NDUOM SPEAKS

…As he applies for job

Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom says he is looking for a job within the public sector. But why is the man who has offered jobs for more than 2,000 Ghanaians through many of his companies offer himself up for employment?

As a private business executive and international management consultant with a distinctive public service life as Minister of Public Sector Reform, Minister of Energy and Minister of Economic Planning and Regional Cooperation, which job will suit Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom?

Is it to serve as a board member? Today finds it intriguing if that is what he is looking for. This is because he was once the chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and also the chairman of the Millennium Development Authority.

TODAY: So what kind of job is Dr. Nduom applying for?

DR. NDUOM: I am applying for the position of President of the Republic of Ghana.

TODAY: But that is not an advertised job. You need to be voted for by Ghanaians.

DR. NDUOM: The job will soon be advertised by the Electoral Commission. It is about time we considered the job of President as a serious full time job.  The people who want it must be examined thoroughly.  Ghanaians must want someone to work assiduously on their behalf. Often people take voters for granted because they think they are voted for based on their party affiliation, manifesto, etc.  Quite often, they claim to have the men and women to deliver and very much on the lighter side, because they see themselves as good orators and good looking.

The results of such considerations are there for everybody to see. We have not always chosen the best from such a system. It’s about time we considered the running of a country as a serious business where the best person is engaged to manage it for superior results.

TODAY: We are in a country where voters vote mainly on party lines, how do you hope to persuade people to consider the individual applying for the job and not necessarily the political party?

DR. NDUOM: It is true that many have voted along party lines without consideration for the quality and experience of the persons competing for the job of President.  That is why I am seriously advocating for a shift in our political thinking and choices. Political parties play an important role in developing ideologies, organising people to vote and championing specific causes.

We must consider the power put in the hands of the one person we call President.  It is an individual who is sworn into office as president and not a political party or party chairman. It is the president who hires or appoints ministers, ambassadors, board members and municipal and district chief executives.  That one person becomes the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and oversees state universities.  It is the president who has the power to declare war or state of emergency.

I believe we can have the best out of our presidents if, by electing a person who will be willing to have proper consensus and also use the power of lobbying to get the machinery of government moving effectively.

I am not opposed to working hand-in-hand with Parliament without a majority there.  That might be a blessing to Ghana.  It can save us from the present arrangement in Parliament where the majority is seen as rubber stamping everything from the government in power, while the minority also opposes for the sake of opposition. I do not agree with people who think there would be political stalemate or constitutional crisis if a president does not have a majority in Parliament.

We need to use effectively a political tool like lobbying to reach consensus and not to outmuscle our way through our political strength in Parliament.  We should not lose sight of the fact that in neighbouring Benin, the current President, Yaye Boni, ran and won as an independent candidate.

TODAY: Until the paradigm shift, you need to make do with the current arrangement. But with only one seat in Parliament, do you think your party has what it takes to help you actualise your dream?

DR. NDUOM: Let’s understand each other here. I am for inclusive administration that uses the best talent the country has to run government.  We do not run a parliamentary form of government.  But consider that a few years ago, the newly sworn-in President of Zambia, Michael Sata’s party, had only one seat in parliament. Today, he is the President of the Republic of Zambia. Remember he broke away from President Frederick Chiluba to form his own party.

He did not waver in his belief; he worked hard and was dedicated to his cause and today that he has become President. All that we need is a group of dedicated men and women who are prepared and willing to work and support me and campaign for me to become President.  It can happen in Ghana.

TODAY: Often people argue that they would be wasting their vote if they vote for the CPP. Is this not the case?

NDUOM: Ask those people whether their lives have improved under the administrations that we have had since the inception of the 4th Republic.  Tell them they would not be wasting their votes because I believe the CPP does not lack the personnel and men to run the Ghanaian administration.

If you had followed the party’s Shadow Cabinet concept, the policy alternatives put on the table, you would realize that the CPP has the ability to deliver. The CPP has organized successful elections at the ward, constituency and regional levels and that culminated in the highly successful congress to elect new executives to steer affairs of the party for the next four years. The party is either rehabilitating or opening new offices throughout the country. We hope that by the end of the year, all offices would be actively working.

The party has also put into place mechanism to deal with indiscipline that caused the party during the 2008 elections. Any party member who goes out to cause disaffection within the party can now be expelled.

You realize that the last time, many people who would have voted for us got disillusioned when a few days to the general elections, executive members of the party went out to destroy the party and its presidential candidate. All these negative things went against us during the 2008 elections and these are some of the things we hope to deal with.  If we are able to deal with all these problems, people will have confidence and indeed vote for me.

