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Ghana’s Ruling Party Dismisses Opposition Allegations

Ghana’s Ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) says the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is using what it describes as dirty fear tactics to win next year’s general elections. This comes after the NDC accused the ruling party of using the current national youth program to lure people into the party, as well as imposing unpopular aspiring members of parliament on the electorates. But the ruling NPP said the opposition NDC has no message for Ghanaians except to recycle previous allegations.

Nana Ohene-Ntow is the general secretary of the NPP. From the capital, Accra he tells VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey that the opposition party’s allegations are unfounded.

“There were two key issues that I addressed at the press conference. First, as some misconception about the procedure we are adopting in the selection of our parliamentary candidates in constituencies where we do not have sitting NPP MP’s (members of parliament). But the misconception had been that the national executives were imposing candidates on constituencies. And we needed to explain that there was a complete difference between imposition and consensus building in the selection of candidates,” he said.

He denied speculations President John Kufuor’s government is forming a secret police with the purpose of rigging next year’s presidential election.

“First of all that was a complete lie, the truth is that the ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment has put together a youth employment program, which has been approved by cabinet and approved by parliament, and it has been put together as a public document and widely publicized,” he pointed out.

Ohene-Ntow said the process of employing the youth should not cause any anxiety.

“No, it wouldn’t create any alarm at all. You would have to get into the details of the training program, which has been set out and publicized. There is nothing secret about it. You cannot compare this program to the progressive voluntary organizations that existed under the NDC, the associations of CDR’s (Commission for the Defense of the Revolution) who were actually armed, and who went about terrorizing people under the NDC,” Ohene-Ntow said.

He said the program is meant to help form a protection unit for the various communities where the youths reside.

“This community protection unit of the youth employment program has nothing to do with the use of force at all,” he noted.

Ohene-Ntow said there are no political undertones with the youth employment program spearheaded by President John Kufuor’s government.

“It is totally impossible at all. That cannot happen. First of all, this is a program that is being administered by the ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment. Secondly, if you are going to get recruited, nobody asks you about your party identity. So how would you even know that this person who is being recruited is coming from the NDC or NPP to start with?” Ohene-Ntow asked.

He dismissed as blackmail an allegation by the NDC that the ruling party would rig next year’s presidential election.

“The NDC has said several times their flag bearer, Professor Atta-Mills, has said it; a number of their leading members have said that it is only when the NDC wins elections that they would consider the elections to be fair. That is totally preposterous and it is totally ridiculous. It cannot be that the NDC would have to win elections before the elections can be declared to be free and fair. And I think that is a system of blackmail, which should be rejected by the people of Ghana,” he said.