On the 7th of January 2017, the newly elected President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, delivered his Inaugural Speech as the fifth President of the Fourth Republic in consonance with the tenets of established protocols of the State.
However, it has emerged that upon a careful reading of the written text of the said speech, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo failed to publicly acknowledge certain key sources of material information as contained in the speech in question. Further scrutiny so far reveals that several paragraphs in President Nana Addo’s inaugural address contained word for word liftings from speeches ever presented by President John F. Kennedy, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush Jnr. and President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minority in Parliament like most well-meaning Ghanaians is deeply saddened and outraged by this development which has brought Ghana shame and subjected us to intense ridicule.

This monumental plagiarism scandal which has now assumed international dimensions with major global news networks including CNN, BBC, AlJazeera, Reuters, Washington Post, Metro News, Nairobi News, Vanguard of Nigeria and Yahoo News all casting Ghana in bad light has clearly tarnished the image of Ghana abroad and brought upon this great nation untold embarrassment never witnessed in the aftermath of a Presidential inauguration.

It is depressing to observe that the goodwill that Ghana had been enjoying within the international community since our successful December 7 election and transition all appear to have been squandered by this singular act of sloppy intellectual theft.

It is indeed shocking that for a presidential campaign that anchored its core message on competence and incorruptibility will on its first day in office fall short of its pledge in such a spectacularly disgraceful manner.

If the NPP Government cannot exhibit competence in writing its own speeches, how can we trust them to have the competence to fulfil their numerous promises to the electorate? If the NPP Government engages in intellectual property theft on its first day in office, how safe are the resources of this country that have been freshly placed in their care?

Even more worrying is further evidence of plagiarism now coming to the fore pointing to a consistent pattern on the part of President Nana Akufo-Addo dating back to his days as opposition leader. Another video also in circulation exposes how then Flagbearer Akufo-Addo lifts statements during his 2013 post Supreme Court verdict address from Former US Vice President Al Gore’s speech after the US Supreme Court verdict on that country’s election dispute. We urge President Nana Akufo-Addo and his speech writers to be original and realize that they have now formed a Government and it is expected of them to put a stop to this unfortunate practice as it will be very difficult to get away as they may have gotten away in time past. We also expect the new President to exercise diligence and circumspection before reading or signing anything put before him to avoid even more severe consequences to our dear nation.

Considering that this inaugural address was made before us in Parliament in compliance with the Constitution and same having been captured by the Hansard Department as part of the official records of Parliament, the Minority demands that the now infamous plagiarized inaugural address be withdrawn and expunged from Parliamentary records with liberty to resubmit another speech not tainted with fraud and reflecting all attributable sources. The sanctity of Parliament must be respected and preserved and it is our expectation that the new Speaker of Parliament The Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye who thankfully is an academic of some repute will better appreciate the full ramifications of what is before us.

We also wish to remind President Nana Akufo-Addo that Ghana operates an Executive Presidency as clearly stipulated in Articles 57 and 58 of the Constitution and therefore the apology of his Communications Director notwithstanding, we expect him to take personal responsibility and assure the good people of Ghana that he will take concrete steps to ensure that this nation is spared any similar embarrassment in future.

Ghanaians expect of their leaders to, at all times, defend the good image of Ghana, therefore, it is our hope that we will all take steps to mitigate and rescue Ghana – the black star of Africa from the web of ridicule that our nation is being subjected to all over the world and we must not fail them.

Issued in Parliament House on Monday 9th January, 2017 in the year of our Lord on behalf of the Minority Caucus and signed by:

Hon. James Klutse Avedzi
Deputy Minority Leader.

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Shirley Ayorkor Botchway is Foreign Affairs Minister

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