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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pianim is a disappointment - Jake

Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, NPP Chairman
Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, NPP Chairman
The National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, has lashed out at Mr. Kwame Pianim, a founding member of the party, for his "very unfortunate" comments that sought to suggest that all NPP presidential aspirants, except Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, are corrupt.

Spokespersons for the various candidates have already condemned Mr Pianim. The renowned economist stirred the hornets nest when he chaired the campaign launch of Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng as NPP presidential candidate on Wednesday. At the short function, he also urged delegates to elect a leader and not just a flag-bearer because “any idiot can hold the flag”.

But Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey says his comment would cast a slur on the reputation of the other candidates.

When asked by host of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah whether he was surprised by the comment, he replied “[I am] disappointed...because I think it is a very poor phraseology…it will seem to cast aspersions about the generality of the candidates that the NPP put out.”

The party Chairman assured that a steering committee on other matters is scheduled to meet today, Thursday, and would definitely consider Mr Pianim’s utterances and come out with their “official reaction” through the NPP’s General Secretary.

Even though Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey conceded that people are entitled to freedom of speech, he reminded people that where their freedom ends, that is where another person’s own begins.

“I don’t think that freedom of expression means you can say anything you like about anybody without having some justification for what you say.”

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said, from the excerpt he has heard from what was said, it has the potential of bringing the party into disrepute.

“I do believe that politics is a calling as the churches, as teaching is, as medicine is, and it is an area where those who want to offer leadership often find themselves. I don’t think we should just turn round and condemn the whole class of politicians in this sort of way.”

The party chairman had a word or two for Mr Pianim and the like: “We should all consider our words carefully before we utter them in public, because once a word comes out you can’t put it back again.”

Meanwhile, the Editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper, Mr Ben Ephson, who is also a political watcher, says the party is only “being panicky”, and described the swift responses as “kneejerk reactions”.

He dared the party to expel him, if they can, should Mr Pianim refuse to apologize as people have asked him to do, adding that any attempt to “punish him will backfire”.

He rather urged the party to concentrate on the impending presidential primary slated for August 7.

Mr Ephson however, asked Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, who has since refused to disassociate himself from Mr Pianim’s statement, to focus on his message of unifying the party, and avoid capitalizing on the corruption assertion.

Story by Isaac Essel/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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