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Feature: Award of Contracts: Can President Mills be the father of the nation?
 
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30-Nov-2009  
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On the award of government contracts since the NDC came to power, has the system been just, equitable and above board?

But in fairness, only ten months in office, the administration could not have awarded many government contracts but as we say in Twi, “nsuo bettor a mframa di kan”, meaning before the rain falls, it is preceded by wind blowing.

Therefore, even with the few that have been awarded, there are complaints from within and outside the NDC that “something is not right”.

From within the NDC the complaint is that contracts are not going to party members and from without, there is apprehension that the non-NDC business community (!) is going to be squeezed out of any national contracts that become available.

The fear of some of these people is that as the new NDC administration gains confidence and becomes entrenched in office it would get even more insular and vindictive by cutting off the oxygen of business from known and imagined “enemy entities”.

With the abrogation of school feeding contracts and seizure of toilets around the country, during the first few months of getting into office still unresolved, how to distribute government contracts fairly is becoming an emotive issue which has already seen a public outburst in the Northern Region where relations between the NDC Regional Chairman and the Regional Minister have been deteriorating.

This public airing of “dirty linen” over contracts has led Mr. Albert Atutiga, former Northern Region Chairman of the Convention People's Party (CPP), to advise members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to stop what he described as stabbing each other in the back and focus on addressing problems confronting Ghanaians.

He claimed that ever since the NDC won power some members of the party, especially those who did not secure political positions had resorted to acts that would ruin the efforts of the government to deliver on its electoral promises.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Tamale recently, he alleged that some party bigwigs in the Northern Region are bent on running down Mr. Stephen Sumani Nayina, the Regional Minister on "unfounded allegations".

Mr. Atutiga said Ghanaians voted for the NDC to address the economic problems of the country but "Ironically some of its own members are working to thwart efforts of development for their selfish interest…It is unfortunate that high profile politicians within the NDC are washing their dirty linen outside, just to run down Mr. Nayina who is only answerable to the President but not party members in the region."

He said the NDC won the last December elections marginally and instead of the party working to win the confidence of Ghanaians some of its members were rather indulging in activities that would let the electorate think either rightly or wrongly that the party had come to amass wealth but not to address the concerns of Ghanaians, obviously in reference to the spat between regional party chairman and Regional Minister over the award of contracts..

He said when President John Evans Atta Mills nominated Mr. Nayina for the position, there were agitations against him when he had not even started work – an indication that they would not support him to succeed. "A bird that is flying in the air”, he said, “cannot be accused of destroying a farm."

Mr. Atutiga said President Mills should be careful of “self-interest politicians” within the party and remain his own man in order not to be swayed by "blackmailers" who would run his government down.
He said President Mills had declared to be a father to all Ghanaians and this quality must reflect in all his appointees.

Mr. Atutiga advised members of the NDC who were not comfortable with certain government appointees to channel their grievances through governmental or party structures and stop acts that would derail development.

It would be recalled that recently, media reports had claimed that Alhaji Sumani Zakari, Regional Chairman of the party had called for the dismissal of the regional minister, on the grounds that contracts were going to “wrong hands” in the region.

Mr. Nayina, the Regional Minister had however riposted that the contracts were given to people who could execute them.

"I am here [in office as RM] because of NDC to serve the people of the North irrespective of their political, ethnic and religious backgrounds…The party chairman had his share of the few contracts that had been awarded, so I don't understand why our dirty linen should be washed outside.

I am answerable to someone and if I fail I will receive the whip alone", he explained, but the controversy continues to simmer.

Inquiries relating to this particular “washing of dirty linen in public” from the North reveal that the issue of award of contracts nationwide is becoming one of President Mills’ Achilles Heels as awarding authorities are suspected of discriminating along partisan lines.

A businessman in Accra said, “Some of us are getting worried.” He said even though the president continues to declare that he is the father of all Ghanaians, it is becoming clearer by the day that “he has his favourite children” and they are “to be found in only one particular political party.”

He said they are aware that some major contracts awarded by the NPP administration are “under review” and could be abrogated. But again, in fairness, some contracts from the former administration are being allowed to run till completion.

As the NDC completes the first year of its four-year mandate in a couple of months time, one of the measures that would be used to judge it would be how far President Mills has succeeded in being the father of the nation and the award of contracts would feature very high in that assessment.
 
 
 
Source: The Mail
 
 

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