Give Space To NDC
President John Evans Atta Mills’ ‘father for all’ slogan appears to have been put on hold or entirely dropped, as he orders his ministers and other appointees to render preferential treatment to members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in terms of opportunities.
The directive was passed through the Presidential Spokesman, Mahama Ayariga, during a press conference yesterday. The directive is coming at a time the President is said to have come under excessive pressure to do something about disillusioned party supporters who claim to have been given a raw deal after sacrificing to see the NDC regain power, after eight years in opposition.
Mahama Ayariga was responding to certain concerns, principally, the allegation that party men were being ignored in matters of appointment. Perhaps, party executives across the country would find solace and assurance in the subtle words of Mr. President as conveyed by his spokesperson who said, “The President has directed all party members who have been given appointments at all levels to make space to enable party members with genuine grievances and legitimate demands to have access to them to enable them to receive attention.”
The trickle-down effect of opportunities, by which those who have been offered jobs are expected to give preferential treatments to party faithful, is expected to address the worrying disillusionment now rife in the NDC.
This segment of the Spokesman’s reaction is coming on the heels of news that representatives of 22 constituencies drawn from the Greater Accra Region were denied audience with the President. They were said to have turned to the Ridge residence of Mr. Rawlings instead, where they expressed dismay at their purported treatment at the corridors of power.
The aggrieved Greater Accra NDC persons recalled their yeoman’s contribution towards the victory of the party and therefore need a better deal. The President, through Mahama Ayariga, was not amused about the development, explaining that the issue is not about accessibility but the subject to be discussed, adding that Greater Accra has had a fair share of appointments.
President Mills was said to have been locked up in a marathon meeting with his mentor ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, a few days before the directive. It is believed that during the meeting, the issues of inadequate attention to the needs of cadres and others in the party were deliberated upon.
The President, as per the directive, has asked ministers and other appointees to give unfettered access to their offices to the foot soldiers and other members of the ruling NDC. The President himself, according to Hon Ayariga, has made space at all times to meet with constituency and regional executives each time he visited a region.
NDC faithful including former cadres, it would be recalled, held a special conference at the Conference Hall of the Public Records and Archival Administration Department (PRAAD), previously called National Archives, some months ago.
During the said meeting, a number of concerns were raised, among them the dismissal of heads of many public institutions and preferential job opportunities as reward for the efforts of cadres in election 2008.
Hon Ayariga subtly rebuffed the charge that cadres have not been given fair attention in terms of job offers, pointing at the appointment of Sam Garbrah, a cadre, as Administrator of the GETFUND and Kofi Portuphy as the National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).
Throwing more light on how certain appointments were made to debunk what for the President is a misconception, he observed that regional ministers were all appointed in consultation with the regional chairmen of the party.
In some cases, they were nominated by the chairmen and where there were oppositions, they were withdrawn, he added. In sharp contrast to the spirit of the press conference and directive of his boss, the Presidential Spokesperson gave the assurance that the Number One Citizen would not remove any civil servant from office, solely on account of party affiliation, to fulfill the demands of some party activists.
The President must engage in a successful balancing act to obviate another scathing rhetoric from ex-President Rawlings who had earlier complained about disenchantment among the party membership.
The strict application of the subtle directive could open the ruling party and for that matter, President Mills, to a barrage of attacks from a cross section of the citizenry. A number of public places of convenience were usurped by hotheaded party faithful on the assumption of power by the NDC.
This and the crude efforts to turn away staff of the Mass Metro Transport Company and others, attracted a public outrage in the early days of the current political administration. With the new directive, overzealous party persons in top positions could be unduly partisan, to the detriment of national interest.