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Is Ayisi Boateng`s divisive statements going to be last?

It looks like politicians in this country never learn their lessons at all. In opposition they behave like angels, and go about attacking people in government for their irresponsible comments, but as soon as they win power, they also start to spew garbage on the electorates. Sometimes, their ethnocentric, corruptible, unenlightened and divisive statements are even worse than their predecessors.

It is a cyclical non-productive behaviour which, unfortunately, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo`s appointees have sadly not been able to break the chain. Instead taking cues from the political foibles of the fallen regimes, they have suddenly forgotten that one of the major negative public opinion against the then John Mahama`s led National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime which worked in favour of their New Patriotic Party (NPP) was the divisive comments and arrogant posture of the NDC appointees.

Suddenly some of the NPP appointees think they are omnipotent and infallible, as a result every statement they make is sacrosanct, and the citizens must always accept their views just because their sycophantic and die-hard supporters applaud to their whims and caprices. Living in the Fool`s Paradise as a result of the overwhelming electoral win of Nana Addo in the last elections, these appointees think that the support and the trust which Ghanaian voters gave to their president and the NPP to rule are in perpetuity.

Well, as Akan say, “Sɛwonimɔwuo a,hwɛnda,” to wit “If you do not know how death looks like, take a look at sleep.” For the past 8 years the NDC was in power and quite optimistic that power will never leave their hand; brimming with overflowing electoral confidence as a result of crisis in the NPP, they felt invincible and disrespected the voters. The end result is their current place as opposition party with heavy internal cracks. This should be a momentous guide for the appointees of the NPP, such as George Ayisi Boateng to behave himself as a responsible old man, grandfather and a diplomat.

NPP appointees and their irresponsible comments

Prior to the Ambassador Ayisi Boateng`s divisive and politically irresponsible comments which has attracted a cornucopia of criticisms from the Ghanaian public, two NPP deputy ministers and one minister had already taken “comfortable lead” in that direction following their appointments this year. Whilst two of the ministers were able to hold on to their portfolio after their irresponsible comments, a deputy minister resigned (or was forced to resign).

Following what NPP supporters described as quality appointments to high office of ministers of state by the president, one of the appointees, Mr. William Quaitoo, a Member of Parliament (MP) who had luckily grabbed the deputy ministerial position in the Ministry of Agriculture did the unthinkable. In his response to how the new NPP government was going to deal with the Army attacks on small-holder farms in the Northern Ghana, he argued that “farmers in the northern part of the country could not be trusted on claims about the destruction wreaked by the Fall Armyworm on their farms.” Mr. Quaitto, further intimated that the complaints and calls for compensation were simply a ploy to fleece the government off some money.

Instead of outright condemnation from every believer of equitable respect for members of every region in Ghana, as usual and quite characteristic of our petty partisan politics, his constituents and friends emerged from shadows to tout his good work and competence, whilst defending him against opposition and civil society`s condemnation. For the emerging sycophantic and aggressive youthful NPP supporters, Quaittoo did no wrong, and his comment was pardonable when juxtaposed against vile statements that drizzled out of the mouths of the NDC ministers when they were in power. Thus, the NDC supporters, especially those from the Northern Region had no moral right to ask the then deputy minister to apologize and resign.

Fortunately, sanity prevailed over sycophancy. The intense public pressure from bipartisan crowd (including objective NPP supporters, the clergy and the civil society organizations) forced the minister to apologize and later resigned.

One would have thought that the Quaittoo debacle would have served as a sign-post for other ministers to avoid irresponsible talk, but that was never meant to be. A fine gentleman and hard worker, Mr. Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, Deputy Minister of Trade and the former Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) boss during Kufuor’s era, also in his shocking and uncharacteristic arrogant posture described Ghanaians in the diaspora as “whiners, people that spend all the time whining all the time really get on people’s nerves” so they should “stop whining.”

As usual the sycophantic NPP brigade and bunch of unrepentant social media loyalists came to his rescue, attacking anybody who dared to criticise Ahomka-Lindsay for his irresponsible comments to group of people whose financial, technological (material) and social remittances had contributed to economic growth, through their positive impact on consumption, savings, and or investments. The water-tight defence mounted by the NPP supporters and sympathizers emboldened Ahomka-Lindsay to totally deviate from his “nice and well-brought up gentleman” to exude arrogance; insisting that there is nothing offensive about his “whining” comment to the diasporans.

Probably, fearing that his comment may have negative impact on the World Banks`s projection that Ghana may record 4.3 percent growth in remittances for the 2017 fiscal year, both Ahomka-Lindsay and the NPP, as a ruling political party, came out to apologize to the diasporans.

As if that was not enough, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, Minister for Zongo and Inner City Development, also brazenly told his Old Fadama Zongo community that politicians are there to serve their personal, religious and family interests, whilst party foot-soldiers are used as pawns on Ghana’s political terrain. This myopic and neo-patrimonial political trade which was endorsed by Alhaji Boniface had already received adequate intellectual discourse in this newspaper, Daybreak, with appropriate condemnation and recommendations. Other well-meaning Ghanaians also criticize the Zongo Minister for his tacit endorsement of neo-patrimonial politics which bothers on “scratch my back and let me scratch yours” principles, which leads to cross-partisan and national corruption, whilst voters and hard working party foot-soldiers suffers for nothing in regime changes.

