so when the party was in government and advised the in-coming National Executive to work to enhance the political fortunes of the country.

Mr Felix Owusu Adjepong, the Majority Leader on behalf of the NPP Parliamentary Caucus, said the only justified reason for "What we are doing today is to win in 2008". He was critical of the conduct of those, who, had started campaigning vigorously for the Presidential slot of the Party, in some cases shadowing one another and said that was both unhelpful to the NPP and totally unacceptable. Mr Adjepong said those people were behaving as if they wanted to replace President Kufuor before his term ended. He said while there was nothing wrong for anybody to nurse the ambition to contest the flag bearer position, it was important that they played within agreed rules. He suggested that there should be a second look at the way of selecting the Party's Presidential Candidates.

Mr Mike Dughan, the Chairman of the Congress, told the members of the Party to as he put it, ensure that the NPP Government handed over power to another NPP Government in 2008. He said they should be motivated not by any other consideration but the destiny of laying a strong foundation for the Party, their own future and the country.

To improve on its last general election performance, it was important that the Party's structures were made more functional to bring hope, dynamism and inspiration to the rank and file. Mr Dughan responded to criticisms against the Government saying, some people seemed to have so soon forgotten the high rate of inflation, suffocating interest rate and falling value of the national currency, the Cedi. The NPP Government had stabilised the economy and laid the foundation for accelerated growth and investment. He, therefore, charged the members of the Party to renew their sense of commitment to the goals set by the President Kufuor Administration and to proclaim its achievements and defend its policies.

Mr Dughan also referred to alleged statements attributed to the outgoing Chairman, Mr Harona Esseku, and said the NPP would come out with a public statement after it had received the report of the Party's Disciplinary Committee, that was looking into the matter. Earlier in a welcoming address, Mr Samuel Crabbe, Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Party, called for innovative and creative ways to reward and take care of the Party's foot soldiers. Solidarity messages from the Party's branches in the United Kingdom and Ireland, North America, and Cote d'Ivoire as well as the Italian Ruling Party, were also read at the Congress.