Akufo-Addo condemns ethnocentric comments by Mahama

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Friday described as unacceptable ethnocentric comments made by former President John Mahama, referring to people from his Akyem ethnicity as “Sakawa people”.

Mr Mahama shared on his Facebook page and made comments on an article that was written by Isaac Adongo, Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, in which the legislator alleged that the Agyapa Royalties deal was a fraud perpetuated on Ghanaians by the “Akyem Sakawa Boys and Grandpa”.

“I’m very very disturbed by this remark that the former President Mahama made that statement that Akyem people are sakawa people,” President Akufo-Addo said in a meeting with the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) who called on him at the Jubilee House, Accra.

“What can be the basis of such a remark. If it is a public act that you have a problem with, fair enough but that the people who are doing it are given this ethnic branding, it cannot be right…. That’s the kind of language that we don’t want in our politics,” the President said.

“If I was to get up to make a comment about Northerners or Gonjas, you can imagine the uproar there will be in the country.

“A Presidential candidate, a former President of Ghana, you can call a group of Ghanaians sakawa people and it involves the group from which the sitting President comes and that statement goes without a comment and in the same time, we hear these statements ‘let’s all try and bring the politics of insults to an end”.

The President said he was not happy that till date Mr Mahama had not been reprimanded for making that statement.

“The comment made by my opponent – ‘Akyem Sakawa people’ – I’ve not heard any public figure in this country, independents, ourselves or anybody comment on it. It’s completely unacceptable.

“This name-calling and insulting seems to be a feature of Ghanaian public life. But sometimes we will hope that when things come out, people will comment on them,” the President told the Catholic Bishops Conference.

The President said it was important when there were issues of contention,”we deal with each other on its merits, don’t worry ourselves whether the person is in government or in opposition or this or that or whether their political persuasion is fine.

“If what they have said is unacceptable, it should be pointed out that it is unacceptable; it goes for me.

“The President opens his mouth and says something which is unacceptable, he should be reprimanded and in same way opposition politicians, people in the public space, if they conduct themselves by their utterances in an unacceptable manner they should be brought to book; they should be reprimanded so that we all know that the goal that we are seeking is one about a sanitised public space where we debate issues, are the ones that dominate our public life.”

The GCBC, in the meeting, requested a Presidential Charter for the Catholic University College of Ghana, which is affiliated to the University of Ghana, Legon, and the University of Cape Coast, to enable the institution to award its own degrees.

The Conference also appealed for the timely signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and religious bodies on the partnership in education delivery to address the challenges they faced in the management of missions schools.

The GCBC also urged the President to give attention and the needed resources to independent state institutions to enable them to play thier roles effectively.

They also called on political actors to ensure decorum and courtesy to their political opponents and in their discourse before, during and after the General Election.


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