More important, we now have many, many young men and women who are volunteering all over the country to support me and campaign to help erase the perception that I cannot win.  Indeed, those who have done surveys over the past two years can confirm that when 100 Ghanaians are asked that between President Mills, Nana Aku   fo-Addo and Papa Kwesi Nduom who can do the job of President the best, the answer is Nduom (Edwumawura) at least 60 of them.  If that is the case, then all we need is for all who are believers in my experience and ability to deliver to support and vote for me and I will win in 2012.

TODAY: Still we believe your party is small. It is also divided and it does not support you. How can you become a president on the ticket of such a party? 

NDUOM:  As I have said, we are working hard to broaden the base of our campaign.  I will run an all-inclusive campaign using everyone who believes in me.  The CPP is also working hard.  I believe by the end of the year, we will see the evidence. But which parties do not have internal problems? You remember what happened to the NPP when they were going for their presidential primaries in 2007 and 2010?

The latest NDC presidential race between President Mills and Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and the acrimony that characterized it is enough evidence of how you cannot get an incident-free political party. In the case of the NDC, the problems are still festering and we don’t really know when peace would be restored between the former First Family and the sitting President.

I agree the CPP has had its own share of the problems. However, what we need to work on is how to achieve unity in diversity. I believe this is what has kept the two parties going and we in the CPP should be working towards that.

I told you we’ve instituted measures to deal with waywardness and let me assure you that it is one measure that the new leadership will not renege on in dealing with anybody whose action goes contrary to the disciplinary code set by the party.

TODAY: How do you react to the suggestion that the CPP should concentrate on winning more seats in parliament and forget about the presidency?

NDUOM: That is a song being sung by those who want us to go down so they can benefit. Let me be clear.  Papa Kwesi Nduom will be a Presidential Candidate in 2012.  Ghana is not run by Parliament so if we are looking to change Ghana, that can only happen when Nduom becomes President.  Some people have realized the CPP is organizing itself to be more potent than it was in the 2008 elections. They have also realized that Ghanaians have seen through them and so the elections will be difficult for them in 2012.  As a result, they are resorting to all manner of tricks to get voters’ minds off us. But try as they would, they won’t succeed!  They may persuade some CPP people to play their game but I am resolute in my decision to use a broad-based platform to contest for the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana.

TODAY: But do you have the requisite qualifications for the job?

DR. NDUOM: I don’t know what you mean by qualification. But if it’s academic qualification, I believe I am more than qualified for the job. However I believe you are referring to my background both in private and public service. In my private life, like I told you earlier, I have created businesses that employ over 2, 000 Ghanaians in all the 10 regions of Ghana. I have also been very careful to lead a decent life and raise my children well to be responsible, respectful professional people. This is a very important aspect of the life of everyone who aspires to be president of Ghana.

In my public life, I took my time to go through the mill right from the grass root level. I was elected as an assembly member for the Akotobinsin Electoral area in Elmina. I also served as the Minister of Economic Planning and Regional Cooperation, the Energy Minister and the Minister of Public Sector Reform. I served as the chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). Let me state here that I thank former President Kufuor for offering me the opportunity to serve Ghanaians in his government.

I believe the issue we need to look at critically is not that one served two or three positions; but how one fared. My records in these ministries are there for all to see. As a minister of Economic Planning and Regional Cooperation, I wrote the poverty reduction strategy 1 that was meant to deal with the poverty situation in the country.

I am also the brain behind the current national identification system and made sure that Ghana managed to obtain the GH¢547 million Millennium Challenge Account grant.  I did the ground work for Osagyefo Barge and led reforms at the Government Business area, known as the Ministries, Death & Birth Registry, Passport Office and the Vehicle and Driver License Authority.

TODAY: DO YOU HAVE ANY PLAN TO UNITE ALL NKRUMAISTS

NDUOM: We want to unite all Nkrumaist parties. Yes! But we face reality that there are Nkrumaists in the NDC, NPP, America, Senegal, Togo, etc who will not and cannot join the CPP.  Kwame Nkrumah belongs to the world.  So we must not put ourselves against a goal we cannot achieve.  We have made gains in that area and will continue to work on it.  But total togetherness is not possible.

For now we are concentrating on building the CPP to compete favourably just like any of the so-called leading political parties. I believe when all the splinter groups are firm and strong on the ground, coming together as a well-knitted entity will enhance our political fortunes.