Weeping minister defends Mahama

General News of Thursday, 12 March 2015

Source: The Chronicle

Wept Afriyie Ankrah

After coiling into his shells after the 2014 Brazil World Cup saga, the former Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, has broken his long silence over governance and many other issues.

Speaking on a Kumasi-based radio station, Ultimate FM, last week, hosted by fierce critic of the ruling government, Dr. Amoako Baah, Mr. Ankrah, who although was pivotal in President John Dramani Mahama’s campaign machinery for the 2012 elections was sidelined after the Brazil fiasco, jumped to the defence of what people are describing as an already-failed government, saying that the current economic and energy crises, which have become an albatross around the neck of President Mahama’s government, is not the creation of the President nor his ministers.

He, however, lauded President Mahama’s efforts at solving the problems, describing them as prudent measures which are capable of transforming the fortunes of the country. Mr. Ankrah was of the view that President Mahama has what it takes to resolve the problems and further called for patience as the President implements those measures.

The former minister, who was expected to rejoice over the dismissal of his former deputy, Joseph Yamin, who created hue and cry over how money was transferred to players at Brazil, called on party faithful in the Ashanti Region and all Ghanaians to exercise restraint over the recent riot that took place at the party’s regional office, an incident many believe is the reason for the dismissal of the Ashanti regional minister, Mr. Samuel K. Sarpong and his deputy.

Decrying vociferously, perceptions that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is being taken over by Northerners, Mr. Ankrah observed that President Mahama has been guided by the nation’s constitution in all the appointments he has made so far.

According to him, Ghanaians must first of all see themselves as Ghanaians, who must contribute their quota to the development of the nation and thus see the appointees of the President as Ghanaians, who are bringing on board skills and policies. He also reiterated the need for Ghanaians to shun fanning political and tribal sentiments.

“We need to stop this. It is not good for the nation. What we should be talking about is what the appointees are bringing on board. President Mahama is guided by the constitution and I can say that there is a regional balance in his appointments,” he said.

“We should continue to preach Ghana. We need to grow to the level of being, first and foremost, Ghanaians. It is never true that the government is full of Northerners; Presidents Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills were all accused of that too and we need to put a stop to that behavior. It does not augur well for the growth of the nation,” he added.

On corruption, the former minister commended the President for the steps taken so far to fight the menace. It is rather unfortunate that while the President has demonstrated willingness to fight corruption and taken drastic measures which have affected his government, people are still not satisfied with his actions.

To the former minister, during his tenure of office, President Mahama granted him his full support to fight the infamous GYEEDA scandal. Though people accused him of stepping on the toes of others during the period, the President empowered him to set up the independent committee to investigate the matter, to the extent that he issued a white paper on the matter, he said.

He further cited the actions taken by the President at the National Service Secretariat, describing them as pragmatic and practical in winning the fight against corruption. Mr. Ankrah, who works at the presidency now, also touched briefly on his experience at the 2014 Mundial and many other issues.

He, however, declined to speak on who becomes the campaign manager of President Mahama in Election 2016. He indicated that every member of the NDC is a capable campaign manager and that he is ever ready to fill any gap given him to ensure that the party wins the general election.

On the energy, he said it would be out of place for people to think that all is well. He stated that President Mahama has acknowledged the challenges and has so far rolled out strategies to solve the power crisis.

The NDC firebrand said, ‘The fact that there is dum-so, it does not mean nothing is happening. A lot is happening in the country. I totally disagree with people who think nothing is happening. People are just being cynical,’ he said.

Prior to the interview, the former Minister made a joke of the host saying, “Today I have met Dr. Baah, who is a fierce critic of our government.” The host laughed and responded that, he was holding the government accountable to its promises, ‘I say what it is. It is not just a critic.’