The Minority in Parliament has called on President Akufo-Addo to sack the deputy minister for food and Agriculture William Quaitoo for making ethnocentric comments.
The deputy Minister in an interview with Starr News described farmers from the North who are demanding compensation for their crops destroyed by the army worm invasion as people who cannot be trusted and have intentions to defraud the government.
However, Mr. Quaitoo apologized after he was heavily criticized by residents in the Northern Region.
In a statement signed by the Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu Monday, the Minority described the comments by the deputy minister as unjustifiable and unacceptable.
“We find it totally unjustifiable and unacceptable that the Deputy Minister would label the entire people of the three Northern Regions who he says he has lived with for 27 years, as unreasonable people, accomplished and persistent liars, people with a high propensity for perpetrating fraud, people who all the time use these fraudulent acts to steal money from the state.
“…Should he fail to quit these office voluntarily and now, we call on the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, to fire him immediately as a mark of his revulsion against this unprovoked and reckless ethnocentric bigotry against the entire people of the three Northern Regions” the statement said.
The minority also called members of the majority to support their push for the removal of the deputy minister.
Below are details of the statement by the Minority
Statement by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament on
The Ethnocentric and Tribal Bigotry of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority in Parliament is shocked, outraged and dismayed by a statement in the media by a Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Hon. William Quaitoo denigrating and heaping profuse insults on the people of the three Northern Regions of the country.
In an interview with Starr FM an Accra based FM station last Thursday, the Deputy Minister made scurrilous and disparaging remarks about the people of the three Northern Regions to the effect that they are unreasonable and by the virtue of their unreasonableness, are not amenable to engagement in decent and reasonable discourse.
The Deputy Minister who said he was speaking from evidence of his 27 years sojourn In the North, went further to indict the people of the three Northern Regions as having a penchant for concocting and peddling falsehood, deliberate deceit and engaging in fraudulent activities to rip off the nation or steal state resources.
The Deputy Minister said he stayed in the North for 27 years and that he knows for a fact the unhealthy character of the people of the North and their difficulty in comprehending ordinary decent discourse and that there was no shred of evidence to support the claim of the farmers from the North that their farms were devastated by the Fall Army Worms menace.
That not only were these claims totally false but also that the peddling of these lies is ‘‘Just a way of stealing money from the government, that is what they do all the time”.
The Deputy Minister also disparaged our hard working farmers by describing them as not serious farmers deserving of any compensation from government either because their farms were too small or those affected by the Fall Army Worms were negligible or non-existent.
We find it totally unjustifiable and unacceptable that the Deputy Minister would label the entire people of the three Northern Regions who he says he has lived with for 27 years, as unreasonable people, accomplished and persistent liars, people with a high propensity for perpetrating fraud, people who all the time use these fraudulent acts to steal money from the state.
In other words the people of the three Northern Regions according to the Deputy Minister are lazy people who are also prone to peddle lies, perpetrate fraud and engage in constant theft of state resources.
We in the Minority first and foremost wish to state unequivocally that a significant number of our hardworking farmers have fallen victim to the devastating menace of the Fall Army Worms. Indeed the livelihoods of many families have been compromised by these Army Worm invasions across the three Northern Regions through the destruction of tens of thousands of hectares of maize farms.
While the Deputy Minister speaking for government may, without any sensitivity to the plight of our farmers seek to deny them just unfair compensation, he has no right to flaunt his arrogance and ignorance in their faces and call the entire people of the North unreasonable people, accomplished liars, lazy people, and thieves who persistently steal from the coffers of the state via these false pretences.
We see in this unjustifiable, bellicose and unprovoked attack on the people of the three Northern Regions, a deliberate and futile attempt by the Deputy Minster, to cover up the shameful and glaring act of incompetence and insensitivity of his ministry and ministers and the NPP government in the Fall Army Worm debacle.
This behaviour lends eloquent testimony to the saying that, an insincere man who cannot carry his load blames it on his head pad. This clearly is ethnocentric tribal bigotry which not only has no place in our dear nation but is actually dangerous and potentially destabilising of our society.
Let it be said for the records (and for the education of the Deputy Minister who after 27 years stay in the North has learnt nothing about the good people), that the people of the three Northern Regions are among the most honest, truthful, hardworking and hospital people in the country.
Indeed we daresay there are no people on the face of this earth currently, who are as hospitable as the people of the three Northern Regions. The fact that he himself says he lived with the people of the North for 27 years without suffering any untoward incident, is eloquent testimony to the good and kind heartedness of the people of the three Northern Regions.
The Deputy Minister is rather the ingrate who after living off the generosity of the people of the North for 27 years, is subjecting them to such profound level of insults, ridicule and indignity. For this ingratitude and profuse lies, God will deal justly with him in his own time.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, our attention has also been drawn to a statement purported to have been issued by the Deputy Minister apologising for this sordid act.
We think that this is grossly inadequate, insincere, hypocritical, an afterthought and therefore not deep enough to assuage the profound pain and huge damage done to the good image, integrity and respect of the people of the three Northern Regions.
We accordingly call on our colleagues on the other side to join us in unconditionally and unreservedly condemning this crass ethnic bigotry exhibited by Hon. Quaitoo.
Additionally, we urge all decent minded Ghanaians who cherish the unity, peace, order, stability and progress of our nation, to join us demand the immediate resignation of Hon. Quaitoo as Deputy Minister of State and Member of Parliament.
Should he fail to quit these offices voluntarily and now, we call on the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, to fire him immediately as a mark of his revulsion against this unprovoked and reckless ethnocentric bigotry against the entire people of the three Northern Regions.
For the avoidance of any doubt, we in the Minority wish to serve notice that we take this matter serious and will demand and take all legitimate, legal and appropriate measures to bring the originator of this offensive, mischievous and divisive statement to order in the supreme national interest.
Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media and God Bless Ghana.
Signed: Hon. Haruna Iddrisu