National Democratic Congress Youth Forum Press Statement
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, we have invited you here to set the records straight on our collective journey as democratic state especially in the last fourteen months of the NDC administration. In the wake of the incarceration of Nana Darkwa, following a comment he made at an Accra-based radio station the opposition NPP led by their members of parliament have taken it upon themselves to distort the nation’s democratic gains especially the contribution of the National Demcratic Congress to press freedoms in this country. As a youth group of a responsible party like the NDC, we think this is the time to remind the nation that, upholding democratic tenets is not in short supply in the NDC and any desperate attempt to pre-occupy Ghanaians with palpable falsehood about press freedom in the last fourteen months will not fly, because the youth group will intellectually resist it.
We have been told since the Nana Darkwa incident that the President Mills administration is rolling-back the gains we have achieved as a nation in press freedoms and rule of law so, parliament should be held to ransom by members of the minority in parliament. As a youth group, we hold the view that the logic in the minority leader’s request for President Mills or the Attorney General (AG) to do something about Nana Darkwa’s case in court is obscenely twisted and flies in the face of our democracy. Is Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu’s proposal hinting that the NPP ordered judges to do something about cases during their administration?
Ladies and gentlemen, the speed with which military meted out justice to Issah Mobila leading to his death under the NPP regime, there were people in NDC who held the view that the Executive was deep in that heinous crime. People like Kyei Mensah Bonsu came out and called for Ghanaians to isolate the activities of the Executive from the military because they are separate institutions. Today, Kyei Mensa Bonsu and his NPP minority are happy to conveniently lump the Judiciary and the Executive as one and the same thing. The AG did not start the trial of Nana Darkwa even though she has ultimate responsibility, the minority leader is insisting that it has to be her, who can do something about the case. We all know that Hon. Kyei Mensah Bonsu and his colleagues demanded from government the release of Nana Darkwa. Today we are being told that the AG should do something again before they return to parliament. Thus, shifting the goal post. The question we want to ask, what does the minority leader wants the AG to do? He should come out with clear democratic solution for the AG or forever hold his peace. If the minority is clutching at straws, they should at least put some value on the intelligence of Ghanaians.
As a matter of curiosity, we want to find out from the lawyers of Nana Darkwa, is it not they who applied to the police to expedite action on Nana Darkwa in order to beat the 48-hour detention period? If they have no hands in the speedy trial of Nana Darkwa, we are challenging them to come out and deny this.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is imperative to remind you that, as a party the NDC signed the 1992 constitution into law and lived by its tenets for eight years until Ghanaians decided to democratically elect them out of office in 2000. The NDC remained committed to the constitution whiles in opposition until 2008 when the good people of this country decided again that it was unfit for the elephant to be in power and therefore threw it out of office. Since then, NPP have refused to come to terms with their electoral defeat and have sent to town many of their irresponsible characters like the Nana Darkwas to hurl invectives at the sitting president and members of his government because, as God given right the NPP must always be in charge of the nation’s resources. This has been the case in the last fourteen months until this incident. Yet still, the NPP says this is enough to erode the democratic gains we have chalked as a nation so the minority should take the tax payers money and refuse to go to parliament.
Before we proceed on the democratic credentials of the NDC, we wish to request the minority to address their minds to what God said in his holy books. (The Qur’an and Bible). According to Matthew 21:43 God said in the Holy Bible that “Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Also in Chapter 47 verse 38 of the Holy Qur’an, God said “If you turn back (from the path). He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you!” So if in the wisdom of God the NPP is unfit to rule the nation at this moment and therefore substituted them for the NDC, they should be patient and employ democratic means that will be pleasing to God to come back to power and not indulge in falsehood and dereliction of duty.
Ladies and gentlemen, having laid this foundation, we wish to mention certain practical steps that have been taken by the President Mills administration to consolidate our democratic gains. The NDC in opposition promised a constitutional review to bring up-to-date certain provisions that have out-lived its usefulness. True to Presidents Mills’ word the Constitutional Review Committee has been put in place to oversee this important national assignment. Is this a perverse approach to democratic development?
Also, since the good Professor assumed office as President of Ghana, journalists from all shades of opinions have had the opportunity to interact with him twice at the seat of government, one during his first hundred days in office, and the other during his first year in office. Today, the character of the castle press cop is all inclusive. Do these measures enumerated above intend to limit press freedom in Ghana?
Ladies and gentlemen, do not forget that it was under NDC (1) that we experienced proliferation of radio stations in the country including those that make the crucifixion of the NDC and the sitting President a daily occurrence. The President and for that matter the government has not moved to drag any of these irresponsible commentators to court. On the contrary, it is the NPP that has shown in the last fourteen months that they are unwilling to practice what they preach as champions of democracy. Nana Darkwa was hailed at the NPP headquarters by MPs and party leaders for his irresponsible comments and given platform to boast that he will repeat such comments over and over again when given the opportunity. They have issued their vehement resistance to allow the judiciary to handle the E/O Group and Cosmos deals. Is it not ironic that even though, some members of the NPP have had some cases ruled in their favour in court under the President Mills administration, they are still afraid of the courts?
Ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, the NDC youth forum wish call on the minority go back to parliament and continue with legislative duties and allow the Judiciary carry on with constitutional mandate. On this note, we are calling on the Judiciary to pursue the Nana Darkwa’s case to its logical conclusion. Any unusual truncation of this case in response to the minority’s request will be met by a demonstration by the NDC youth forum.