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Opinions Tue, 18 Oct 2011

Press Statement In Response To ...

Press Statement In Response To THE RECENT UNDEMOCRATIC ENDORSEMENT OF HON. FRITZ BAFFOUR BY THE PRESIDENT

JOHN EVANS ATTA MILLS

I am compelled, as a democrat, by the recent posturing of the President John Evans Atta-Mills in endorsing Hon. Fritz Baffour for the South Ablekuma constituency primaries on his recent tour of the Greater Accra region. I consider this act undemocratic, unprincipled, and most of all miscalculated to have come from a man who has been flaunting his honesty, god-fearing nature, and unblemished democratic principles as his own trump card for leadership. This action is simply reprehensible in the face of guidelines restraining all prospective candidates with interest in parliamentary seats where there are sitting members of parliament (MPs) on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress not to commence campaigning until the prohibition is lifted.

Indeed, by this act of the President, the contest for South Ablekuma primaries has unduly been prejudiced in favor of the sitting MP who has not only lost touch with members of his party but has as well lost favor with the electorates of the constituency.

I believe it is not the endorsement of the president that is going to transform the image and the competence of Hon. Fritz Baffour overnight and make him more appealing or endearing to the people of South Ablekuma. The people of South Ablekuma can be trusted to understand the dynamics of political responsiveness to issues within their own constituency and that will certainly form the basis on which they vote in the 2012 General Elections. If the Castle and its spin doctors think they can enter South Ablekuma and impose Fritz Baffour on the constituency through their undemocratic manipulations, I can assure them that a lost for Fritz Baffour in the primaries has its implications for the presidency. Besides, that is not a guarantee that Fritz Baffour is returning to the august legislative assembly of Ghana, as there are many options open to any contestant to consider weighing his or her own political capital and strategies.

I have just been reading a statement from the Communications Director of the President, Koku Anyidoho, on a “mop-up mission” and I feel very sorry for him. I think he has a very difficult job managing a communication team that is almost in tatters. It was a member of the NDC’s own communication team who broke this news to some of us on Facebook, drawing our attention to the apparent violation by the President.

But if history is something to go by, then all this will not be surprising to any keen observer of our political history and culture. In 1998, the then President, Jerry John Rawlings, defied all internal democratic principles and single-handedly endorsed and declared Professor John Evans Atta Mills as the flag-bearer for the NDC. This led to all forms of altercations within the party and eventually its waterloo in the 2000 General Elections. As an establishment candidate, Atta-Mills lost the General Election to President John Kufour with over 10 percent of the vote.

In the same year 1998, when a similar opportunity was offered to the stalwart political activist and novelist extraordinaire, Wole Soyinka, in Nigeria after the demise of the dictator Sani Abacha, to lead his country, he declined the honor because he considered the process undemocratic and against what he believed in. Readers can listen to Wole Soyinka’s afterthought on this matter by following the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dprnVlsw9RE&feature=related The point is that it is not our public proclamations of ourselves as been democrats that make us democrats even when our very acts are against the democratic spirit. It is our deeds that make us democrats.

Let me say that the benevolent act of the President will not do any good to a sinking ship. It is rather a propaganda that has fallen flat. To wit, the people of the constituency are their own propagandist and they know how to sell what is good for them.

It is unfortunate to be on the wrong side of the President, but if that is the price to pay to defend the democratic principles we are trying to entrench in our country and party, then so be it and I owe no one no apology for my stance on this undemocratic posturing of the President. In consultation with my team, we would decide our next line of action. The options, however, are unlimited and the people of South Ablekuma are the better judges.

Prosper Yao Tsikata,

South Ablekuma NDC aspirant.

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Columnist: Tsikata, Prosper Yao