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25.03.2006 Politics

'Palaver' Forced Frimpong-Boateng To Declare

By Palaver
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… Ahead of Scheduled Presidential candidacy announcement

… President Kufuor fingered

MANY Ghanaians have been wondering why Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Head of the Cardiovascular Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Hospital Administrator, chose to announce his plans for the 2008 Presidential elections 33 months ahead of schedule and from far away Wa in the Upper West Region at that. 'The Ghana Palaver' can bring you the inside story today. On Tuesday March 14, 2006, 'Ghana Palaver' had information that Professor Frimpong-Boateng had taken two weeks leave in order to move to the Northern Region to campaign for the then as yet undeclared NPP candidate in the Tamale Central bye-election. Our further information was that the Professor was acting on the advice of President J.A. Kufuor, who had decided that Professor Frimpong-Boateng was the best bet for the NPP, given that the Party and its leaders and aspiring Presidential candidates were all embroiled in corruption allegations and enmeshed in sordid corruption and immorality scandals.

Professor Frimpong-Boateng was to use the opportunity of the Tamale Central bye-elections to market himself to the NPP in the 3 Northern regions and begin a campaign towards the NPP Presidential primaries.

We were further told that the doctors at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital were mad at the Hospital Administrator's action, as they considered that mixing his profession and his position with politics, was bad for his image and that of the Hospital, besides the possible conflict of interest and constitutional issues it raised.

The information was hot; the source was very reliable, and the story was big enough to warrant our Editor himself taking it up.

So that very Tuesday, Mr. Joojo Bruce-Quansah, our editor, took off to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, specifically to the office of Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.

In the office, our editor met Mr. Felix Fonder, a close aide to Professor Frimpong-Boateng. Korle Bu insiders were later to describe Mr. Fonder as the “eyes and ears” of Professor Frimpong-Boateng, his virtual “handbag”. After identifying himself as the Ghana Palaver editor and stating his mission, yes, Mr. Fonder conformed to our editor, Dr. Frimpong-Boateng had taken two weeks' leave.

Yes, he confirmed, Dr. Frimpong-Boateng had travelled outside Accra. Yes, he confirmed, Dr. Frimpong-Boateng was still in Ghana.

No, he would not confirm or could not confirm whether or not Dr. Frimpong-Boateng was in Tamale or what had compelled the busy Professor to take leave and travel outside Accra.

But it appeared Mr. Felix Fonder had been economical with the truth in his interview with our editor and that he had known all along that Dr. Frimpong-Boateng was in the Northern part of the country and also why he was there. The rest of the story which took place following our editor's visit is largely unconfirmed, but coming from the same source that gave us the original “scoop”, we have no doubt about its authenticity.

As soon as Mr. Bruce-Quansah left the Hospital Administrator's office, Mr. Felix Fonder made a panicky phone call to Dr. Frimpong-Boateng in Wa that “alarm had blown” and that Ghana Palaver was about to 'break” the story. Dr. Frimpong-Boateng in turn made an equally panicky phone call to his sponsor, President Kufuor.

President Kufuor quickly called his spin-doctors together and after briefing, they decided that the best course of action was for the Professor to pre-empt the Ghana Palaver story by breaking the news of his intended candidacy personally.

Given his then location at Wa, he was instructed to arrange an interview with Upper West Radio, Meanwhile, Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo's Daily Graphic was alerted to stand by for some “breaking news” from Professor Frimpong-Boateng at Wa, and ordered to advise its Upper West Regional correspondent to monitor the radio station on a 24-hour basis.

The rest is history.

On Thursday, March 16, 2006, the Daily Graphic led with the breaking news of Professor Frimpong-Boateng's announcement of his candidacy, thus scooping the Ghana Palaver, which as a bi-weekly, could only lead with its story on Friday, March 17, 2006.

But the premature disclosure of his candidacy has created serious problems for Professor Frimpong-Boateng, according to our source. He had not yet sorted out the constitutionality and legality of his action, which he had been advised to do.

He has not yet worked out a media strategy, and is going to “shoot from the hip” from now on until President Kufuor's media team work out one for him. He is not certain how to respond to the charge of being “Kufuor's poodle”, seeing that the only reason he is contesting is because President Kufuor has asked him to contest.

And, most important, he has no answer to the charges of ethnocentrism, tribalism, parochialism, nepotism and cronyism likely to be thrown at both him and President Kufuor, seeing that they are both Ashantis and they both come from Daabang village in the Atwima Nwabiagya district of the Ashanti Region. FRIMPONG-BOATENG EXALTS HIMSELF! … And praises NDC's “Cash and Carry system in the process NPP Presidential aspirant Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng waxed eloquent on Radio Gold last Tuesday, as he boasted about his credentials and exalted himself to the High Heavens about his achievements as the Chief Administrator of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

He took credit for turning the fortunes and the finances of Korle Bu around. He took credit for the construction of the multi-billion cedi Administration Block that adorns the entrance to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital today. He took credit for the “Great Wall of China” wall built around Korle Bu ostensibly to protect Korle Bu land from encroachment and to ward off thieves and burglars, but which actually makes the hospital take on the look of a Fort Alcatraz kind of prison.

He delighted in the fact that many buildings in Korle Bu were currently undergoing rehabilitation.

He announced with joy that hospital equipment are being replaced at great cost. When asked where all the money for these great and visionary accomplishments was coming from, he said they were from “Internally Generated Funds”. At least Professor Frimpong-Boateng was honest. He did not say the money was coming from the NPP Government. The Professor had not taken any loans for the projects. The Professor had not stolen the money for the projects. And nobody had given donations for the projects.

The money was coming from only one source – the NDC's “Cash and Carry system”, euphemistically referred to as “Internally Generated Funds”.

Yet this is the system the NPP berated as “iniquitous” in its 2000 Manifesto and which it has spent five years in government trying to change and has been unable to. And Professor Frimpong- Boateng, by openly identifying with the NPP, has identified with the condemnation of the Cash and Carry system. So why is the good Professor taking credit for something he has condemned? As the lawyers say, “Thou shalt not approbate and reprobate”.

The other thing the Professor from Daabang-Nkawie, home town of President Kufuor, did not tell Ghanaians was that it is as a result of the same Cash and Carry System which he is praising for raising money for Korle Bu's infrastructure development and which some mothers cannot pay, that babies have to be detained until alternative arrangements are made for their debts to be paid off.

So that is another credit for Professor Frimpong-Boateng – the detention of new-born babies!