One of the 19 aspirants of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the position of flag-bearer for the 2008 General Elections, Prof. Mike Ocquaye, has denied media reports that he ever described a fellow contestant as a hypocrite.

According to the Independent newspaper, The Chronicle a couple of weeks ago reported that Prof. Mike Oquaye had allegedly described former Defence Minister, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor as a hypocrite for calling on all the other aspirants to submit themselves to a forensic audit of their stewardship at their various ministries.

According to the newspaper publication, Dr. Addo Kufuor made that comment when he became the 14th contestant to file his nomination (two weeks ago) at the NPP headquarters in Accra.

The paper then went on to report that, Prof. Mike Oquaye lambasted the former Defence Minister, and charged that, he has no authority whatsoever to call on other contestants to submit themselves to forensic audit or render accounts for their stewardship.

According to the newspaper report, Prof. Oquaye then went on to describe the Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia as a hypocrite.

When Garden City Radio in Kumasi called on Prof Mike Oquaye to ascertain the basis for such an assertion, his response was quick and to the contrary. He insisted that he never said the Manhyia MP was a hypocrite, and added that, what he actually said was that, Dr. Addo Kufuor was a bold and God-fearing man to have submitted himself to forensic audit.

Reacting to the newspaper publication, Prof Oquaye, who is the MP for Dome- Kwabenya, said, he suspected The Chronicle seemed to have plans to create confusion and conflict among the camp of NPP presidential aspirants, for, it is the same paper that recently carried a report about President Kufuor having a meeting with some party people and talking to them about Mr. Alan Kyeramaten, who is one of the aspirants, in Kumasi.

When asked for his comment on Dr. Addo Kufuor calling on other aspirants to also submit themselves to a forensic audit, the former ambassador to India said, no one has the right or authority to call on anyone to submit to forensic audit when an official leaves office, the only one that can do that is the Auditor-General, he explained.

According to him, he took the advantage to explain the issue of forensic audit to Ghanaians, including mediamen who came to support him when he organised the soccer tournament to raise funds for the flood victims in the three northern regions.

And he did that on the opening day in Sunyani because of what he termed ”persistent media harassments” and pressure on him and his fellow aspirants to emulate what Dr. Addo Kufuor said he had done.

According to him, he even congratulated the former defence minister for taking that bold step, and described him as a vigilant, God-fearing, an achiever, a visionary and solution-oriented personality, who has received tremendous applause from the rank and file of the NPP and Ghanaians as a whole.

He said, as a matured politician, he cannot tarnish the image of any of his fellow aspirants vying for the same position, since they are all aiming for one thing, and added that, he has rather always cautioned his colleague aspirants to stay away from character assassination while on their campaign trails.

Prof Oquaye also described the cordial relationship between Dr. Addo Kufuor and himself as solid as a rock, and also stressed that, the last time the two of them met was early last month at the Castle when President Kufuor invited them and called on them to do clean politics.

He said, after the meeting they even cracked jokes as usual, and today the only thing forestalling a meeting between them is that each is busy touring the length and breath of the country and campaigning.

Prof. Oquaye pointed out that, no one can destroy the relationship between Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor and himself or any other person in the elephant family for that matter.

On how his campaign was going, the 63-year-old quickly answered that, everywhere he goes he receives a rousing welcome and is optimistic that the NPP delegates would elect him at the December Congress as the party’s flag-bearer for the 2008 General Election.

Source: The Independent