President John Dramani Mahama has registered a fresh condemnation against an old statement reportedly made by his political opponents that the presidency should be the preserve of regions endowed with natural resources.
A voice on tape, ascribed to former Finance Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, and believed to have been covertly recorded in a meeting, went viral in 2015 after it was captured telling an anonymous audience that it was out of place for citizens from regions without the gifts of nature to be gifted with such political power as the presidency.
President Mahama started his three-day campaign tour of the Upper East Region Sunday with a sharp disapproval of the said statement, telling a crowd of supporters from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) that it was a “dangerous talk” and openly challenging the leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to condemn it.
“Can you imagine a leading member of a political party says that the presidency is reserved for persons who come from resource-rich regions? What kind of talk is that? What kind of talk is that? Ghana is a unitary state and we are all one people no matter where we come from. And when a leading member says a thing like that, the leader of the party does not come out and condemn him. It means he agrees with him- that the leadership of this country is reserved for only people from resource-rich regions.
“And so if you come from a poor region like Upper East Region, it means that you cannot aspire to the leadership of Ghana. That is a very dangerous talk. And the earlier it is nipped in the bud- by the leader coming out and making a clear statement on it- the better. We will not accept that type of discrimination in this country,” President Mahama said, visibly angered. An equally disturbed-looking crowd heaved a sigh of displeasure each time the president paused as he attacked his political opponents.
Afoko’s suspension shows Akufo-Addo’s intolerance
The rally interaction also saw the president refer to the indefinite suspension of the NPP’s National Chairman, Paul Afoko, as indicative of a presidential candidate who lacks the leadership quality to work with everyone despite their differences.
“Our own brother fought and managed to get the chairmanship by unanimous votes, free and fair. He was voted for by the congress. Somebody says I can’t work with you and so because of that you removed him from his chairmanship. A mark of leadership is to be able to work with anybody. Human beings are not all the same. We have different [ways of thinking].
“God put us in diversity. If you asked all of us what idea we have about solving a problem, we won’t have the same solution. But it doesn’t mean that we are not equal. We are equal. And as a leader you must be able to work with every single person,” the president spelt out.
NDC is Ghana’s most united party- Mahama
Individual differences, according to President Mahama, also obtain within the NDC. But he said the party had remained the most united political group with a leader who had learnt to appreciate divergent views.
“As a leader you must be able to work with every single person. And that is what I have tried to do in NDC. In NDC, it is not everybody I agree with. But I must learn to work with them. That’s why today NDC is the most united, most organised, most efficient political party in Ghana. It is a pity today our brothers have a lot of internal problems within their party. And that is why the people of Ghana cannot hand over political power to them. A house divided [against] itself cannot stand.
“If you cannot create the internal cohesion within your own party, it is very difficult to hand the power of leadership of a whole country into your hands. You must cure your own internal division first. And when you have cured them, Ghanaians can have the confidence to give power to you. But when you are divided, half of the party is sitting somewhere, the leader, too, is going somewhere with the other half, they don’t know where he is going to, it is dangerous to put political power in such a situation,” he stressed.
Those who preach violence will be consumed by violence- Mahama
The president also sent a word of comfort to the family of the late Upper East Regional Chairman of the NPP, Adams Mahama, who died in 2015 after a midnight acid attack.
“We must also extend our condolences to the family of [Adams Mahama] who was killed in an acid attack. I wish his wife and his family well. And we will continue to pray for his soul. There is no place in our political environment for this kind of violence. And those who preach violence will be consumed by that violence.
“Ours is a peaceful political party. We believe that the will of the people must be done and that no amount of political power is worth the blood of one single Ghanaian. You cannot shed the blood of the people that you want to come and rule. That’s why I will always admonish our supporters. You must not be provoked. People will attempt to provoke you. People have diverse opinions. Sometimes, when I’m passing, I see a group of our fellows winding their hands [for change of government] and I wave at them. They are Ghanaians. I’m their president and I will continue to be their president by the grace of God and I will be a leader of all Ghanaians,” he emphasised.