In the face of bribery allegations, how much is President John Mills really using for his campaign? The NDC national delegates� congress scheduled for Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region from July 8-10 2011 has not being without its fair share of problems.
It all started in Tamale back in 2010, when the National Executive Council of the NDC had not even decided when to hold the congress. An NDC group, who called themselves Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (FONKAR) displayed large banners indicating their call on the former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings to lead the NDC to the 2012 general election, because, according to them, majority of the party people at the grassroots had become disenchanted with the Mills� led administration and will want to see a change.
Up until the former first lady made her political ambitions publicly known, both she and her close associates claimed to be oblivious of the activities of FONKAR and how posters bearing her picture were pasted in some parts of the country.
As calls for her to contest the presidency intensified, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, First Vice Chairperson of the Ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), resigned her position to contest the party's forthcoming presidential primaries, ending months of speculation that she would contest President John Evans Atta Mills for the party's ticket.
Her campaign commenced with her picking up of nomination forms from the party�s headquarters but it has not been a smooth journey. Members of FONKAR and their counterparts from the other side, Get Atta Mills Endorsed (GAME), have been engaging each other in attacks and counter attacks.
Then there are complaints of intimidation and bribery emanating from the camp of Nana Konadu against the President�s camp. The issue propelled to the extent of Nana Konadu�s camp alerting both the National Executive Council of the party and the Electoral Commission to some electoral anomalies they believed would hinder the free and fair process of the election. By the said letter, they alerted the electoral commission �to stand firm and ensure a free, fair and democratic election devoid of any acts of intimidation�.
The allegation of bribery and corruption seems to give credence to a purported tape on which was revealed how much President John Mills intended spending on his campaign.
A couple of weeks ago, an alleged GHC90 million �secret tape� threw the ruling NDC into a state of frenzy as the camp of President Mills was alleged to be planning to use the said amount to ensure his victory in the July congress (by greasing party delegates). The �accused camp� bluntly denied the allegations calling it �unfounded� and �untrue� while members of the ruling government took swipes at Mr. Herbert Mensah, for perpetrating such �lies�.
President Mills in an interview with Asempa FM- a local radio station, denied the allegation and called on National Security to immediately investigate the matter. The President laughingly said if he had access to such funds, he would rather use it to complete the various road construction projects ongoing in the country.
Mr. Herbert Mensah, a close friend of the former first couple, had his own share of �bashing� as remarks came in from all angles. With the matter being of National interest, Mr. Mensah was invited by the Bureau of National Investigations to answer questions on the tape he claimed to have in his possession.
As the BNI seems to slack in this �all-important� investigation the question still remains; how much will President John Mills spend on his campaign?
Michael Teye Nyaunu, a campaign coordinator for Nana Konadu 2012 once claimed to have witnessed the distribution of motor bikes and GHC4000 as bribe to some delegates. Snippets of information gathered points to the fact that, some delegates are being bribed and coerced into retaining the President as leader of the NDC.
Big shots within the party have been captured on tapes warning delegates to vote massively for President John Mills or risk being ostracized from the party should he win the slot.
�Let us compare Mr Rawlings� 19 years to President Mills� two. After two years, if he has done all these, need we change him? My brothers, voting at the congress is going to be done on regional basis. Each region will be assigned a box. The way we received President Mills on his tour, let us show that the Ashanti region loves him and vote for him,� Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Board, Dr Stephen Opuni was heard on a tape addressing delegates in the Ashanti Region.
Though some delegates would not disclose the exact amount they were given, they have admitted receiving some money as compensation for �sacrifices� they have made to the NDC.
�I cannot tell you anything about money, but I wouldn�t deny the fact that we were given money, all of us. I personally took the money as compensation for my sacrifices for the NDC when we were in opposition. You can ask the rest of the delegates how much they were given�, said a delegate in the Ashanti Region shortly after President John Mills had met them.
Another revealed on condition of anonymity, �I was part of the meeting; I was given GHC3000 as gift from the president. We had meeting with him at the residency. He said he was there to thank us for supporting him. I think all the delegates who were there were given money, after we pledged to vote for him in Sunyani. They told us the money is not to bribe us but it is an appreciation for our support to the president. Even though I took the money, because since we came to power, I have not been given anything, my vote is my secret and I will decide when we go to Sunyani next month.�
Are these revelations from Mr. Teye Nyaunu and some delegates buttressing Herbert Mensah�s 9GHC0 million tape claims or are they just �unfounded� and �untrue� rumors as the President and his GAME people will want us to believe?
Like they say, there is no smoke without fire� does the old saying "in every rumor, there is an iota of truth� holds true here?
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