The presidential candidate for Ghana’s opposition All People’s Congress (APC) is promising an all-inclusive government, which, he says, is the only way to solve the myriad of problems Ghanaians face.
Hassan Ayariga, who launched the APC less than six months ago says he is confident of winning the presidential election, after launching his manifesto at the Aviation Social Center in the capital, Accra.
In an interview with VOA, Ayariga says he is confident Ghanaians will support his plans to transform the lives of citizens across the country.
“We are promising Ghanaians job creation, all-inclusive governance that’s the only way to Ghana’s prosperity. Because over the years we have seen the change of government from NDC [National Democratic Congress] to NPP [New Patriotic Party] and from NPP back to NDC, and yet Ghana still struggles with economic crisis. That specifically tells us that one political party alone cannot be able to manage our country,” said Ayariga.
“It also comes to note that when you divide your front as a nation, you lose the strength and the power that you need to transform your country. Over the years, we have divided our front and for that matter our human resources, capital resources [are] not enough for us to make good use of because we have actually neglected each other, abandoned one another and we call it politics. But this is a very dangerous politics that we are practicing. This is not the normal democracy that we are practicing.”
There are two main parties in Ghana, the ruling NDC led by incumbent President John Dramani Mahama and the main opposition NPP led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. They have been prominent since the re-introduction of constitutional rule in 1992 winning and losing presidential elections to each other.
Critics say the dominance of the NPP and the NDC makes it unlikely for Ayariga and his APC to win this year’s presidential vote. Ayariga disagreed with the assessment.
“Over the years these two major political parties were given the mandate to manage our economy, but where is our economy? In crisis. So that means that these two political parties, no matter how gargantuan they are, they have failed in trying to achieve prosperity and trying to find solutions to our country’s problems. So, automatically, we have to reject them,” said Ayariga.
“The issue in Ghana here is that instead of us voting for political leaders that have the vision and the policies to transform our country, we rather define ourselves to political parties and voting [for] parties instead of leaders. So because we have been voting [for] parties over the years, the leadership of all these political parties are not good enough to transform our country... So the APC is presenting a young leader, a vibrant leader, a competent leader, committed and dedicated leader with a lot of wisdom, policies and strategies to transform our country.”
Some supporters of the main opposition NPP says it appears Ayariga is being funded by their opponents to undermine and destabilize the party before presidential, legislative and local elections. They said recent unprovoked media attacks have hurt their presidential candidate, Akufo-Addo, and shows their opponents are desperate and afraid to lose the upcoming polls.
“When you tell Ghanaians the truth, it’s painful. But the issue is that if we all say John Mahama is not the best man, are we now not going to scrutinize the three or four of us who think that we are the best? If we say we are the best, then let’s scrutinize the leaders that are going to lead us, not the parties. And that is why I said look at the individual leaders and their leadership qualities and what they can do for the country not just the political parties."
Meanwhile, local media reports that Ayikoi Otoo, the former head of the NPP legal and constitutional committee, has accused Ayariga and his APC of plagiarizing parts of his party's yet to be launched manifesto. NPP supporters say it seems the document was leaked to Ayariga, which they said accounted for his haste to release his manifesto before the NPP's scheduled launch next week.
“...NPP is saying I have stolen their policies. What kind of policies do they have? And where is their manifesto for me to plagiarize, where is that manifesto? No one has seen a manifesto from the NPP. They should be serious,” said Ayariga.
He also says the NPP is to blame for its recent internal troubles, which led to the suspension of the party’s chairman and deputy chairman as well as the general secretary. Ayariga questioned the rationale behind the decision to suspend the leaders of the party before the December elections.
Ayariga called on Ghanaians not to pay attention to the criticisms of plagiarism, because he says they are without merit.