General News of Wednesday, 4 March 2015
A group calling itself ‘Coalition for the Defence of Equal Citizenship, (CODEC)’ is demonstrating against alleged ethnocentric comments made by former flagbearer-aspirant of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo.
The ad hoc group was formed purposefully in response to the former finance Minister’s supposed comments to the effect that even though Ghana’s resources are concentrated in Akan-dominated parts of the country, it is non-Akans, whose areas are without resources that are currently at the helm of Governance.
Mr Osafo-Maafo has admitted speaking at a forum in the Eastern Region but denied making any ethnocentric comments as being purported. He subsequently told the media in various interviews that his voice was doctored on the secretly recorded audiotape.
In a statement issued by CODEC ahead of Wednesday’s demonstration, the group said: “We wish to announce the formation and coming into existence of our broad-based, multi-partisan and multi-cultural nationalist group known as the Coalition for the Defence of Equal Citizenship (CODEC),” which “has been formed as a direct and immediate response to creeping ethnic bigotry and the incitement to tribal discrimination in our country, Ghana.”
The statement signed by Convener Edudzi Kudzo Tameklo and Operations Coordinator Ali Dawud said: “We are resolved and determined to defend our 1992 Republican Constitution, which enjoins all of us under Article 17 (2) “A person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.””
“We are committed to the equality of all Ghanaians and the preservation of personal liberties and the right to vote and be voted for no matter which region one hails from.
“It is for this reason that we are outraged by comments made by Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, a former Finance Minister and Education Minister in the Fourth Republic to the effect that in his estimation 86% of national resources are from what he calls the five Akan regions of Ashanti, Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Central and Western and that only people from these regions should assume the leadership of our country. He goes on to say that “you control resources but you don’t have a say in the management of your country.” He also adds that: “Where we talk cocoa, we don’t talk fish.”
The group further said: “What is even more frightening is that Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo claims this thinking has informed a new strategy of his party’s campaign ahead of the 2016 elections where the country will be organized in three blocs – the Five Akan Regions making up the first bloc, Greater Accra and Volta Regions as the second bloc and the Three Northern Regions as the third bloc. He is also heard on the tape saying that in the Akan bloc their key campaign messages would be extremely confidential and cannot be divulged to the public.”
The statement said the demonstration is meant to draw attention to the dangers and threats of tribal bigotry, discrimination and the continuous use of incendiary language.
Below is the rest of the statement:
It must be pointed out that Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo’s revelations also fly in the face of how political parties must conduct their affairs as directed in Article 54 (4) “Every political party shall have a national character, and membership shall not be based on ethnic, religious, regional or other sectional divisions.”
This dangerous and nation-wrecking strategy is being revealed not too long after another politician, Mr. Kennedy Agyapong had called on Ashantis to attack Voltarians and Gas. We also recall how the Minority leader Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had claimed that there’s no Ga in the NPP capable of assuming leadership. The NPP’s flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo would not be undone and has also been caught on tape in the now infamous: “Yen Akanfuo” episode.
Enough is enough! We are resolved to lead a sustained and determined campaign to bring an end to tribal bigotry and incendiary language in our body politic. We would not wait for a Rwandan-style genocide where millions of our citizens would be killed before we act.