Nine things we learned in Kufuor’s latest radio interview
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has lifted the lid on the NPP’s loss of the 2008 elections.
Mr Kufuor, who was president from 2001 to 2009 has pointed out what he would do differently and some advice for President Nana Akufo-Addo who is seeking a second term in office.
Below are nine things we learnt in an interview he granted to Asaase FM’s Kwaku Sakyi Addo.
- Manipulating the constitution to stay in office as a president is usurping power and no different from a coup d’tat. He said presidents should not be afraid to leave office when their term is up “unless of course, you have gotten something to hide”.
- The four-year term for Ghanaian presidents is too short. Mr Kufuor first made this call in 2009 during his last speech to parliament before exiting office. He was of the view that the first year is usually the time a government studies the system and the fresh lawmakers also get acquainted with parliamentary work. In the final year, ministers and other officials get busy campaigning and canvassing for votes so less governmental work is executed.
- Ministers should not serve as Members of Parliament (MP). The legislature is supposed to supervise the Executive. A person cannot perform oversight responsibility when he is both part of the Executive and the Legislature at the same time. “I am for strict separation of powers, Executive on one side and then Legislature on the other,” he said. “I would amend that part of the constitution if I have my way”.
- Former President Kufuor is not against appointing family and friends into government as long as they are competent. He cited the importance of the late J.H. Mensah, an economist, to his government. Mr Kufuor married Mr Mensah’s sister. “I think I will be the biggest fool not to count myself lucky to have this guy in my circle,” he stressed.
- Voting for metropolitan, municipal, and district chief executives (MMDCEs) is apt but “let the government have a say in the selection of mayors”.
- Traditional rulers should be included in local governance because they are more influential in their localities than the MMDCEs. Chiefs are supposed to bring unity so there are not supposed to be involved in partisan politics which could bring divisions.
- Ghana was fined $30m because the previous NDC regime had lied. “IMF told us the previous regime has misreported to them about the state of the economy and Ghana was fined $36million,” he stressed. He said his first days as President was challenging because of the mess left by the previous NDC government. There was no money in the coffers, Mr Kufuor disclosed. He said Nigeria also refused to give Ghana crude oil due to huge debt by the NDC government that Mr Kufuor inherited.
- The overthrow of previous Presidents in Ghana meant he needed a trusted person to watch his back to give him the peace of mind to function as President hence the appointment of his brother, Dr Addo Kufuor, as Defence Minister even though the latter was a physician.
- Losing 2008 elections was a mystery which proves democracy is irrational because he believes the NPP’s performance should have attracted another mandate from the electorate.