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Former President Kufuor has warned that if leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) do not do away with acrimony and rancour among them, it would be very difficult for the party to regain power in 2012.

“My wish and my heart’s desire is for the party to be united. I want the friction and acrimony to reduce. It is my wish that we get united, respect and trust each other.

I have faith in the party. I also believe in the traditions, values and ideologies of the party, and for Ghanaians to repose confidence in us and vote us back, we need to be united, and if there is disunity, people would find it difficult to join us”, he said Speaking in an interview with Oman FM, an Accra based radio station yesterday, former President Kufuor also denied accusation that he was the brain behind the division in the party.

He argued that he should rather be credited with efforts to rebuild the party, rather than baseless attempts to portray him an anti-party member.

“I am pleading with my party members to bury their difference. If anybody thinks good about the party, I can’t tell, but I can say that nobody thinks more of the party than I do”, he said. The former President, who stated that he was trying to adjust to his new status as a former President, considering the number of engagements he had during his eight year regime, prevailed upon the National Executive Committee of the NPP to do its best to reconcile the rank and file of the party. He called for adequate measures that would ensure that next year’s congress to elect a presidential candidate is conducted in a free and fair manner.

Touching on corruption, Mr. Kufuor averred that people, who claim to be apostles of anti-corruption, are the most corrupt people. “Be careful about people who attack others on corruption. They are rather the most corrupt ones,” he said. Mr. Kufuor, who dismissed assertions that he usurped an office for himself, and a number of vehicles when he left office, hit at his critics over allegations that he left a huge debt. According to him, his regime sourced for loans, and such loans were used in developmental projects such as construction of roads, rehabilitation of schools and others, which are visible for people to see. With cheek in tongue, he argued that his administration never spent loans it secured from its development partners on meat as others did, but judiciously used it to the extent that it reflected in the nation’s economy pushing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up to 7.2%.
The former President noted that when he assumed the presidency in 2001, the national coffers were empty but he took pragmatic measures to solve it. He observed that when donors were dragging their feet to help him achieve the dream of rehabilitating Peduase Lodge for the presidency and building the Jubilee House, he was not deterred but moved ahead with his dream until it was achieved. “I have a vision that when our economy bounces back on track, we need to build the presidency,” he said.

According to him, the external donors who initially rejected requests to grant the nation loans on the account that the nation has adopted the HIPC policy, beat a retreat and helped in the building of the Jubilee House and also in the construction of roads. According to him, even though Ghana owed Nigeria, he managed to convince the Nigerian President, Obansanjo Olusengu, and he gave the nation crude oil lasting for 90 days.

On the Africa Union government, Mr. Kufuor, who explained the number of external engagements after he left office, said there was a possibility for a union government, stressing that it would be achieved if all members of the African countries understand themselves. He mentioned language as one of the barriers that is likely to affect the decision. The former President, talking about his legacy, could not single out any one of them, but was happy that the era of intimidation, harassment, political arrest and wanton destruction of properties of the past were gone and that the nation is now enjoying freedom of expression and rule of law.
Declaring that he is ever ready to serve in any capacity as an elderly statesman, he said personally he abhors ostentation and dismissed the allegations that he took a lot of per diem during his regime. “I want to state categorically that when I assumed the presidency, my salary was $S1000 for the four years. I never took more than that money,” he said.
Source: The Chronicle

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