Posted on Monday, 26 January 2009 15:05

Interview: John Evans Atta Mills, President of Ghana

By Nicholas Norbrook and Patrick Smith


The Africa Report: What does the National Democratic Congress stand for today?


?President John Atta Mills: We are all social democrats, and we believe it is the responsibility of the state to provide for the marginalised and that selfless service to the people should be our immediate objective.?


What role should former President Jerry Rawlings play in the NDC??


He is with us. There is really no problem. If there is any argument – and of course it’s fuelled by our opponents – it’s in respect to what role President Rawlings should play in our party. That is an internal matter; we have to decide how to tap his obvious strengths. They should not tell us what role President Rawlings should play.?


You have promised a cut in fuel tax for everyone, rich and poor – would it be better to target assistance??


People are suffering; we can make it up with better tax collection. You go to the police and they will tell you how many people are evading customs duties, the number of people who are getting exemptions from tax.?


What are your policies for promoting economic growth?


?Agriculture will be our absolute number one priority, to make sure our dams are working, our irrigation plans are in place. We have to make sure that rice will be one of the crash projects, maize another and vegetables another. We have to encourage local industry, like poultry – it’s collapsed because we are allowing cheap imports.


?How would you fight corruption?


?You have to give protection to those who initiate the crusade against corruption. You have to give them political support.?


Is drug money getting into the political system??


Yes, clearly it is. I made a statement that I’m not going to allow drug barons to take over this country. It’s getting into our political system. I think you must lead by example. You must not only bark, you must bite, and you must let the law take its course. Just stamp out the trade. We have to do it.


Back to Ghana, The harsh realities after the closest vote

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