ANGRY-LOOKING Members of Parliament (MPs) from cocoa-growing areas in the country have called on President Atta
Mills to dismiss his deputy Minister of Tourism, Kobby Acheampong, for calling people from cocoa-growing areas names.
Kobby Acheampong is reported to have said that Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie aka Sir John, New Patriotic Party (NPP) General Secretary and Kumasi residents are ill-mannered.
“I mean he stayed in Kumasi for too long, he is in Accra now, he should change and broaden his horizon. The Kumasi thing is too much in him. Clearly, the way he talks is of someone who is ignorant.
I told him that whenever he comes from Kumasi he should take a different touch or else he would be lost and now he is telling us he is lost…he should shed that image and look at things from a broader perspective,” Mr. Acheampong told Citi FM.
The deputy minister said “Sir John reminds me of a typical ‘cocoase kurasini’,’ to wit, a cocoa-growing villager.
Addressing an impromptu news conference at Parliament House yesterday, the infuriated MPs, mainly from Ashanti, Western, Brong Ahafo, Eastern and Volta regions representing the cocoa-growing areas, and Kumasi residents, have given Mr. Acheampong three days to explain himself or face them head-on in his office.
“We will make the place uncomfortable for him to continue to live there. How many of us haven’t benefitted from CMB (Cocoa Marketing Board) scholarships?
How many haven’t seen cocoa roads?” MP for Dormaa West, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu asked.
The Dormaa West MP, the son of a cocoa farmer, was a beneficiary of a CMB scholarship at Dormaa Secondary School and the Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School, Legon, where he obtained his Ordinary and Advance Level certificates respectively, before proceeding to the School of Administration, University of Ghana and the University of Dublin, Ireland.
According to the MPs, it would be an executive endorsement if President Mills failed to act swiftly on the issue and disassociate himself from the insulting outburst of his deputy minister.
Sir John, in an interview with Citi News on Tuesday, October 19, reportedly said President Mills did not deserve the grade B rating given him by the Africawatch Magazine in its ‘Political Performance Index’ (PPI) rating on the country’s foreign policy.
In his view, the rating was a contradiction of the President’s performance, as the country’s foreign Policy was “shameless and bogus” and that what President Mills truly deserved was an A for doing nothing.
Responding to Sir John’s comments, the Deputy Tourism Minister said, “Sir John reminds me of a typical ‘cocoase kurasini’.”
He also claimed that Sir John’s long stay in Kumasi had affected his behaviour and way of talking.
But Mr. Agyemang-Manu and Maxwell Kofi Jumah, MPs for Dormaa West and Asokwa respectively, who jointly addressed the news conference, asked Kobby Acheampong to tell Ghanaians what a ‘Cocoase kurasini’ looks like and how the people living in Kumasi behaved.
“What we heard is not palatable to us at all. Complete insults not only to the person you are attacking but to all of us who have lived in villages and worked in these cocoa farms to help our country.
We want Kobby Acheampong to come out and tell us how ‘cocoase kurasini’ behaves and where he comes from, what school he attended,” Kwaku Agyemang-Manu demanded.
“I want to tell him that without cocoa money, he would not have gotten his education. We sacrificed and followed our parents to the bushes, worked on cocoa farms, we gave you money to develop the country, you become a Minister and our reward is insult?” the Dormaa West MP quizzed.
“We are not very happy about it because you cannot insult a greater number of the population, most of who come from villages in cocoa growing areas.”
He asked if Kobby Acheampong would have been a minister if the so-called ‘cocoaasefo’ hadn’t voted for his party.
“We want to assure him that we are waiting for his explanation and we will get back to our constituencies and let all of them know that if you vote for this person, this is what he will give you back.
“We will in this light, also want to call on President Mills to bring this man to book. We will call on the NDC hierarchy to also make him explain his action. Even an apology is not adequate so we will demand his resignation to assuage the feelings of the people and the ‘wounds that he has inflicted on us’”.
Mr. Jumah, who probably benefitted from a cocoa farmer’s sweat at Konongo Odumasi Secondary School and Prempeh College, said he was sad for Ghana and all those who lived in Kumasi including Kofi Annan, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Ahwoi brothers who are big shots in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He said Kumasi was the bedrock of cultural tradition and behaviour in Africa and for a deputy Minister of Tourism to say people who lived in Kumasi were not cultured, was an insult to the natives of the Ashanti region.
By Awudu Mahama