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General News
Nana Akufo-Addo breaks silence 4/14/2009
The New Patriotic Party''s 2008 Presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, has added his voice to efforts to maintain peace and freedom in the North for development. He also spoke against the seeming obsession of the Mills administration to intimidate, harass and victimise members and supporters of the previous government.

He said what Ghana deserves is strong and compassionate leadership and not pettiness, confrontation and lip service.

He is challenging the NDC to improve upon what the previous government achieved and not seize this power as an opportunity to rather settle scores. It was his first public statement since returning to the country a month ago.

In his personal peace initiative this Easter, Nana urged traditionalists, youth groups, religious and opinion leaders in the North to intensify cross-faction dialogue and programmes to help build an atmosphere of trust and unity among themselves.

He also, in the same breath, called on the ruling National Democratic Congress to take a sincere approach to deal with the politico-ethnic conflict in the North, which led to renewed violence and multiple arson attacks this year.

As the ruling Government, it is important that the NDC came to terms with the truth that "it is only when people from various political backgrounds treat political opponents with mutual respect that the nation would live and move forward in peace and harmony.”

Adding to the call on the part of various statesmen and opinion leaders for the Eminent Chiefs to resume their peace building initiatives in Dagbon, Nana Akufo-Addo said the attacks in Tamale in February showed how criminals are able to hide behind ethnic and political colours to attack innocent people and expected to be protected by the state.

The February violence led to one death, a woman receiving multiple wounds from a machete and about a thousand people rendered homeless after their houses were burnt down and their belongings destroyed.

Nana considered it as a worrying trend for the country, when, under the cover of power, gangs openly attack political opponents from particular ethnic or clan backgrounds. The people of Ghana, should also, he added, be worried when leaders of a ruling party seem bent on openly intimidating and persecuting the leadership of a predecessor administration.

"It is worrying, because it will certainly drag the whole nation and not only one or two political parties backwards. I say that because you need all hands on deck, regardless of ethnicity, religious and political leanings, to move Ghana forward.”
He took a jibe at the seeming disconnect between the NDC''s populist talk of being on the side of the poorer masses, yet, doing things to discourage the economic empowerment of the masses.

“In the kind of environment we find ourselves in, unless we make a deliberate effort to create and sustain peace, development would be slow and ordinary people, who we claim to be creating a just and equitable society for, will be the ones to be marginalised.”
The NPP, he said, set an example in tolerance and political fair play in the eight years under President J A Kufuor.

Nana is challenging the NDC, under President Mills to not only follow but to add to what has already been achieved by enhancing the environment of tolerance, fair play and one-nation-ness. The former Foreign Minister said the NDC has a lot more convincing to do to show that there is more to what they have for Ghana than travelling the path of confrontation, intimidation and the economic line of least resistance.

For all the accusations that the NDC has leveled against the NPP, the NPP leading member reminded the people in the North that there was a relatively peaceful and stable environment for economic and social activities in the days of the NPP. It is recalled that Nana Akufo-Addo''s medium to long term solution for the North was the proposed establishment of the $1 billion Northern Development Authority.

“For all the propaganda and ethnicity politics they sold the nation, we in the NPP have a record of peace and stability in the North.” As part of his Easter Northern Regional tour, he attended the funeral of the father of the former Member of Parliament for the Saboba Constituency in the Northern Region, Charles Bintim.

He also paid courtesy calls on the royals of Kutol, describing the late chief as a worthy son of the community, who helped bring development to the entire Saboba District.

In Yendi and some surrounding communities, where Nana"s entourage was warmly received, the youth who had to block principal routes leading out of town just to have him around for while, made commitments to peace, in response to Nana’s call for a total end to the conflict in the North, including flashpoints like Bawku and Dagbon.

He stressed, “It is important that we treat ourselves with respect and tolerate divergent views on national issues, without picking arms and weapons.” The teeming youth had come from Chereponni, Saboba and Yendi to meet him.

Credit: The Statesman

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