28 January 2013

Ghana: Tarzan Still Defiant

The loquacious founder and one-time presidential candidate of the defunct United Ghana Movement, Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby, popularly known as 'Tarzan', appears to have developed thick skin to the harsh criticisms being thrown at him by his fellow party members, who are accusing him of trying to bring the name of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) into disrepute and public opprobrium.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, who, together with Nana Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the NPP, Kweku Baako Junior, and a host of others formed the Alliance for Change, a pressure group that almost brought Jerry John Rawlings government to its knees in the late 1990s, recently issued a press statement, where he attacked the leadership of the NPP, over the latter's decision to challenge the 2012 elections results in court.

The electrical engineer and former Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority (VRA) did not end there, but also took swipe at the party's minority in Parliament for refusing to participate in the vetting of ministers-designate in the august House.

"The NPP is boycotting parliamentary bye-elections, because it is in dispute with the Electoral Commission (EC). Why not extend this illogical and nonsensical act by asking all the party's MPs in all of the constituencies affected by the 4,700 polling stations cited in the Supreme Court petition to step aside from Parliament, pending the determination of the case.

"Whilst we are at it, let the NPP in Parliament abandon the farce of taking part in the vetting of ministers nominated by the President whose election they do not recognise again until such time as the Supreme Court pronounces in the petition. Also, since it is only President Mahama who can commit the public funds of Ghana, let the NPP in Parliament suspend its participation in Parliament, since that body's agenda is only to debate and approve policies and programmes which impose a charge on the public purse of Ghana," Tarzan noted in his controversial press statement.

In a statement issued by the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) and the Young Patriots, both of which have strong leanings towards the NPP, they condemned Tarzan for trying to thwart the efforts of the party to seek justice in court.

"The recent diatribes of Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey (TARZAN) are symptomatic of a lonely outcast whose hallucinations, actions and inactions have alienated him from a group. Tarzan lost his right to call himself a founding member, and even a member of the New Patriotic Party, when he formed his United Ghana Movement (UGM) and run for election in 1998."

"Let's also be reminded that Tarzan did run to become the chairman of the New Patriotic Party and lost miserably to current chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey. Not satisfied with his defeat, he attempted to have the results ruled in his favor in court. The same Tarzan contradicts himself by calling on the NPP not to resort to the courts. It should be noted that after this shame, Dr. Wereko-Brobby invited further misery on himself, by seeking to contest Nana Addo and Alan Kyerematen in 2010 for the flagbearership of the NPP.

"There is no evidence to the effect that Dr. Wereko-Brobby was ever readmitted into the NPP, or him leaving his UGM party. Dr. Wereko-Brobby is a selfish individual who sees himself as the best, and sees nothing good in others. Tarzan's attempt to remind us of his inalienable right to the NPP, through Victor Owusu, is nothing but an indication that he has lost his right and standing in the UP tradition. In his own right, he has no place in UP history, and so has to rely on his uncle. He should, however, note that the UP tradition does not belong to any one group or family. You will have to make your own bones to be counted," the Young Patriots response noted.

But, using Joy FM's Newsfile as a springboard, Dr. Wereko-Brobby hit back at his critic, describing them as people who had no cogent argument to proffer against his disputed press statement. According to him, he had a history of disagreeing with the leadership of the NPP, and that he would not support issues that are considered as wrong.

According to him, a former chairman of the NPP, Mac Manu, who was at the 'strong room' of the Electoral Commission, signed to certify most of the presidential and parliamentary results, and yet the party is in court challenging the same results. He questioned the mindset of the former NPP chairman at the time he was signing to certify the results.

The Communication Director of the NPP, Nana Akomea, who was in the studio with him, interjected and questioned why he went to court to challenge the results, after losing terribly in Kumasi in his quest to become the National Chairman of the NPP. He noted that the attack being launched against the party by Tarzan looked strange, because he also took the same advantage of going to court when he felt that he had been cheated in an election involving the chairmanship of a party. "Was there logic in that decision to go court?" he asked.

Nana Akomea disagreed with the host that the Young Patriots had unnecessarily attacked Dr. Wereko-Brobby, insisting that "the words he (Tarzan) used were thrown back at him." The Communication Director's response to his criticism did not, however, bother the former CEO of the defunct Ghana @ Secretariat, as he launched another blistering attack on the National Chairman of the party, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, for trying to justify the boycott of the vetting of ministers by the minority MPs.

On Thursday last week, the Ghana Bar Association issued a press statement, where it appealed to the leadership of the NPP to quash its decision not to allow NPP MPs serving on the Appointment Committee of Parliament to participate in the vetting of the ministers.

In a response sent to the GBA, the National Chairman of the NPP, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, noted that the presidential and vice-presidential candidates and the National Chairman of the NPP were challenging the declaration of the election of the President in the Supreme Court.

This challenge, he noted, was fully supported by the NPP, as per the decision of the National Council of the party, which chose to go to the law court and not onto the streets in a violent challenge to a disputed election. According to him, whilst the challenge is pending, NPP Members of Parliament would engage fully in the work of Parliament.

"They will participate vigorously in the everyday business of Parliament. They will be involved in all legislative functions, and assist in carrying out Parliament's oversight responsibility of the Executive and public purse. In the normal course of Parliamentary business, NPP MPs will scrutinise and contribute to the making of the budget, study and help pass bills, and deliberate loan agreements and all financial transactions involving the state," Jake noted.

The National Chairman, however, gave a caveat that "Whilst the challenge is pending, NPP members of Parliament will, however, not participate in any activities or deliberate on matters that involve the constitution of President Mahama's government, like vetting of Ministers of state. The decision was taken by the National Executive Committee of the NPP in full consultation with the NPP Parliamentary group, who are integral to the NPP."

This decision, however, irked Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby who described it as disingenuous. According to Tarzan, the explanation given by Jake flies in the face of the law.

"You simply cannot say you will not vet ministers, but you will participate in discussions on loans, budget or whatever. Budgets are brought by the President, everything that happens in Parliament issues from the initiatives of the President, who holds the executive authority," he noted.

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