The editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, has retracted comments describing traditional rulers, who openly declare support for sitting presidents, as unwise.
Mr Baako had on Wednesday April 20, 2016, on Peace FM’s morning show, Kokrokoo, said: “Any chief who has gone out there to categorically endorse a president is not wise. No wise chief speaks that way.
“These chiefs go out there and cannot just commend government for the projects they have embarked on which are benefiting their people, but proceed beyond that to endorse them; it is so irritating.”
Mr Baako’s criticism of the chiefs came on the back of the endorsement of President Mahama’s second term bid by Okwahumanhene, Nana Asiedu Agyeman III, when the president visited the Eastern Region on his ‘Accounting to the People’ tour a week ago.
But speaking as a panellist on Joy FM’s Newsfile Saturday April 23, the journalist had initially defended his comments saying: “I chose my words carefully. I said what the chiefs were doing, they lacked wisdom; what they were doing showed that they were not wise. I didn’t say they were foolish; I didn’t insult them. I know a personal attribute, one critical attribute of chiefs and chieftaincy, is wisdom.”
He had explained that there had been times that chiefs had been dethroned for political reasons under Ghana’s first republic, some being reinstated only after the 1966 coup, adding that under General Acheampong’s regime, chiefs were engaged in the worst form of “sycophancy”, when they lined up to declare support for the coup that brought the military officer to power.
But after other panellists expressed a unanimous view that he could have been more diplomatic with his views, Mr Baako beat a retreat and issued an apology.
“First of all, I did not single out any particular chief, but of course some chiefs have been talking, so, I expect people to have been looking at those chiefs. If people think my language, choice of words, the kind of language I used, [were] offensive and hurt their sensibilities and sensitivities, I sincerely and humbly apologise for the choice of words,” a repentant Baako said.
He, however, urged chiefs to “rise up to the occasion” by steering clear of partisan politics, adding: “Let the attributes expected of them reflect what they do, especially in the public domain”.
Article 76 of Ghana’s 1992 constitution prohibits chiefs from getting mired in active politics.