Where are NPP’s alternatives? – Asks NDC

General News of Thursday, 19 February 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Fred Agbenyo

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has poured scorn on the “Wongbo” demonstration organized Wednesday by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to convey the frustrations of the public on the national energy crisis.

The NDC says the NPP has by the demonstration, sought to harness the genuine frustrations of the masses for partisan gain, while persistently refusing to propose even a single alternative to the “concrete measures put in place to not only overcome the current challenges but also ensure it does not recur in future.”

Addressing a press conference at the NDC headquarters, Adabraka, hours after the demonstration, Deputy Communications Officer of the NDC, Fred Agbenyo, supported by National Organiser Kofi Adams and other officers, said “At a time when President John Dramani Mahama and government as a whole have demonstrably committed to addressing the electricity problem in a systematic and comprehensive manner, the expectation of all Ghanaians would have been that Nana Akufo-Addo and his NPP, when they thought it necessary to intervene in the discussion would focus on the proposal and submission of clear alternative measures to those put forward by government.

“Rather they chose to cement the widely held notion that the NPP as presently constituted is totally bereft of any new ideas and suffers a chronic inability to advance alternatives to government policies. Instead of coming to the table with credible alternatives, they have chosen the cheap option by harvesting the genuine public sentiments over the electricity situation for petty partisan gain.”

According to the NDC, the NPP by choosing this path, “has shown that it is simply not up to the task of contributing meaningfully to national development.”

The NDC assured all Ghanaians that it fully identifies with their concerns on the electricity situation and expressed confidence in the viability of measures announced by President Mahama and the government to arrest the current challenges.

“We believe that in due course these measures will result in not only a resolution of the challenges but will also ensure that we avert a recurrence. We call on all Ghanaians to reject outright, the NPP’s brand of politics that celebrates every national setback for the sole purpose of achieving narrow political ends. Through collective effort we can work to overcome our challenges and rise to the occasion as a people,” the NDC assured.

The party also called on Ghanaians to condemn “ethnocentric” and “divisive” comments contained in a secretly recorded tape alleged to be the voice of former Finance and Sports minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo.

“Ladies and gentlemen, in light of the grave nature of these comments and its potential to undermine national unity, we call on Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo to render an unqualified apology to all Ghanaians for hurting our sensibilities in this manner with his unguarded comments.

“We also call on the leadership of the NPP to take stern action against Mr Osafo Marfo and others who beat a similar path. Their record of failing to sanction members who make disparaging comments against sections of the Ghanaian society inspires little confidence that much will be done in this particular instance.”

Read the full address read by Fred Agbenyo below

STATEMENT BY NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS ON RECENT POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

February 18. 2015

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media, we have invited you here to discuss some important issues. A few hours ago, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) embarked on a partisan demonstration purported to draw the government’s attention to the effects of the current load shedding exercise.

It will be recalled that about two weeks ago both, President John Dramani Mahama and Dr Kwabena Donkor an acknowledged energy expert who doubles as Minister for Power expressed government’s deep concern and appreciation of the serious difficulties that Ghanaians and businesses are enduring as a result of the electricity situation. They proceeded to articulate concrete measures put in place to not only overcome the current challenges but also ensure it does not recur in future.

They indicated that the situation had been aggravated by poor hydrology at the country’s hydro-electric dams (Akosombo and Bui) and the breakdown of a number of thermal plants (TICO, TAPCO, ASOGLI, CENIT etc).

Among the measures outlined to address the problem are the fixing of the broken down equipment – works which are far advanced, the provision of emergency power plants, the acceleration of ongoing work to bring on stream new thermal plants started a few years ago (Kpone Thermal Power Plant, T2, Aboadzi 250 MW Plant), and the initiation of additional thermal plants to add over 3000 MW to our generation capacity (CERN, GE, AMANDI, JACOBSEN, CLEAN COAL etc).

At a time when President John Dramani Mahama and government as a whole have demonstrably committed to addressing the electricity problem in a systematic and comprehensive manner, the expectation of all Ghanaians would have been that Nana Akufo Addo and his NPP, when they thought it necessary to intervene in the discussion would focus on the proposal and submission of clear alternative measures to those put forward by government.

Rather they chose to cement the widely held notion that the NPP as presently constituted is totally bereft of any new ideas and suffers a chronic inability to advance alternatives to government policies. Instead of coming to the table with credible alternatives, they have chosen the cheap option by harvesting the genuine public sentiments over the electricity situation for petty partisan gain.

By choosing this path, the NPP has shown that it is simply not up to the task of contributing meaningfully to national development.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we wish to assure all Ghanaians that the NDC party fully identifies with their concerns on the electricity situation. We are firmly behind President Mahama and have confidence in the viability of the measures he has put in place to arrest the current challenges.

We believe that in due course these measures will result in not only a resolution of the challenges but will also ensure that we avert a recurrence. We call on all Ghanaians to reject outright, the NPP’s brand of politics that celebrates every national setback for the sole purpose of achieving narrow political ends. Through collective effort we can work to overcome our challenges and rise to the occasion as a people.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we now turn attention to an extremely worrying development that requires a strong national response .The National Democratic Congress has noted with extreme concern a tape recording in which Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo, a former Minister of Finance and a leading figure within the New Patriotic Party, is clearly heard at an NPP strategy meeting in the Eastern Region, making extremely incendiary and ethnically divisive comments regarding the NPP’s fortunes in the 2016 elections.

