Change Mahama Says Kufuor

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor thinks the time has come for Ghanaians to show President John Mahama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government the exit, having failed to alleviate the plight of the people.

Mr Kufuor cannot fathom the level of despondency in the country in the midst of all the natural resources and opportunities at the disposal of the present NDC administration.

He believes that the best way out for the country is to get John Mahama and his team out.

In an interview with Accra-based Kasapa FM, the former president recalled, “In 2000 (when I took over as president of the country), Ghana did not have oil, gas, the cocoa sector was bad, yet I and my government managed to put Ghana on a strong economic footing.”

He could not understand why “currently we have everything to make this country prosperous but wherever you go people are complaining of hardships.”

Everywhere one goes, he noted with worry, “traders are lamenting, the youth after completion of school have no hope of securing jobs, prices of utilities have gone up astronomically.”

It was for this reason he said, “I believe strongly that Ghanaians need change and change must certainly come on November 7 this year when the country goes to the polls to elect a president.”

In another vein, the former president told Starr FM about the need for Ghanaians to avoid anything that could plunge the nation into chaos before, during and after the 2016 general election.

Former President Kufuor reiterated that elections are not wars and that Ghanaians must appreciate the prevailing peace and conduct themselves in a peaceful manner on voting day.

“We see what is happening around us all over the place and we must learn from it; we do not want the explosions that take place elsewhere in Ghana so we should all caution ourselves,” he counselled.

According to him, the Electoral Commission (EC) requires the support of all Ghanaians in the discharge of its duties to achieve successful, violence-free, free and fair elections whose results would be accepted by all.

“We are praying for it. If we are not confident then what is the use? We must continue to hope and continue to do constructive criticisms so that all concerned are put on their toes for the sake of Ghana,” he said.

Jake’s Death

Speaking about the death of former NPP Chairman Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, Mr John Agyekum Kufuor (popularly called JAK) said he was shocked profoundly.

The unfortunate passing away of Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey, 70, occurred in faraway London, United Kingdom, in the early hours of Sunday, March 20, after what a family source said was a short illness.

Smooth-talking Jake was receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment in a South African hospital before moving to London for recuperation and review.

News about his death has sent shockwaves throughout the country, particularly among members of the NPP whose current leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, described the sad occurrence as a tragedy and big loss.

A statement from the former president’s office described Jake as “very professional in his field of Public Relations and Advertising.”

“He conveyed serious matters with a relaxed mien and charm, was affable and had a great sense of humour; he was a good man,” JAK recounted.

The former president also said, “Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey was born into the Danquah-Busia tradition and stayed true to its tenets throughout his adult life,” adding, “The party has lost a pillar and Ghana a true son.”

Rally Support

Former President Kufuor urged the NPP to use Jake’s death to rally support for the party to win this year’s elections.

“My appeal is for the party to close the ranks to hold together to put our side of the arguments across to Ghana and hope that Ghana will return the NPP to power,” he told Joy Fm.

He said working to bring the NPP back to power would mean that, “Jake would not have served in vain.”

“I would say that filling the vacuum he has left might be quite a challenge; it is not easy. Having said that, nobody is indispensable. We all come and go when our time is up, but he played his role very well,” he noted.

President Kufuor said he was not aware of Jake’s sickness.

“I didn’t get to know of his illness. Three years ago he went to South Africa and came back a bit slim. He told me he was on diet. Last year again, I saw him slimmed and I thought it was part of the dieting. For the past three months, I have not seen him and it didn’t occur to me that he was not well,” said Mr Kufuor.

He stressed that the death “should help in our efforts at reconciliation and unity which are principles for which Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey stood. May He Rest In Peace!”

Jake was a founding member of the NPP and was the Chairman of the Publicity Committee of the party in its formative years in 1992, and later became the Greater Accra Regional Chairman.

He served as Campaign Manager for then candidate John Agyekum Kufuor and executed a perfect strategy that made the NPP win the highly contested 2000 general election.

Rawlings’ Message

Former President Jerry John Rawlings, who was a friend of Jake, has also expressed his heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family.

“We have learnt of the sad demise of Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, former Chairman of the New Patriotic Party and leading figure in the advertising and marketing industry.

Our deepest sympathies go out to his family.

“May God give you comfort and peace at this difficult moment and may the soul of your beloved Jake rest in peace,” Mr Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu said in a statement.