Monday, November 15, 2010

Spio jabs Kwabena Adjei over JJ’s House

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By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday November 15, 2010
Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, a first vice chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), is angry with his party members following a statement issued by their national chairman.

Dr. Kwabena Adjei is accusing Dr. Spio-Garbrah of abandoning a task given him to resolve former President Jerry John Rawlings’s accommodation problem.

Spio described portions of the chairman’s statement as “a sophisticated hoax”, as the section quoted was “totally false”.

Spio had castigated President John Evans Atta Mills for leaving ex-President Rawlings homeless, when he honoured an invitation to speak at a Tertiary Education Institution Network (TEIN) workshop in Accra on November 9, 2010.

This incurred the wrath of the NDC leadership, which expressed what some political analysts believed was a belated concern about the housing issue.

The statement condemning Dr. Spio-Garbrah, Dela Coffie, Communications Director of Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (FONKAR) as well as the TEIN members, was signed by NDC national chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adjei whose ‘there are many ways of killing a cat’ statement, with reference to judges in the country, caused fear and panic among judges recently.

It had said among other things that “the FEC (Functional Executive Committee) wishes to state that Dr. Spio-Garbrah was appointed chairman of a three-member committee set up to resolve the former first couple’s accommodation problem. Unfortunately, Dr. Spio-Garbrah left Ghana for his UK base without calling a meeting of the committee. Indeed, he is yet to call a meeting of that committee.”

Reacting to the ‘falsehood’ put out by the NDC chairman, Dr. Spio-Garbrah said, “My attention has been drawn to a statement issued yesterday, purportedly under the signature of Dr Kwabena Adjei, the chairman of our party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC)…I hope that this statement allegedly put out by the party chairman is a sophisticated hoax, as the section quoted above is totally false.

“I wish to state categorically, without fear of contradiction, that I have not been appointed the chairman of any three-man NDC party committee to deal with the Rawlings house issue. Another vice chairman of the party was the one appointed at a NEC meeting at the KAMA Conference Centre about two months ago, where I was present, and the important issue of why Rawlings’ official accommodation problem was not even on the agenda to be discussed by NEC.”

He stated that earlier at another meeting of FEC, about four months ago, which he chaired in the absence of the chairman, he raised the issue of why “this important matter was not on the agenda.”

He noted that following the discussion of the subject, he was part of a large party delegation which met urgently at the Castle to discuss the issue with President Mills and other senior Castle officials, saying, “So, yes, I have been concerned with this matter, as one of several factors which in my opinion is detracting from party unity, and I have tried to use all internal party channels to have it addressed.

“In fact, it would have been awkward and inappropriate for the only vice chairman of the party who is known to reside outside Ghana to have been appointed as chairman of a committee that needed to urgently address such an important matter of state which affects the party, when there are four or five other vice chairmen who could have handled this matter.

“Indeed, closer scrutiny of the minutes of that NEC meeting, or even quiet conversations between the chairman and some of those present at that NEC meeting, would reveal that the party chairman has made what I consider to be simply a genuine and honest mistake, if indeed he issued the statement under his signature.”

Dr. Spio-Garbrah said there was no NDC party letter appointing him to the position with relevant terms of reference, time-table or deadline to report and no NEC resolution of the NDC giving him such an assignment, adding, “The unfortunate impression that the NDC chairman's statement may have created that I, a mere private citizen, and an elected party official with no executive power could have somehow commandeered the Presidency to give this or that house to former President Rawlings and his family, and I have failed to act, is simply incredulous.”

Dr. Spio-Garbrah said the whole spectacle and the blame-game over the Rawlings house issue was a shame, noting that there was not a single person at the Castle, the seat of government, who was not benefiting from the sacrifices made by former President Rawlings.

He said he had never denigrated President Mills “for this situation or any other matter”, even though he bore part of this collective responsibility and asked NDC members who could not maintain joint respect for both President Mills and ex-President Rawlings to explain their positions to the public, and not drag him into their problems.

He had told TEIN members at the workshop in Accra that the NDC government had not shown gratitude to Rawlings for all his sacrifices.

“I understand that President Rawlings cannot award contracts today and that is because he doesn’t make appointments anymore. He is not relevant and of no value to the party. Otherwise it is not possible that even when disaster victims faraway in Haiti can receive a donation of $3million but when a disaster befalls the founder of the party and former President of the Republic of Ghana who by the Constitution is required to be given official accommodation, till today he does not have official accommodation. And yet there are over one thousand Government bungalows in Accra and I personally have identified some of them and have recommended it to the people concerned.

“NPP don’t take us serious because they see that we are unable to house our own father and are aware that the party is not strong enough to face them in the 2012 election,” he said.

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