A group in the Northern region has called on the president, Nana Akufo-Addo to dismiss the Deputy Agric Minister William Quaitoo following some ethnocentric remarks he made about farmers in the north.
The deputy Minister speaking with Accra-based Starr FM described northerners as people who are “so difficult” to deal with.
He further described the farmers who were demanding compensation for crops destroyed by the army worm as people who cannot be trusted and seem to have intentions to defraud the government.
However, the deputy minister rendered an apology for his comments after many criticized him over the development.
But the Dagbon Youth Association said that the apology is not enough and must be rejected.
A statement issued and signed by Amadu Hassan Kapinta, its Public Relations Officer (PRO) said: “Dagbong Youth for Development, on behalf of all Dagombas want to state here that the minister’s comments were direct insults, unwarranted, shameful and in all categories, very stupid. If his 27 years with us did not show him anything but the ability to lie and to tarnish the image of the people who accommodated him for 27 years and even helped him learn their language, then that is unfortunate and tells the person he is. But the entire Dagbong want to thank him for the payment he is giving us for our hospitality to him.
“We the Youth of Dagbong have seen statements from the minister apologizing for what he said – I mean saying he is sorry for insulting us. Well he is forgiven, but we are sending a word to him that we shall not forget this until he is out of the Agricultural ministry. We do not hate him and don’t want him to be jobless; we just don’t believe that he is fit for the position he is holding. He has demonstrated enough hatred for us; he has exhibited enough prejudice towards us and he has shown his bias against us. We therefore cannot trust him to serve the needs of the northern and Dagbong farmer.”
PRESS RELEASE IN REACTIONS TO DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE’S INSULTS TO NORTHERNERS AND DAGOMBAS SPECIFICALLY – 08/28/2017
Good day Ladies and Gentlemen and thank you for taking time to go through our press release. On the 25th of August 2017, the north and specifically, Dagbong was hit with a heavy blow in the form of some unpleasant words used on the respected men and women of Dagbong. When the farming season started this year, we all heard stories, saw pictures and videos, and even physically witnessed the disaster that befell our farmers throughout the country. The fall army worm invasion of maize farms left farmers with broken hearts, and gave ordinary Ghanaians the fear of famine if nothing is done. The north was not spared, and Dagbong farmers had their unfair share of the wrath of the pets. We pray never to witness such a year again.
It was this issue that led Ghana’s deputy minister of Agriculture to insensitively and arrogantly insult the North and Dagombas by name. In replying to questions at a radio station, the minister stated that no farm has been destroyed by worms in Northern Ghana. He supported his claims that none of our fathers, mothers, sisters, and wives who are mourning the loss of their farms to the pets can substantiate it. In the midst of the numerous pictures, the videos and even the yelling voices of the peasant farmers who are losing their source of survival to the wicked worms, the minister said there is no evidence to support our claims.
He did not stop there; he went on to say that he has lived with Dagombas for about 27 years and knows how we behave – that we always lie to get some form of help from government. By this, he meant your father, mother, brothers, sisters, and wives are all liars and extortionists; thus, they will blackmail to get some money from government. That is exactly what he said! To let Ghanaians know that he knows Dagombas and is 100% sure of what he is saying, he buttressed his claim of knowing us by stating that he can speak Dagbani fluently.
He added that we are very difficult people to handle – of course we are. Because we are people with dignity, pride and a name to protect. So unlike those who will cover their pains because they want to save a figure, Dagombas will speak up and will say it as it is.
Sorry to say, we want to remind the mayor of Tamale who is a Dagomba that, the minister meant he lies to get money from the government. We also painfully regret to inform our respect chiefs; N yebi Dakpema, N yebi Gulkpe Naa, N yebi Lamashe Naa, N yeb Sagnari Naa and even the overlord of Dagbong that the minister said they are all difficult to deal with, and do lie just to get money from government.
One of the illogical submissions by the minister was that Ghanaian farmers should stop complaining because only about 1400 acres of farms have been destroyed by the worms.
“And I have told you it is only 1430 hectares, this is very negligible, a drop in the ocean…hectares of maize crops in Ghana, 1430 hectares scattered around, half acre, 2 acres…just very small. If you say we should compensate somebody, we want somebody have been…would have invested may be say…at least even 1000, 2000, 5000 hectares enntb…cedis or call it some amount…substantial amount of cedis.”
This is a transcript of what he said. The above quote tells you that this minister does not know what the agricultural sector in Ghana is made of, and has no sympathy for our peasant farmers in the villages. It is disturbing that this man took an oath to serve the very farmers he knows nothing about.
Very few Ghanaians are into commercial farming and are to own even 100 hectors of land. Most farmers are the peasant ones who survive on their one acre and 2 acre farms. To tell these farmers not to complain when their crops are attacked is the peak of ignorance.
We have had calls from all walks of the north, not just Dagombas who are at the center of this attack, to stand up in defense of our home. Tempers are fast rising to react to the Deputy Agric minister for his deliberate insults to the people of this region. As an association whose sole mandate is to solicit development for its people, we shall assist but not interfere with Government in its line of duty; however we would not sit aloof and watch the hard earned reputation of our people (Northerners) and specifically our home (Dagbong) dragged in the mud.
Dagbong Youth for Development, on behalf of all Dagombas want to state here that the minister’s comments were direct insults, unwarranted, shameful and in all categories, very stupid. If his 27 years with us did not show him anything but the ability to lie and to tarnish the image of the people who accommodated him for 27 years and even helped him learn their language, then that is unfortunate and tells the person he is. But the entire Dagbong want to thank him for the payment he is giving us for our hospitality to him.
We the Youth of Dagbong have seen statements from the minister apologizing for what he said – I mean saying he is sorry for insulting us. Well he is forgiven, but we are sending a word to him that we shall not forget this until he is out of the Agricultural ministry. We do not hate him and don’t want him to be jobless; we just don’t believe that he is fit for the position he is holding. He has demonstrated enough hatred for us; he has exhibited enough prejudice towards us and he has shown his bias against us. We therefore cannot trust him to serve the needs of the northern and Dagbong farmer.
Our farmers face several challenges every year. This will not be the beginning and that would not be the end. If the individual who is supposed to help us solve these problems is unfairly labeling us liars and extortionists, we are afraid when something serious happens and we need his attention, we will not get fair treatment.
On this note, we are calling on the Mayor of Tamale and the Regional Minister, to as a matter of urgency, reach out to the president with our demand that the deputy minister be relieved of his post. That he selects a minister who will not be bias against northerners in general and Dagombas specifically; that he selects a minister who understands the Ghanaian farmer and his needs, and that he selects someone who will be a minister for all.
We want to conclude by urging all Dagbong Youth to remain calm and wait for an action from the president. But let nobody take our leniency for a weakness of a sort. We want to state categorically that if we hear nothing from the president within a weak, we shall organize and demonstrate to the regional minister’s office to let him know we are tired and fed up of the unfair and tribal centered treatment of our kingdom. And we shall let our people know that they have nobody to fight for them when they are hit by any challenges in their farms.
God bless our homeland Ghana, God bless Northern Ghana, God Bless Dagbong Kingdom.
Dagbong Youth – Nangban yini, Tab yurlim ni Lebgimsim.
Signed By: Amadu Hassan Kapinta
Title: Public Relations Officer (PRO