The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has officially reacted to media reports about his presidential ambition.
In a press statement dated March 18, 2021, signed and issued by him, Dr Afriyie Akoto said per the constitution of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), nominations have not been opened for interested candidates to announce their intentions to contest for any position in the party.
“It is therefore unfortunate for anyone to seek to create the impression that I held a meeting to announce my bid for the flagbearership position of the party,” he indicated.
Without stating categorically whether he was interested in the position when it comes up for consideration, Dr Afriyie Akoto stated: “I have taken due notice of an information making rounds on both traditional and social media claiming to be summary of an outcome of a meeting held with party executives in the Ashanti Region ‘to announce my bid for the flagbearer position of the New Patriotic Party.”
“The narrators for reasons best known to them, mischievously sought to court public disaffection for my person by making outrageous claims,” he said.
Confirming he indeed met some NPP executives in Kumasi, he wrote: “I decided to go to Kumasi and have some rest during the weekend and try to recover from a fever I was running after I attended the budget reading in parliament on Friday 12 March, 2021."
"As a former member of parliament in the region and as a senior member of this government, I accepted to grant audience to some party executives who had been making calls for a meeting to discuss matters concerning the welfare of the party. However, such meetings end with an amount given as a transportation to guests who came from far and near.”
Dr Afriyie Akoto said the “narrators claim that I spent up to GH¢1,000,000.00 at the said meeting to announce my bid for the position. This is not only incorrect but it could only be in the imaginations of the one making those claims. Meeting 17 constituency executives for each of the 47 constituencies in my house meant I was receiving about 700 delegates."
"My house does not have the capacity to accommodate such numbers. How therefore can one assume that I paid almost one million Ghana cedis to these NPP executives in one day?
“Furthermore, the narrators claimed I promised to distribute tractors and motorbikes to party executives. This is another lie. Being mindful of the fact that these tractors are purely meant for farming purposes, I will never use their allocation or distribution for my personal political ambition.
Processes for the acquisition and distribution of these equipment are clearly spelt out and there is no way it will be compromised for other purposes apart from being given to deserving farmers and farmer groups in the country.”
“Another regrettably claim by the narrators is that I sought to ride on the back of my long-term relationship with President Akufo-Addo to prosecute my political ambition. It is no secret that I have a very close relationship with President Akufo-Addo which predates our political careers.
But it can be a figment of one’s imagination to assume that I will put the President in such an uncomfortable situation by using his name to campaign. Especially when he has issued a strong warning to members of his government to refrain from such conducts.
“I think my relationship with the President should rather be the reason why I should continue to give off my best in order to help make his second term a continued success. It is therefore regrettable to note that I with this understanding, would be the one to cause distractions and try to derail the focus of our government by announcing my ambitions at this time.
There is a deliberate effort by my detractors from within and outside my party to cause disaffection between me and the party and between me and the government for which I have worked so hard in the last four years.
Such people think the easiest way to go is to introduce tribal politics. This issue about roads in Ashanti Region is a typical example of the tribal politics I am referring to.
"As people who know me would attest to, I don’t subscribe to tribal politics."
Concluding, Dr Akoto reiterated, “I believe in decent political discourse devoid of insults, lies and mudslinging.”
“I will therefore encourage each and everyone, including the media, to refrain from acts that have the tendency to derail the historical gains made by the government” and ensure continuation in development.