The President's Press Secretary Mr. Kwabena Agyepong has said that the Presidency is following with keen interest the public discourse arising out of last Tuesday's State of the Nation Address delivered before Parliament by President Kufour.
He said the President remains resolved and focused. The sections of the address that seem to be receiving wide public interest include the government's efforts at fighting corruption and the President's determination to see the Representation of the Peoples (Amendment) Bill passed by Parliament. Mr. Agyepong, speaking at a press briefing at the Osu Castle yesterday, said the government's commitment at fighting corruption should not be underestimated. In its effort to check corruption, especially in the public sector, Mr. Agyepong said the Kufuor Administration has promulgated a number of laws including the Public Procurement Law and the Financial Administration Law. He said the government has made remarkable effort to adequately resource anti-corruption institutions like the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), by increasing their budgetary allocations over the years.
He said President Kufuor has demonstrated to Ghanaians that he respects the rule of law and constitution by submitting himself to investigations by CHRAJ. "President Kufuor", declared Mr. Agyepong, "unlike former President Rawlings did not ask CHRAJ to come to his house but rather asked his lawyers to respond to the issues raised".
He called on Ghanaians to respect the constitution and abide by the rule of law. He said there was the need to follow due process, "although the practice sometimes could be frustrating".
On the Representation of the Peoples (Amendment Bill), Mr. Agyepong said there was nothing wrong in extending the ballot to Ghanaian nationals abroad and did not see any reason why the opposition, in its attempt to frustrate the initiative, is threatening mayhem. He said the President did not only describe the threat of mayhem as unacceptable but also unwholesome. Mr. Agyepong warned that the laws of the land were ready to deal with anyone who causes mayhem, "as the days of impudence have passed".
He complained about the activities of some media houses, which he said, were bent on churning out false and malicious information about the government and advised them to stop the "vile propaganda". He said it was unfortunate that some people tend to downplay the success stories of the country and instead look out only for errors.
"The President just recently commissioned some big factories - garment, pharmaceuticals, etc - but little or nothing is heard about that But when one factory closes down it becomes the subject of the day", Mr. Agyepong said.
He used the occasion to convey congratulatory messages from President Kufuor to some Ghanaian citizens who have been appointed to serve on international institutions. They include Professor Akua Kuenyehia who was reelected and appointed to a 9-year term on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and Mr. Ike Duker who has been appointed a Regional Head of Crown Agents, a British Government procurement firm.
The rest include Dr. Ken Attafuah, formerly of CHRAJ, who has been appointed a technical adviser to the UN Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Liberia and Mr. Albert Essien who now the Regional Head of the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ).
The Castle media briefing was instituted in January and would now be the main source of government information and reaction to media stories and other public concerns.