Ayisi Boateng`s NPP job exclusivity mantra

Ayisi Boateng, just like chronic political zombie had still not emerged from campaign euphoria. He is still in 2016 electioneering period making campaign promises and re-echoing the promises to assure party supporters. For Ayisi Boateng, former Managing-Director of Kumasi Goil, member of the NPP National Council of Elders and an uncompromising Akufo Addo loyalist catapulted into diplomat, thanks to our politics of spoils, nothing on this earth will allow him to offer opportunity to any other Ghanaian whilst even a goat with NPP`s colour is around and needs help.

Hear him: “This government is doing its best to create job opportunities and me for instance, I told my people over there [that], it is because of NPP that I’m here, so the NPP man is my priority…I told them when NDC was in power it was Kwesi Ahwoi who was there, now we are in power, so Ayisi-Boateng is here with you. My topmost priority is the problems of an NPP person before any other Ghanaian take it or leave it.”

This time around very few sycophantic NPP supporters and political opportunists dared to defend Ayisi Boateng. The condemnation against his divisive speech was categorically resounding as Ghanaians from all shades of life joined in line to urge Ayisi Boateng to apologize and called on the president to sack him outright.

As arrogant as this old unprincipled political dude is, instead of apologizing, he laughed off the calls on him to apologize and boldly told Ghanaians that “there is nothing to apologize for” because his comments to prioritize the needs of members of the governing party were taken out of context and have been misrepresented by people for their own political end.

Ayisi Boateng only made a retreat on his non-intention to apologize only when the President dragged him to the Flagstaff House to give him intelligent dose of political sense which he lacks in his myopic cranium. Adroit politician and serious legal brain, the president succeeded to force Ayisi Boateng, who had been politically propelled to a status of Ghana`s ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, to finally come out of his self-imposed rat-hole to Ghanaians for making highly irresponsible and divisive statements.

It is no surprise that his apology has been described as “insincere”, “forced”, “coerced” and “awam” by some NPP sympathizing journalists and social commentators, the opposition parties, especially NDC, and certain civil society groups. It is also not unusual that, despite his apology, some members of these interested groups, especially certain senior journalists, clergymen, academics and some die-hard NPP loyalists have all called on the president to still sack him. Unfortunately, he is still at post!

Why was Ayisi Boateng adamant to apologize?

It should be emphasized here that all the irresponsible and divisive statements made by these four high ranking NPP appointees are not things Ghanaians are unaware of. These are statements which are always made by political party executives in their secret meetings with their supporters.

They bear their hearts out about their frustrations about other ethnic groups and regions, attitudes of returnee migrants and diasporans, taking care of their family members and cronies in other political parties and also offering jobs for the boys. It is the dirty aspect of our politics which is also the main ingredient that propels are governance. Many people enter into politics because these are the oxygen which fuel their desire and assure them of their expectations.

Ayisi Boateng, knows about all these and wondered why people are pretending as if what he had said was unthinkable. He had raised evidence to buttress his point that he himself, a petrol seller with no knowledge in diplomacy and international relations, had been appointed as ambassador because he invested his time, energy and money into Akufo Addo`s campaign. And others he knew in the previous NDC government and current NPP government had their appointment because of the same reasons that got him his mojo as ambassador to South Africa. No kumbaya! He found no reason to apologise for that.

Ayisi Boateng was also emboldened to avoid retraction of statement because of the initial support from some core Akufo Addo loyalists in the NPP who supported him. His base in Ashanti region also did not foist on him with any pressure to push him to back down. He had strong support from Chairman Wontumi who saw nothing wrong with Ayisi Boateng`s comment. For them, once one had the region`s votes it makes you indispensable and offer carte blanche to do certain things. This erroneous phenomenon ably spearheaded by Chairman Wontumi was the icing on the Ayisi Boateng`s cake.

I am sure Ayisi Boateng expressed the similar sentiments here to the president in his meeting with him at the Flagstaff House and probably the president might have agreed with him, but with a caveat that “you do not make such comments in the public.”

And who best qualify to give old Ayisi Boateng such an advice to apologize than Nana Addo whose comment about how Akans should support their own was misinterpreted by the opposition NDC as ethnocentric statement against him, in their famous catch-phrase: “Yen Akanfo.” It was the campaign mantra of the NDC in 2012 elections and haunted the president for years.

Time to sack Ayisi Boateng

Despite late apology, which is commendable, whether coerced or voluntarily, the President must still sack Ayisi Boateng to serve as a deterrent to others that his government will not tolerate politically divisive and verbal buffoonery from any appointee.

Ayisi Boateng`s statement was not only divisive and politically incorrect, but it has also placed serious embarrassment and credibility query on the Nana Addo`s government which has promised rule of law, equity and fairness in his delivery of the public goods to Ghanaians.

By allowing Ayisi Boateng to hang on to his position how are the Ghanaians who are not NPP sympathizers sure of Ayisi Boateng`s fairness in helping them in South Africa to bring investments to Ghana?

Governance is based credibility and trust, once people lose faith in the system and the personnel who runs it, problems arises.

Currently, Ayisi Boateng is a serious liability to Nana Addo`s government and his presence reflects lack of credibility and trust from the a section of Ghanaian public in this administration. The honest and sound political decision to take to bring public faith to this government as regime which belongs to every Ghana citizen is, SACK AYISI BOATENG NOW!

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