General News Tue, 17 Feb 2004

Rawlings Irrelevant To Ghana Politics - NPP Chairman

The Western regional chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Peter Mac Manu has told newsmen in Sekondi that NDC would be day-dreaming if they thought the large crowd that followed ex-President Rawlings to the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) last week Thursday was an indication that they had already won this year?s elections.

According to him, it was undeniable fact that the name ?Rawlings? was no more a factor in the Ghanaian contemporary politics and therefore if NDC thought a one-day show of their founder was an indication that they were going to win the election, then they better revised their strategy since that would never happen.

''This year?s election is going to be won on issues but not a one-day show in Accra, as our opponents seem to be suggesting,? he said.

Mr. Manu who was interacting with the newsmen said Mr. Rawlings was in the country in the year 2000 but his so called popularity did not stop President Kufuor and his NPP party from beating Prof. Mills and the NDC for the first time.

He therefore wondered why the NDC should still think that the Rawlings factor could still help them win the elections.

He declared that the NPP was going to embark upon what he described as persuasive campaign to entice the electorate to vote for the party without thinking about any Rawlings factor which had no place in our current democratic process.

Mac Manu further told the newsmen that Ghanaians were aware of infrastructural developments that were going on in the country, not forgetting the way the notional economy had been improved within the three years that President Kufuor had been in office.

He mentioned also the transformation that was currently going on in the health sector with the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme, the proper democratic process Ghanaians were experiencing as they now had the right to comment on national issues without any fear, as some of the issues the electorate were going to look at before deciding on which party and presidential candidate to vote for.

He stressed that whether Mr. Rawlings got himself involved in the NDC campaign or not, his party would reduce the NDC from the largest opposition party in the country to the smallest and urged the CPP to work hard and also bury all their differences so that all future elections would be fought between the NPP and the CPP.

He noted that the claim by the NDC that NPP had disappointed Ghanaians about the numerous promises made in the year 2000 was just nothing but election gimmicks, adding that as far as the NPP manifesto was concerned, they were on track.

Turning to the stormy situation in his own party in the Western region where some party faithfuls were threatening to contest the incoming general elections as independent candidates for alleged imposition of incumbent MPs on the constituencies, Mac said the issue would be addressed through the appropriate quarters within the party.

He however said as a party that believed in democracy and free expression, his office could not have stopped the polling station executives who constituted the electoral college of the party from expressing their views on the sort of candidate they wanted as their MP. This did not however amount to the imposition of candidates on the constituencies by the regional executives, he added.

Mac continued that as far as the regional executives were concerned, nobody had been elected as a parliamentary candidate of the party in all the constituencies that were crying foul about the alleged imposition of candidates on them.

He revealed that elections would be held in all the constituencies where the party had a sitting MP and therefore called on all those who wanted to contest the primaries to file their papers when the nomination was opened.

Just recently, the polling station chairmen in the Tarkwa- Nsueam constituency who constituted the electoral collage, declared their sitting MP, Mrs. Eugenia Kusi as an unopposed candidate for the incoming elections and this flared up tempers in the constituency.

The Chronicle has gathered that some of ''Opposition'' men in party had declared their intention to put up an independent candidate to contest the Tarkwa-Nsueam seat, which hitherto was a strong CPP area.

It is being rumoured that other constituencies such as Takoradi, Effia-Kwesimintsim, Ahanta West and Sefwi Wiawso would also see independent candidates contesting the elections from within the NPP party because of the alleged imposition of candidates on them, though Mr. Mac Manu has denied this.

Source: Chronicle