Whether Mahama mentioned Ashantis or not, his Kumasi comment was offensive, unpresidential- Baako

Editor In-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper Kweku Baako Jnr has criticised the controversial comment in which president John Mahama is quoted to have said residents in Kumasi are ungrateful.

Malik Baako Jnr said the comment was baseless and unpresidential.

He was speaking on Peace FM’s morning show programme Kokrokoo, Wednesday.

President John Mahama who was addressing supporters of the party during his tour of the Ashanti Region admonished the party members to ignore the many naysayers  who appear to have closed their eyes to the many development projects in the region.

Speaking in Twi, the president’s comments were interpreted as: “…there is an Akan proverb which says, no matter how nice the dance of the fowl is, it never impresses the hawk – when the fowl dances for the hawk, the hawk never finds it beautiful…don’t let this deter us because for you in Kumasi, even if we construct roads tarred with gold, you will still say we’ve done nothing.”

The President’s comments have been subject of controversy with some residents of Kumasi said to be offended.

Members of the NPP whose stronghold is in the Ashanti Region are equally appalled with some demanding a presidential apology.

The Information Minister on Tuesday evening justified the president’s comments in an interview with Joy News.

On Wednesday afternoon, his Deputy Felix Kwakye Ofosu issued a statement claiming the president’s comments have been doctored in the tape recording that had received massive airplay.

The statement said nowhere in the president’s comment did he accuse Ashantis and the residents of Kumasi of being ungrateful.

The statement quoted what it claims to be the original recording of the president as: “…the Akans have a saying that, no matter how well the chicken dances, it will never please the hawk. No matter how well the chicken dances, it will never please the hawk. Therefore, we need not be discouraged by that. Because for some people, even if we cover all the ground with gold in Kumasi, they will not appreciate it.”

But even before the statement was made public, Kweku Baako Jnr said on Kokrookoo that he would not give an “escape route” for anybody to come and tell Ghanaians that the president did not mention Ashantis in his comments.

He added whether Mahama mentioned Ashantis in his comments on not his statement  was a serious gaffe.

He said for the president to segregate a particular community, no matter which ethnic group and accuse them of being ungrateful is offensive, and “negative communication.”

The comments “coming from a president who is delivering good and services… There is even no basis for it,” he pointed out.

Malik Kweku Baako Jnr quoted a February 8, 2005 hansard in which he said the president is guilty of the same offence he accused the residents of Kumasi of.

President John Mahama who was then the Bole Bamboi MP mocked President Kufuor’s State of the Nations Address describing his tenure as good times to be a Ghanaian.

Mr Kufuor had chronicled a plethora of development activities his government had done and capped with a statement “these are good times to be a Ghanaian.”

But during the debate on the State of Nation address, John Mahama argued that his constituents in Bole Bamboi who were also Ghanaians, were yet to enjoy the so called good times.

He said if there were good times at all, it was probably the best times for the president and his ministers and admonished the president to allow the majority of his populace to also enjoy the good times.

Kweku Baako Jnr said it was a general trend that human beings, like the tale of Oliver Twist, would always ask for more and it was not in the place of President John Mahama to single out a particular community and accuse them of being ungrateful.

“There is always a  deficit between expectation and fulfilment of promises. The same thing he (Mahama) said in the Ashanti Region is what he said against Kufuor in 2005.

But Ametor Quarmyne consultant to the NHIA said critics are making a mountain out of nothing.

He said critics are only dabbling in “deliberate ploy of destruction.”

According to Quarmyne President John Mahama only repeated a statement that was made by one Dr Safo Adu in 1992 who said no matter what development projects undertaken in Kumasi, the residents will still not vote for them.

He said President John Mahama didn’t say it. He only repeated it. He said if there were to follow the criticisms of the NPP, the NDC would not even be allowed to breathe.

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