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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I won't judge Mills - Kufuor

Former president Kufuor
Former president Kufuor

The immediate past Head of State of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, has refused to be dragged into passing judgement on the performance of his successor, Professor John Evans Atta Mills.

"That exercise is disruptive. It does not take the country anywhere. All it will succeed to do is to score cheap political point. Ghanaians, as a whole, will be the judge after his term," the former President said, in answer to the question of what grade he would give to his successor after one-and-a-half years in office.

"Knowing what I know - that it does not take a few years in office to translate all pre-election promises into concrete actions to reflect in the pockets of the ordinary Ghanaians - it is too tempting to be dragged into passing judgement on my successor. It will not be a realistic assessment because it is too early to do so," he said.

Mr Kufuor was speaking to the Ghanaian press on the sidelines of the just ended Highway Africa and Journalism Educators conference in South Africa. The conference, the largest gathering of African journalists and media educators from around the world, attracted some 500 participants.

Ex-President Kufuor was the Guest of Honour at all the major plenaries of the three-day conference. He also sat in panel to express his opinion about the practice of journalism as he saw it in his eight years in office, and democratic governance in Africa, generally.

With obviously NPP-NDC tensions in Ghana and the internal criticisms by some NDC powers-that-be at the back of their minds, the Ghanaian press used the opportunity of the interview to ask him to comment on statements that the Atta Mills government was too slow.

The former President linked the answer to the question with how he would grade his own government's performance over eight years in power.

"Given the limited number of years I had in government, it will not be fair to be asked to rate myself, especially because there is so much one could not do."

The Times interrupted the answer to wonder aloud how eight years in office could be termed "limited period".

To this, Mr. Kufuor referred to his government's shifting of the national agenda from Vision 2020 to Vision 2015. "I changed it because I was so convinced that target was achievable. Remember, also that I had declared before I came into office that I would do better in four years than what I came to meet. And then again, if you recall I had also promised that I'd strike oil in commercial quantities.

"This, certainly, is a tall order, by any measure.

“They were not my personal dreams. They were a vision for a country that was heavily indebted and that needed to get itself out of the woods. Tackling the problems posed their own challenges. Yes, there were challenges. That is why I put it that way - the 'limited period,' and the admission there is so much one could not do."

Nonetheless, said the ex-President, "even with all the challenges anybody who is objective would confess that the NPP administration scored high mark in its eight years in office".

Asked what he was missing, one and-a-half years out of office, the ex-President said, "Not much", but added quickly, "I only feel a bit sad about what, I suspect is the incipient intolerance between government in power and parties out of power."

Source: Ghanaian Times/Ghana

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