Former Minister of finance Yaw Osafo-Maafo is a “coward”, the Eastern Regional branch of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said in a statement, over his Office’s denial that he ever made ethnocentric comments recently, when he met some party members and leaders in the Region, to the effect that even though CLOSE to 90 per cent of Ghana’s resources are concentrated in Akan-dominated areas, it is non-Akans who come from areas without resources that are at the helm of governance.
The former finance Minister’s Office issued a statement on Monday February 23, 2015 saying his voice was “doctored” for “mischief”.
But the NDC’s Eastern regional branch has said Mr Osafo-Maafo is taking the easy way out, rather than being man enough to admit his folly. A statement signed by the NDC’s regional secretary Kevor Mark-Oliver said: “We wish to state that we are highly disappointed in the former Minister and Member of Parliament for Akim Oda for this cowardice move, which only erodes the respect some of us had for him hitherto.”
A tape, which contains a male voice resembling Osafo-Maafo’s was recently unearthed, and is heard telling a gathering at Koforidua that: “…You have all the resources, but you have no say in the management of your resources, and that is what is happening. Your development depends on the one who has no resources.”
“You can’t say this openly,” he cautioned the Council members of the party’s Eastern regional branch when he met them, but added that they are at liberty to talk about it among Asantes.
“We should protect ourselves, we should protect our income. No one, who is the source of income, the source of revenue, the source of resources; allows another person without those resources the chance [to rule over them].
“It’s never done anywhere in the world. In the world over, it is the group with THE MOST resources that rules and not the other way around,” the voice said.
In the estimation of the voice, “86.5 per cent of resources in Ghana come from five regions: Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Central. This is where 86 percent of the resources of Ghana come from… And the oil was also discovered in the West. It will change the formula to about 90 per cent. We cannot ignore these five regions. We should not,” the voice added.
In the denial statement signed by Special Assistant Emmanuel Bediako Mamfe, the former Flagbearer-Aspirant’s Office said: “Some of his remarks have been distorted as advocating tribal or ethnic sentiments, trying to create the impression that he is a tribalist. In all his public life, he has striven to do what is right for Ghana and not for any sectional interest.
“We therefore wish to state the following:
(i). The alleged tape purported to be his voice has been doctored, mischievously re-arranged and pieced together, using modern technology, to create a false impression.
(ii). This meeting took place on 29th January, but this concoction has been mischievously released to coincide with and try to overshadow the RECENT successful “Won Gbo” demonstration of 18th February.
(iii). The release of this doctored tape is a desperate attempt to divert the attention of Ghanaians from REAL problems facing Ghana – widespread corruption, rising levels of unemployment, economic hardships and mismanagement of the economy.”
NDC’s proof and cowardice CHARGE
However, the NDC regional branch insists it has proof that the comments were made in the presence of some identifiable persons.
The statement by the branch said: “For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state the following facts: 1. The meeting was held on 29th January, 2015 at Oyinka HOTEL AT Effiduase, Koforidua. 2. It was a Regional Council of Elders meeting. 3. The following people were present at the meeting: Yaw Osafo Maafo (Chairman of the Regional Council of Elders), Kiston Akuming Kissi (Regional Chairman), Alhaji Umar Bodinga (1st Regional Vice Chairman), Prince Aboagye (Regional Secretary), Nana Yaw Papin (Assistant Regional Secretary), Alecs Agobo (Former Regional Secretary) and expected two representatives from each of the 33 constituencies in the Region among others. 4. Prince Aboagye, the NPP Regional Secretary was the MC for the meeting. 5. It was a meeting to discuss the role the Council members will be playing from now till election 2016 as well as strategies to be adopted by the NPP going into election 2016 with Nana Addo as their Flag bearer.”
The statement queries further: “Can Osafo-Maafo tell Ghanaians which part of the logically coherent tape was doctored? What were his original message that has been doctored? Why have they sent a high powered investigators to come to the region “to chase shadows”? We wish to state that the full tape is a little over an hour which we can release for scrutiny together with tapes of other meetings held at Mac Dic Royal Hotel at Koforidua where other NPP bigwigs made equally damming comments and even worse revelations. It is unimaginable that Osafo-Maafo sought to lead this country as president with such cowardice. He should be brave and accept responsibility and humbly apologise than to HIDE behind the capacity of technology to deny.”
“As a democratic party, NDC totally abhors politics premised on ethnocentric incitements and will on any day condemn such an unconstitutional act. We add our voice to call on all Citizens to condemn and reject any attempt by anyone to pursue an Independent Akan State Agenda, now or in the future.”