Mr Osafo Marfo is heard claiming that only persons from five Akan-speaking Regions where in his estimation 86% of the country’s mineral resources are located should have the opportunity to lead this country. Among other shocking statements, Mr Osafo Marfo is also heard saying that Gas and Ewes are the same in terms of the voting patterns hence and would vote against the NPP irrespective of the candidate presented.

As a National Party which makes inclusion and unity the very bedrock of its political mobilization, we in the National Democratic Congress unreservedly condemn this extreme form of tribal bigotry engaged exhibited by Mr Osafo Marfo. We urge all Ghanaians irrespective of their tribe, ethnicity or background to join us condemn these unfortunate ethnically biased outbursts.

We are utterly dismayed that in spite of all his years of education, exposure and experience, Mr Osafo Marfo would hold such primitive views about national leadership and proceed to make comments that have the potential to tear apart the very fabric that binds us together as one people with a common destiny.

These comments represent a major setback to efforts made by our forebears and the current generation of Ghanaians to build a country in which tolerance, unity, togetherness and respect for diversity become the values around which we revolve.

These comments evoke bitter memories of the activities of the dreaded parent party of the NPP, the National Liberation Movement (NLM) which used a campaign of terror to prosecute an ethnic secessionist agenda against the Kwame Nkrumah led CPP government. The misdeeds of the NLM were and continue to be justified by its apologists on the basis of the same arguments made by Mr. Osafo Marfo in the tape – that Akan areas possessing majority of the country’s resources ought to have a dominant role in national leadership.

The chaos and unrest that this deeply-flawed stance spawned in the 1950s and 1960s should leave no decent-minded Ghanaian in doubt about the inherent danger in the Osafo Marfo tape.

We in the NDC strenuously reject every notion, be it expressed or implied, that the leadership of Ghana is the birthright or preserve of a pre-ordained elite belonging to a particular ethnic group or hailing from a particular region of Ghana. We remain totally committed to the principle of equity and fairness in the extension of opportunities to our people to aspire to the leadership of this country irrespective of their ethnic background.

Mr Osafo Marfo’s attempt to justify bigotry and the denial of non-Akans their right to aspire to the leadership of this country on the flawed premise that they come from Regions with little resources is the latest installment in a long list of irresponsible ethnocentric comments that have emerged from the camp of the P- We recall the infamous “all die be die”, “yen Akanfo” comments of Nana Akufo Addo, the “kill Gas and Ewes”, “I declare war” comments of Kennedy Agyapong and many other disgusting ethnocentric comments of leading NPP functionaries. This blatant disrespect for persons of non-Akan extraction by the NPP is a clear and present danger to our collective survival as a nation and requires prompt excision from our body politic.

We are at a loss as to why the NPP who have been consistently rejected by the good people of this country in elections due to their open hostility to persons of non-Akan extraction, has failed to draw useful lessons from their past and chooses to continue on this nation-wrecking path. Having been restricted to barely two regions in terms of performance in national elections, the NPP do not require a soothsayer to tell them that Ghanaians are unhappy with their continuous marginalization and insult of non-Akans.

We in the National Democratic Congress are proud of our history as a party that embraces Ghanaians from all walks of life. We are proud to subscribe to the Social Democratic Ideology which has at its core, care and respect for the marginalized, underprivileged and down-trodden.

We are also proud to be a party that does not discriminate against persons seeking the leadership of our party to contest Presidential elections on the basis of ethnicity. We remain proud as the only party that has presented three presidential candidates from three different ethnic groups in Ghana in different elections since 1992.

In the face of the mortal threat posed to the unity of this country by the reckless approach of the NPP to the issue of ethnicity, we in the NDC re-dedicate ourselves to uphold the principles of inclusivity, diversity and respect for each other’s views.

We will continue to campaign against the preaching of ethnocentric and divisive politics until it is completely eliminated from our society.

We are fully aware that the NPP’s very existence and antecedents are steeped in bigotry. We had hoped that over the years they would have moved from this extremist path and embraced nationalism in their vain pursuit of political power.

The NPP’s uncanny desperation and thirst for political power at ail cost which has driven multiple personalities in their fold to adopt divisive methods, needs to be supplanted by a more tolerant and accommodating disposition.

We call on civil society whose loud silence in times when members of the NPP have misconducted themselves has only served to spur them on to further misbehavior, to speak out against Mr Osafo Marfo’s comments. They have a responsibility to rise up and be counted in this effort to shield Ghana, the only country we have, from the disastrous consequences of ethnic-based politics.

Ladies and gentlemen, in light of the grave nature of these comments and its potential to undermine national unity, we call on Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo to render an unqualified apology to all Ghanaians for hurting our sensibilities in this manner with his unguarded comments.

We also call on the leadership of the NPP to take stern action against Mr Osafo Marfo and others who beat a similar path. Their record of failing to sanction members who make disparaging comments against sections of the Ghanaian society inspires little confidence that much will be done in this particular instance.

They however have a golden opportunity to prove to all that they are at least making an effort to depart from ethnocentric politicking. They need to show that they no longer hanker after the ethnic inspired politics of their forebears in the NLM, UP and the many other guises that they have existed in.

If they miss this opportunity, history will judge them harshly as the one Ghanaian political party that did more to divide this nation than any other group.

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