Dr. Kwabena Duffuor
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is in the spin over attempts by former Minister of Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor to make the party’s flagbearership race a dead heat for ex-President John Dramani Mahama with his programme dubbed: “Ahotor Project for Grassroots.”
Even though Mr. Mahama enjoys the support of the current national executives of the party and has a better footing in the crucial race, Dr. Duffuor seems well poised to dislodge him from the seat by casting himself as a champion of the poor in the NDC.
And this has sparked off a struggle in the main opposition party, with party chiefs waging thinly disguised battles against Dr. Duffuor, who is projecting himself with the ‘Ahotor’ project intended to resource the NDC’s base across constituencies.
General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Aseidu Nketia, who is popularly known as General Mosquito, has served notice that the party will not entertain the ‘Ahotor’ project as they “strongly object” to it, asserting that the party executives were misled into receiving the programme.
“I am compelled to put out this information. We just picked information from Kumasi that Dr. Duffuor is going to distribute some equipment to our constituencies under the ‘Ahotor’ project, and we feel very betrayed,” he stated.
According to the NDC chief scribe, even though the party acknowledges that what the former minister is doing is not a “bad thing,” if Dr. Duffuor wants to support the party in any way, he ought to channel it through the party’s structures.
“We actually heard about this project for the first time when it was supposed to have been launched in Ashaiman. We felt that everything about the launching of the project was problematic. So we invited Dr. Duffuor and his followers, and sat down [with them].
“We thought that we could resolve whatever was wrong with the project as it has been designed so that we all chart the same path and then make sure that we receive the donation and process the donation through our proper party channels of receiving,” Mr. Nketia stated.
He continued, “We held a series of meetings and thought that we had agreed on the procedure. If you want to donate to the NDC, after the donation, you don’t have a hand in how the donation will be used.”
“In fact, he is not the first person to donate to this party. In previous years, Prof. Mills donated vehicles to the party and they were processed through the party’s structures,” General Mosquito asserted.
He said ex-President Mahama also donated vehicles and equipment to the party, adding, “Once you hand over to the party, the party takes over.”
“We have been written to that there is going to be an NGO which is going to manage the ‘Ahotor’ project, and we strongly object to that thing, and we feel that we have been misled into receiving the donation, and assured our members that it is the party that is going to handle it,” he stressed, as he laid bare for the first time the tension in the NDC over the project.
Asiedu Nketia said, “If Dr. Duffuor intends to make this donation to the party genuinely, he should be prepared to pass through the proper channel. Else, he has his equipment and whatever he wants to do with the equipment it can never happen in the name of NDC.”
While the NDC General Secretary thought that Duffuor is ‘condescending’, the latter has said he is not discouraged by attacks and insults on his desire to resource the party’s base with the project.
He said his character would not permit him to reply to his attackers in an equal manner, intimating that he would continue with his help to the poor through his donations.
Dr. Duffuor told some NDC members that “no amount of insults [and] attacks will stop me from what I want to do for you,” noting that the ‘Ahotor’ project was not intended to gain any pecuniary benefit, and adding that he started as a businessman in 1984.
“I feel in me that I should help people and I am helping,” he posited.
By Ernest Kofi Adu