General News of Monday, 30 January 2017
Minister-designate of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, has disclosed that she did not do her national service.
Ms Djaba, a graduate of the University for Development Studies (UDS), told parliament’s Appointments Committee on Monday, 30 January: “I did not do national service because I was not in Ghana.”
Ghanaian students who graduate from accredited tertiary institutions are required by law to do a one-year national service to the country.
Candidates for national service may on application be exempted from service by the National Service Board on production of valid documentary evidence establishing that an individual has undertaken National Service at an earlier date.
Additionally, graduates who are 40 years old or more could be exempted from undertaking national service.
However, Ms Otiko explained to the committee that she travelled outside the country and could not have the opportunity to participate in the one-year service to the nation.
Meanwhile, she has indicated that she stands by comments she made against ex-president John Mahama in the past.
For her, Mr Mahama is, indeed “evil,” “wicked” and “an embarrassment” to people of the Northern Region.
“I don’t owe him [Mr Mahama] or you [Alhassan Suhuyini] any apology…” she said in response to the Tamale North MP’s question about whether she would apologise to the ex-president on whom she used those words during the electioneering period ahead of the 7 December 2016 elections.
“My comment about he being an embarrassment was in relation to SADA, It was in relation to SADA that I said he had embarrassed northerners and the northern chiefs themselves had come to say same,” Ms Djaba said justified on Monday, 30 January 2017, explaining that: “When I talked about his wickedness, the people of Ghana were asking for reductions, they were asking for ‘dumsor’ to be solved, people were losing jobs and so forth … what I said was within the context of that period.”
When asked by Tamale South MP Haruna Iddrisu if she would withdraw those words owing to their harshness, which the minority too “strong exception to,” Ms Djaba retorted: “Are you saying that we cannot criticise in this country? Are you saying that my right to speak [is curtailed?] … It was not an insult, it was a criticism and I’m allowed as a citizen of Ghana to criticise the president and these are descriptive words, it is not an insult.”
Asked by Mr Iddrisu is she stood by her words, Ms Djaba said: “Yes Mr Chairman. … I did not insult the president, I criticised him.”
In 2014, Ms Djaba told Moro Awudu on Radio XYZ’s breakfast show that: “This President [Mr Mahama] is not serious. He has embarrassed a lot of Northerners.”
Reacting to Mr Mahama’s promise, at the time, to progressively make Senior High School Education free as announced in the state of the nation address presented to Parliament in that year, Ms Djaba said: “He’s embarrassing mother Ghana and the IMF is telling him that: ‘E no dey go well’, so he should stop the ‘edey be k3k3’; put down his Dubai things and get down to the ground and give us the bread and butter things that we need for the development of this country”.
Also, in the heat of the 2016 campaigns, Ms Djaba said: “President Mahama’s time is up. …President Mahama is extremely wicked, and, so, he must step down. We need change, we need someone who is passionate about this country. You have to vote massively for Nana Akufo Addo. We need change this year. Your time is up President Mahama.”