Flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC) Ex-President John Mahama says President Akufo Addo lost the right to complain about name-calling a long time ago after the latter called his predecessor and critics names.
President Akufo-Addo has expressed angst after ex-President Mahama posted an article on social media authored by Bolga Central MP Isaac Adongo on the controversial Agyapa Royalties deal which described some people in government as “Akyem Sakawa people”.
President Akufo-Addo who himself is an Akyem expressed disquiet over the piece in a meeting with the Catholic Bishops Conference at the Jubilee House. He consequently urged well-meaning Ghanaians to condemn the act.
“Archbishop, this name-calling seems to be a feature of Ghanaian public life. But sometimes, when things come out, we would hope that you will comment on them. The comment made by my opponent, “Akyem Sakawa people,” I have not heard any public figure, independent person, yourselves, comment on it. It is completely unacceptable. If I were to get up to make comments about Northerners or Gonjas, you can imagine the uproar that would be in the country.
“Presidential candidate, a former President of Ghana, you can call a group of Ghanaians “sakawa people”, and it involves the group for which the sitting President comes, and that statement goes without comment, and at the same time we hear all these statements, “let all try and bring the politics of insults to an end.” Occasions are given where specific comments can be made, nothing happens and it is lost in the generalities. We need to focus on this matter in an even-handed way,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“I am very disturbed by the comments the former President Mahama made about Akyem people as “sakawa people” and up till today, I have not heard any senior citizen of this country, lay, religious, civil society organizations (CSOs), public think tanks, reprimand him for that statement. What can be the basis of such a remark? This is a public Act that you have a problem with, fair enough, but then, the people that are doing it are given this ethnic branding. It cannot be right. This is the kind of language that we do not want in our politics,” the President added while he expressed his disdain for the comments of the flagbearer of the NDC.
But reacting to President Akufo Addo’s concerns in an interview aired on Agoo TV Saturday, September 5, 2020, Mr. Mahama stated that he’ll be the last person to disparage any tribe or ethnic group.
“In the first place, the National Chairman of my party,(NDC) Samuel Ofosu Ampofo is an Akyem and so are many leading members and supporters of my party. When I was President I appointed many Akyems in my government. The Head of our manifesto drafting committee Prof. Danso Boafo is an Akyem and they have all contributed to our government and forward march to recapture power in December in order that we can create jobs, spread development in an equitable manner throughout the country.”
Mr Mahama added: “Everybody knows me, I’ve been in politics and I will be the last to express any ethnic sentiments. In any case, President Nana Akufo Addo has lost the right to complain a long time ago. He was an opposition leader who called Presidents before him anything you can imagine including Prof. Do Little and he described somebody as ‘Simpa Panin’ and I don’t want to repeat some of the things he said. He is a President who has called his critics naysayers and Jeremiahs, I don’t understand on what standard he can be offended at this time because he has precedence of name-calling.”