Politics Tue, 22 Jul 2014

Spio-Garbrah Guns for Running Mate

As Mahama Is Set To Dump Amissah-Arthur

Former Chief Executive Officer of the London-based Commonwealth Telecommunications (CTO), Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah is gunning to be running mate to President John Dramani Mahama for the 2016 general election, according to sources within the seat of government.

Spio, who is now said to be close to power brokers at the presidency, is set to replace vice president Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, who insiders say will be dumped by President Mahama because of some serious disagreements between stalwarts of the two foremost men of the land.

Reports indicated that vice president Amissah-Arthur, a choice of pro-Mills loyalists had been so sidelined and agonizingly marginalized by President Mahama’s camp that he contemplated resigning his post in protest.

Spio-Garbrah, an ethnic Fante from the Central region like the vice president, Flagstaff sources indicated, will be a perfect replacement for the man who is facing serious challenges at the presidency.

According to the sources, President Mahama nominated his former boss at the Ministry of communications as the minister for Trade and Industry to further strengthen their relationship and pave the way for what would be considered a wobbling pair for the next elections.

However, Spio’s nomination, sources within the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) anticipate, will create a deep rift between pro-Mills loyalists and the president’s camp, a looming danger that is likely to elicit destructive divisions within government.


It would be recalled that in an article published in the media in 2009, Dr. Spio-Garbrah attacked the late President Atta Mills for appointing Team B ministers who were responsible for the slow running of the economy, while Team A materials were at the touchline ready to help accelerate the pace of development.

According to him, most of the ministers were not appointed on the “basis of merit but by virtue of proximity to power, feigned loyalty, financial considerations and other factors.”

The former CTO boss, who served under the Rawlings administration as the minister for Communications as well as Education, is perceived by foes within the ruling party as a firebrand but with some arrogant streak, a character trait that always agitated the political players on both sides.

NDC sources are worried that President Mahama’s nomination of Dr. Spio-Garbrah will be seen as a slap in the face of the pro-Mills group, an act that will potentially tear the governing party into shreds.

Political watchers are waiting to witness unfolding events in the ruling party after Spio receives parliamentary approval to join the Mahama administration.

Spio’s damning verdict on the Mills administration attracted the fury of the then de facto Chief of Staff Ato Ahwoi, who indicated Spio had embarked on a selfish mission and not the interest of the NDC and government.

Mr. Ahwoi vowed that as far as he was alive, Dr. Spio-Garbrah was not going to be nominated by President Mills for any ministerial position.


True to his word, the former Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation’s boss was never nominated as a minister and was not even allowed near the presidency.

“The NDC government will do well without you in government,” Mr. Ahwoi reiterated.

According to him, Dr Spio-Garbrah criticized President Mills because he had an inordinate ambition to become the presidential candidate of the NDC in 2012, arguing that “people who are over-ambitious tend to reinforce the organisation of the opposition.”

Additionally, Mills’ Director of Communications, Koku Anyidoho descended heavily on Spio, describing him as a ‘nobody’ with a cheap honorary PhD conferred by an unknown university.

This internal wrangling occurred at the time the current president was the vice-president who was reportedly undermined at the presidency by the Mills loyalists.

Ahwoi’s verdict on Spio

We publish below unedited, an open letter from Mr. Ato Ahwoi to Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah at the time of the confrontation:


"Hello Spio,

I have read with interest and disbelief, your long article published in the September 18 and 23, 2009 issues of The Daily Graphic. It was deceptively headed, 'HONOURING NKRUMAH'S LEGACY: A CHALLENGE TO THE NDC'. I use the word, deceptively because it was an opportunity for you to launch an unnecessary attack on President John Atta Mills and the NDC government, under the guise of honouring Nkrumah's legacy.

Spio, I get the impression that you are trying to intimidate the President to give you a cabinet appointment. You gave many Ghanaians that impression when you quoted the reason ex-President John Kennedy gave his brother, Robert Kennedy (then Attorney-General) for tolerating a difficult man like J. Edgar Hoover as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). You said President Kennedy told his brother, 'Bob, I'd rather have Edgar inside the government pissing out than outside pissing in.'

Another indicator of you wanting to pressurise President Mills to give you a ministerial appointment is when you stated 'Are we in Ghana saying that we don't know why President Obama invited Mrs. Hilary Clinton into an important position in spite of the quite bitter contest they had during the primaries in the Democratic Party?' Are you implying because you lost miserably to the President in the NDC primaries, he should invite you into an important position in his government?

Spio, please remember that Mrs. Clinton never said Mr. Obama was a sick man and will NEVER WIN an election. Now, why are you so desperate to serve in the government headed by someone who will NEVER WIN an election?

My NDC brother, if President Mills does not appoint you as a Minister, please continue to piss in as many times as you want!

You are dying to be a Minister in President Mills' government, yet you are insulting your potential colleagues that they 'have not been appointed on the basis of merit but by virtue of proximity to power, feigned loyalty, financial considerations and other factors.' Are you implying that you were appointed a Minister in the 90s by some of these reasons like feigned loyalty and financial considerations?

Spio, your reference to football in your article gave me the impression that your knowledge about football is limited. Until last year, three players in Barcelona, Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto'o considered themselves indispensable. Last year, the Barcelona coach sold two of them - Ronaldinho, Deco and for the first time won the treble including the Spanish League and the European Champions League. This year, he has sold Eto'o and Barcelona are still on fire! The NDC government will do well without you in government.

I have been wondering the basis for certain statements you made, bearing in mind what you said that there is no serious opinion polling in Ghana but informal chop bar research, personal vendetta stories and skewed field reports from certain 'security' agencies. Against this background, can you please indicate, in your next article, the basis for these three conclusions:

that the impatience of the NDC rank and file has been further worsened by some of the appointments that have been made, where they can see clearly that many people who had little to do with the NDC's electoral victory are amongst those reaping the rewards;

is there a reason why many of our NDC appointees are reported as being no longer accessible to party members by phone or text and have distanced themselves from those who put them into power?' and

do most appointees realise that a gulf is widening between them and the party faithful? Are the appointing authorities aware that most foot soldiers are angry because of the way some leading party members are being treated?'

By the way, Spio, was President Mills obliged to consider a so-called well-considered written proposal on how to gain most from the Obama visit? You talked about a written recommendation in November, 2008 for the NDC leadership to establish a transitional team - how can an opposition party have an effective transition team? Any transitional team will need the co-operation of the government in power Spio, you claim that many NDC members have been calling on you to be a candidate for one of the National Vice Chairmanship slots. That is not the way to go about it - please leave President Mills and the NDC government to do what the true NDC members in particular and Ghanaians in general know they are capable of - giving all of us, A BETTER GHANA.

Finally, in future, you want to be a presidential candidate of the NDC and become the President of the Republic of Ghana. As a true party man, why don't you do a private memo on the shortcomings and possible solutions, than publishing them?"

Source: TheNationa Forum