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General News Thu, 7 Jan 1999

Opposition party to boycott parade

Accra, (Greater Accra) 7 Jan. '99,

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) said in Accra yesterday that it will not participate in the parade to mark the sixth anniversary of the Fourth Republic because of the ruling NDC has linked it to the 31st December Revolution. A statement signed by Mr K. Adu Kwabena-Essem, Director of Communications, said the NPP "dissociates itself completely from the linkage of the December 31, 1981 coup to the Fourth Republic" and will not participate in such activities. "The above decisions, notwithstanding, the NPP wishes to assure Ghanaians that it will participate fully in its democratic obligations of ensuring good governance, the rule of law and dictates of the Constitution. "The party's decisions on the celebrations around the 31st December coup and the Fourth Republic should not, therefore, be seen as an affront to democracy and constitutionalism. "Our Members of Parliament will be at their benches in Parliament to do what they know best - debating in the interest of Ghana". The NPP said that last month Ghanaians saw a "provocative celebration" of the 31st December, 1981 coup that ousted President Hilla Limann, adding that President Rawlings used the occasion to make unfounded allegations against his opponents. It said the celebration of December 31 was outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1993, "however, every year since that landmark ruling, Flt. Lt. Rawlings, with the collusion of his political party, the NDC, and several organs of state, have defied the ruling with 'indirect' celebrations by linking it to the celebrations of the inauguration of the Fourth Republic''. It said President Rawlings used the celebration "to incite and instigate our Armed Forces against the civilian populace and also constitutionalism".

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The NPP said it was calling the attention of the international community, especially donor countries, to "these annual tirades against the people of Ghana and the dangers they pose to our Republic". GRi

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