Ghana 2008 elections presidential hopefuls (I)

Mon, 24 Apr 2006 Source: Jeffrey, Peter Nee

Kwame Addo-Kufuor ? Is he running?

So far only 2 candidates of the ruling NPP have declared their intentions to seek their party?s presidential nomination. They are Dr Kobina Arthur Kennedy and Dr Frimpong Boateng. Others are in ministerial positions that haven?t officially declared their intentions but have been making policy statements that point that way.

One such minister soon to announce his candidacy (that is ) is Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, the MP for Manhyia and the current defence minister. Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor is a medical doctor by profession and the younger brother of the president of the Republic of Ghana.

Since his early childhood, Kwame Addo-Kufuor has been living in the shadow of his more illustrious brother and thus his achievements and his sense of duty have been overshadowed by the president?s.

So who is Kwame Addo-Kufuor and what does he stands for?

Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, who was educated and trained in the United Kingdom, has been involved in Ghanaian politics from as far back as the 1980s. He got into the ruling NPP cabinet in his own right as a very serious and intelligent politician (as those who appreciate his intellect and sense of duty can attest to ? a future president) and not because he was the younger brother of President Kufuor.

Kwame Addo-Kufuor is known more within the medical profession due to his tireless work in that profession and his academic work at University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Medical Schools.

Kwame Addo-Kufuor was the only government minister of higher ranking who has expressed concerns, both publicly and privately about the impact of brain drain on the health of the country and its implications for Ghana?s quest to achieve middle income status. As part of the current NPP government that was elected on a policy that the whole team campaigned on collectively, he is bond to accept the collective mandate however much he might disagreed with some of their policies. Kwame Addo-Kufuor believes in fighting from within to win minds and policies than rebelling from over the fence.

Of recent late, Addo-Kufuor has spoken on various issues, from health care delivery, remittances, crime and order and education, which are traditionally outside his remit. Some have argued that those topics that he spoke on should have been left to the sector ministers. However, as is already in public domain, the current sitting president has only got under 2 years of his final term to serve. As is known in the literature, he is now a lame duck president and thus those in his party who harbour presidential aspirations, then this is the time to start jockeying for positions. Thus it was no surprise when the so called ?friends of Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo? set up a stall to spearhead his campaign. Since Nana Addo Danquah lost the nomination slot to the current president some 8 years ago he has never given up his ambition. He sees Kwame Addo-Kufuor as the most potent threat to his ambitions. Although Kwame Addo-Kufuor is the brother of the sitting president, he is his own man and hope to be different in terms of policy, presentation, delivery and the Team he will assemble than his president brother. The only disadvantage that he has is, he is seen by the Ghanaian people as the brother of the sitting president and hence do not deserved to be nominated. This idea is currently being floated about by one of the candidate who sees himself as someone ordained and/or born to rule. That and that alone is what might derail Addo-Kufuor?s presidential ambitions even before it takes off.

Kwame Addo-Kufuor knows this is a very disadvantageous handicap. The fact that his elder brother is serving 2 full terms has been ingrained into the minds of the NPP delegates who will vote at their primaries that the presidential ticket is not hierarchical nor do anyone person had any hold on it. Sadly as already stated, this idea floating around is being instigated by Kwame Addo-Kufuor?s opponents within the ruling NPP party.

On Foreign Direct Investment, Kwame Addo-Kufuor believes institutions like Ghana Airways, Ghana Railways and others should have been sold to Ghanaians both home and in Diaspora to raise finance to savage these august state enterprises. Kwame Addo-Kufuor believes that if Ghanaian Diasporas community can remit to their motherland over $4 billion, then surely they should be allowed to buy into corporate Ghana. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, who, prior to entering politics in his homeland practice medicine in the United Kingdom, appreciates the importance of the Diaspora community to the economy of Ghana. Addo-Kufuor wants to tape into the wealth and knowledge of this huge and important resource. Addo-Kufuor wants Ghanaian Diaspora Academics to take up vacation (visiting lectureships) appointments in Ghana?s state owned Universities (University of Ghana, Legon; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi; University of Cape Coast, University of Education, Winneba; University for Development Studies, Tamale and University of Mines, Tarkwa). In order to alleviate the shortage of medical doctors in Ghana and to place Ghana?s medical schools higher on the world map (University of Ghana Legon, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Medical Schools are deemed as among the best in Africa. This is fact), Kwame Addo-Kufuor want University of Cape Coast and University of Education, Winneba to establish school of medical sciences to train more doctors. In addition, he also want the Police Hospital and 37 Military Hospital to be turned into teaching hospitals to train military and police doctors. Addo-Kufuor, having worked as an NHS doctor (National Health Service) in the United Kingdom, understands that health care delivery should not be a lottery only available to the rich, but to everyone. Hence he wants to put a policy in place based on the United Kingdom National Insurance scheme where every worker would be made to contribute towards. Kwame Addo-Kufuor sees the health of the nation as the key to Ghana?s prosperity. He was philosophical about its implementation, considering that over half of the population are unemployed and underemployed. He knows persistent poverty and high incidence of illiteracy must be defeated. In this regard, Kwame Addo-Kufuor envisages that by making the Diaspora Ghanaians an equal partner in the fight that then and then only can poverty and illiteracy be defeated. Perhaps in the area of Primary Health Care (no surprises here for after all he is an accomplished doctor of medicine) and Primary Education that when this hard working brother of the president becomes the next president Ghana may witnessed a renaissance. The large number of ?street children? roaming the cities and towns is a worry for Addo-Kufuor. Kwame Addo-Kufuor wants every child to have some level of education and roof over their head. He want those who want to work should be encourage to take up vocational training to prepared them for working life and want more resources to be directed into this sector. Addo-Kufuor abhors corruption and like Papa Owusu Ankomah and Kobina Arthur Kennedy want those who take kick backs and rent seeking before awarding contracts etc? when caught, should be persecuted, including government ministers.

The question is will the delegates (who hold power in their hands) vote for a candidate whose strength lies in his ability to do good and uplift his country from poverty or vote for an egoistic candidate who thinks the presidency is his right by birth? These are the delegates that those who have already declared their intentions to run for the flag bearer ship of the New Patriotic Party may face. Those who are thinking of coronation must be warned that there is no such thing any more in Ghanaian politics, irrespective of the political party, as CORONATION. The likes of Dr Frimpong Boateng, Dr Kobina Arthur Kennedy, Papa Owusu Ankomah and Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor should be allowed to put their policies or manifestos as to what they can offer mother Ghana to the delegates! They all deserve an opportunity! All candidates must all equal!

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter Nee

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