Transitional Teams of Ghana’s Incoming And Outgoing Presidents Meet Monday

The transitional teams of Ghana's President-Elect John Atta-Mills and outgoing President John Kufuor are scheduled to meet Monday in the capital Accra. The move is to ensure a smooth transition from President Kufuor's government to that of President-Elect Atta-Mills. Some political analysts believe today's meeting needs to be expedited since the president-elect is supposed be sworn in Wednesday as is constitutionally mandated. Atta-Mills spokesperson Anna Tetteh tells reporter Peter Clottey that the new president expects to be fully up to speed with the issues when he takes office.

"Our expectations are that we are going to discuss how we are going to transfer power from one political party to another and how effectively we can take over the government machinery. And in order to facilitate that process, we have set up committees dealing with particular sector areas. And we anticipate that the NPP (New Patriotic Party) is going to do the same. However, if the proposed structure differs slightly from us or different from us, we can still be accommodating because the most important thing is to work out an arrangement that allows us to exchange information and allows us to ask questions to find out what are the critical areas as quickly as possible," Tetteh pointed out.

She said today's meeting would focus on the critical areas which need attention.

"The meetings that we are going to be having today are going to be focused on understanding what exactly is the situation, what is the status of ongoing projects and programs, and how best we can take control over those things. So that as far as Professor Mills is concerned, when he takes office, his government can hit the ground running," she said.

Tetteh said although there would be difficulties, the president-elect's team is prepared to handle any situation.

"There are bound to be challenges, because we have a very short period for transition. But we know that in order to have an effective transition, there must be cooperation, and there must be proper management of information. And we want to make sure that we do everything within our power to make sure that we don't have situations where people are embarrassed, where information is leaked. And where things are not properly handled so that it would create further animosity and tensions. And so we want to work very hard to make sure that we make this transition as smooth and as painless as possible," Tetteh noted.

She said there is hope the information sharing from the outgoing administration would enhance and expedite the transitional process.

"What we are anticipating because it is the first meeting, but also because we have a very short time, is that we are going to meet the team from the other side. They are going to give us some indication of how they have planned towards this transition and we also would want to take a cue from that and factor in how we appropriately respond… it is really about the exchange of information. We ask questions. We get the facts that we want, and we do all this within the shortest possible time," she said.

Tetteh said she hopes there is goodwill from the outgoing administration to ensure a smooth transition.

"We are hoping that there would be a spirit of cooperation and goodwill so that we can get through this business quickly because no matter our political differences, at the end of the day we are Ghanaians first," Tetteh noted.

She said there is need to come together as one people to build the nation after a heated campaign period that pitted the ruling NPP against the main opposition NDC.

"The election is over and it is time to use our opponent's language to move forward, to believe in Ghana and to build a better Ghana. Now, professor Mills has promised to be a president for all Ghanaians and not just for a few. And we are committed to making sure that this government makes every Ghanaian feel that they have a president who looks out for them and so to that extent we are not interested in going back and raking up the past. We are not interested in humiliating out opponents," she said.

Tetteh said the ruling incoming administration is not interested in disgracing the outgoing administration party.

"We are just interested in taking over the reins of government, ruling effectively and making sure that people see that the change that we promised is delivered. And at the end of the day they will know that their vote was a wise one," Tetteh pointed out.

John Evans Atta-Mills of the opposition NDC was declared winner of the December 28 election runoff after defeating Nana Addo Dankwa Akufu-Addo of the ruling NPP. The president-elect received congratulatory messages from around the world, and one day after being declared winner of the run-off, he named a 12-member transitional team. The team is headed by P.V. Obeng, who served as secretary in former President Jerry John Rawlings' Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) military administration.

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