... March 18 to March 19, 2006
Dr. Kennedy took his message of hope to Diasporans in Canada over the week ending of March 18th and 19th, 2006 where people had opportunity to ask him questions and to pass comments.
Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy popularly known as Arthur K. has generated a very serious interest in Ghanaian politics once again since the diasporas came together to remove P(NDC) government in the 2000 elections. Kennedy has been dubbed as the NPP Presidential hopeful and rising star since he declared his intentions to run against the Establishment of the NPP (hierarchy).
Kennedy had a hectic but fruitful engagement with the Ghanaian Community in Toronto last Saturday and Sunday, March 18th and 19th 2006 respectively when he came to meet about 10 groups of Ghanaians in Canada and laid down his plans for Ghana and answered numerous questions. Dr. Kennedy was invited to come and meet with the Ghanaian community leaders in Canada and to present his ideas in person. Several meetings were scheduled in advance of his arrival by the many organized Ghanaian groups in Canada. At the end of the day people were very excited to meet him and many have expressed interest in assisting his campaign for the presidency bid.
Kennedy was actively engaged by the Ghanaian community in Toronto, Canada. After his back-to-back meetings addressing Ghanaians and answering their questions the Ghanaian community in Canada are resolved in coming together to support the Kennedy 2008 campaign. The agenda of his visit was to meet with 10 different groups at different locations and to attend a funeral of Mr. Kwame Brefo a community leader, who lived in Toronto for the past 30 years. After people wanted to know how they can help. Arthur K identified 4 things that an individual can do to help: (I) identify contacts in Ghana, (II) Give the campaign ideas, (III) Contribute money and (1V) Pray for the candidate and the country. Below is a snapshot of his itinerary in Canada.
Kennedy was able to meet all these 10 groups without break to discuss issues and to answer questions from individuals. 1.1 Group 1
This group comprised of ordinary Ghanaians. The meeting was in Michael Oduro's (Onasis) home. The purpose was to present himself and to lay down his future plans for Ghana. Arthur K talked about making government work for people, putting people to work, getting diasporans involved in national development, reforming healthcare system and applying technology to achieve all the above.
These ideas generated a lot of interest and questions. Some of the questions included the following: Kennedy's ideas on Education, Corruption and Duties on items sent to Ghana.
1.2 Group2 University of Toronto
Kennedy was asked about his chances of wining the nomination giving that he has not been resident in Ghana for a while. In Kennedy's reply he said when Ghana wanted to be counted as an elite soccer nation, they went everywhere in the world to pick the best players regardless of where they live and because this was done, today, Ghana is attending world cup competition, first time in her history. Arthur K gave them 3 scenarios which included geographic positioning of the candidates, the establishment record and which NPP candidate will improve the party's chance of wining the general election in December 2008. Kennedy 2008 Campaign is about the critical mass of Ghanaians in Ghana who want change.
1.3 Group3 Asanteman
Kennedy met with the Asantefohene and his elders. After Arthur K's presentation, there were lively exchanges of questions and answers. Questions included his experience, the kind of people he will govern with, the size of government, and duties at the port. Some asked what benefit they will get if they help the campaign and what his chances of wining are.
On the question of the type of people he will govern with, Kennedy indicated he will not select anybody who will come begging to serve on the Cabinet, because that will take away the independence of this individual. He will select people with record of knowledge and excellence in execution of their duties.
After the exchanges the Asantefohene pledge his support and asked his elders to do the same. They agreed to setup Friends of Kennedy club to raise funds and also call home for more contacts.
1.4 Radio Station at York University
Kennedy was interviewed for about 18 minutes. He was asked about his chances of wining and also his policy on corruption. During the call in, a gentleman, who claimed to be CPP member called to applaud Kennedy on his stand of corruption.
After the interview the interviewer told the audience that Kennedy is a good candidate and we need people like him in Ghanaian politics.
1.5 Dr La-Kumi's
At La-Kumi's office Kennedy met Osei Owusu, a Lawyer and Sam Sarpong, a bank Executive. Like University of Toronto, they wanted to know his wining strategy and policies. Kennedy briefed them and answered all questions including how he will choose his cabinet.
1.6 NPP party
1.7 Kennedy met with NPP party members who were so excited to meet him. After Arthur K's presentation they applauded him and asked many more question. The NPP party in Canada expressed lack of recognition by the party to the contributors and the foot soldiers. Some of the members openly pledged their support, but the Executives were cautious and only said after the meeting that they like what they heard. They asked Kennedy to send them copies of his campaign policies.
1.8 Tafo group
Kennedy and his team met with the Tafo group around 11:00 pm. Most of them knew Arthur K because they grew up with him and some of them went to elementary School with him. They asked similar questions as previous groups and pledged their support for the campaign. One question stood up. A lady asked where Arthur K will get money to solve some of the healthcare problems including the 250,000 women who die during birth in Africa. Kennedy indicated that he will allocate more resources to this area and also encourage Ghanaians to contribute to foundations that will be targeted in particular areas of healthcare, as it has been done in USA and Canada.
1.9 Dr. Okraku
Kennedy had a nice chart with Dr Okraku, a resident of Toronto and a dentist practitioner. Dr Okraku mentioned the lack of accountability in Ghanaian society and gave examples of how this problem goes all the way from individuals' homes, communities, local governments and to the highest offices of government. He remarked that we need to look at this from every angle of the society and devise a way to combat it. There were suggestions of mass education on problems like accountability and corruption using the schools, television, print, radio and mobile information vans. To succeed in this Kennedy said he has been thinking of having actors to plot this in a movie or play so that it could be shown over and over. As a leader he said he will spend time to talk to the Country on these vices.
1.10 Berekum group
Arthur K made a brief statement comparing Ghana today to Ghana in the 1960's and said if we do not do anything about the affair of the country in 25 years from now we will be talking about the same thing but the problem will be worse than today. They asked questions about corruption, duties at the Tema Ports, crime etc.
The Berekum group pledged their support for the campaign. Some of them indicated they had given hope on Ghana but will support Arthur K because they believe he will deliver.
Before Kennedy's arrival to the funeral they had announced 2 times that NPP presidential hopeful was in town and were expecting his arrival. I am not good at estimating the number of people in the room. I will guess about 400 to 500. As soon as Kennedy and his team went in they stopped the music and presented Arthur K to the crowd. Arthur K spoke for about 2 minutes because he did not think it was appropriate to do more politics when others were mourning. Kennedy hung around for about 2 hours and spoke with a lot of people on different issues in the hallways.
The next morning Kennedy and his team met with Dr. Lakumi on a strategy session, the details will be sent out soon.
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