General News of 2014-06-30

I could have been President after 1996 - Alan

Presidential hopeful of the opposition New Patriotic Party Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen has revealed he had an easier chance to lead the party if he had accepted the opportunity in 1996. He is now resigned to mounting fierce contest for the party's flagbearer - a much harder path, he suggested.
“Maybe, I would have probably been a President by now; I was approached to lead the party in 1996, but I rejected it; because, at that time, I thought there were equally competent people to lead the party to power,” Mr. Kyerematen revealed on Kumasi-based KESSBEN FM on Saturday.
Alan is currently on his third attempt to lead the NPP after two failed bids in 2007 and 2011. In both bids, he lost to Nana Akufo Addo.
Mr. Kyerematen said he broke the hearts of many leading members of the party in 1996, when he refused to contest and become the presidential candidate, after the “old generation” failed to deliver for the party.
According to him, the Young Executives Forum (YEF), which he founded alongside some leading young business tycoons, became the most vibrant wing of the party, contributing financially to the party’s campaigns, both in the 1992 and 1996 elections.
He revealed that after the late Adu Boahen failed to win power for the NPP, and former President Kufuor also attempted and failed in 1996, pressure came on him to assume the mantle of leadership, as a young and vibrant politician, but he turned down the overture, after receiving advice from high-profile party leaders.
He further mounted a strong defence of his ministerial records and rejected the assertion that he rode on the shoulders of former President Kufuor to become popular in the party
The former Trade and Industry Minister lamented over “an orchestrated machination by his opponents to incite supporters” against him, by labelling him as an outsider.
Mr. Kyerematen said he was aware that some people within the party had been going round saying he had done little, as an individual, to merit the leadership of the party, and has not been around too long.
According to him, he has sacrificed and contributed so much for the party.
"I have done a lot for this party since its inception, when we came to power in 2000, and after losing power; I have heard a lot about how people say who is Alan, when did he even come to this party, and all that, but I decide not to respond, because I think it’s not necessary, every true member of this party knows how I have sacrificed for this party,” Mr. Kyerematen noted.
“I don’t want to move from one platform to another responding to all those allegations, because I trust the judgment of grassroots members of the party, who know what I have done, and keep on doing for the party,” Mr. Kyerematen emphasised.
He said it was sad that some people even went to the extent of labelling him as an enemy who refused to participate in the 2008 and 2012 elections, and subsequently, when the party challenged the 2012 elections results at the Supreme Court.
The former minister said after the party assumed power in 2000, then President Kufuor, being cognisant of his potential, appointed him Ambassador to no mean a country than the United States of America (USA), where he distinguished himself well
Mr. Kyerematen delved into the controversial Presidential Special Initiatives (PSIs), which his opponent used against him in the 2007 flagbearership campaign.
They argued that the PSIs collapsed.
The NPP presidential hopeful said though the initiative yielded so many positive outcomes to Ghana’s business environment, his opponents managed, through propaganda, to put a spin, and created the impression that the policy was a total collapse.
Mounting a strong defence for his ministerial record, Mr.Kyerematen said as a result of the PSI programme, about 10,000 farmers were registered to supply cassava to feed the Ayensu Starch Factory.
He also stressed that the global beverage manufacturing company, Nestle Ghana Limited, was also buying its starch from the Ayensu Factory for its production.
Guinness Ghana Limited (GGBL) also abandoned the importation of starch from Indonesia, and patronised the starch, which was being manufactured by the Ayensu Factory, he maintained.
"Now I can tell you that the Ayensu Factory...has now been acquired by Guinness Ghana Limited, and they are now going to use it to produce starch for their products,” Mr. Kyerematen pointed out.
The NPP flagbearership hopeful stated that he is highly favoured by God Almighty, and knows the Supreme Being has something wonderful for him.
“The favour of God is upon me; I have always noticed that, and that is how come I am loved and welcomed everywhere I go,” the NPP presidential aspirant noted.