Akufo-Addo bemoans 'Akyem Mafia, Sakawa boys' 'talk' years after endorsing Osafo-Marfo’s ethnocentric comment
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Friday, forgot the reverence accorded the men of God, and went into a frenzy inciting Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference against the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) reprimanding them like kids.
He could not understand why they had failed to condemn former President John Dramani Mahama's reference to him and his cousins involved in the Agyapa Royalties deal, as 'Akyem Mafia' and 'Sakawa' people.
That reference was rather made by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga Central Isaac Adongo, but amplified by the managers of ex-President Mahama's official Facebook page, a few days ago.
But at a meeting with the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference at the Jubilee House on Friday, 4 August 2020, President Akufo-Addo hanged Mr. Adongo's comments on Mr.Mahama saying he was "very very disturbed" by the ethnocentric tagging of his ethnic group, insisting "that is the kind of language we don't want in our politics".
"This name-calling and insulting seems to be a feature of Ghanaian public life; which is … but sometimes one will hope that when things come out, people will comment on them. The comment made by my opponent 'Akyem Sakawa people', I have not heard any public figure in this country, independent, yourselves (Bishops) or anybody comment on it; it's completely unacceptable," he charged in a video which has gone viral on social media.
Interestingly, the two minutes seventeen seconds video did not capture the President addressing concerns raised by experts, civil society organizations and other well-meaning Ghanaians over the Agyapa Royalties deal described as a total rip-off of a national resource by few individuals.
It is not clear whether the Catholic Bishops who were led by its President, Most Reverend Phillip Naameh, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale and also had the Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle present, were specifically summoned to the Jubilee House to have the President register his displeasure at Isaac Adongo's article entitled "Agyapa Royalties Fraud Is The Last Straw: The Akyem Sakawa Boys and Grandpas Must Go".
The same, Mr. Akufo-Addo, had, in the run up to the 2016 elections, endorsed Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo's ethnocentric comments on a secret tape during a meeting with NPP's council of elders in the Eastern Region.
He had talked about the supremacy of Akan-speaking people in the Ghana in terms of money and natural resources, and why they must rule the country.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo was heard saying "you have all the resources, but you have no say in the management of your resources and that is what is happening. Your development depends on the one who has no resources".
"You can't say this openly," he cautioned the Council members, but added that they are at liberty to talk about it among Asantes, Mr. Osafo-Marfo said, adding "We should protect ourselves, we should protect our income. No one who is the source of income, the source of revenue, the source of resources allows another person without those resources the chance [to rule over them].
Osafo-Marfo, had insisted that "It's never done anywhere in the world. In the world over, it is the group with the most resources that rules and not the other way around."
In Osafo-Marfo's estimation, "86.5 percent of resources in Ghana come from five regions: Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Central. This is where 86 percent of the resources of Ghana come from… And the oil was also discovered in the West. It will change the formula to about 90 percent. We cannot ignore these five regions. We should not."
The then NPP Presidential Candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo under severe pressure to disassociate himself from the comment reacted, by saying Mr. Osafo-Marfo stated the obvious.
The son of the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Marfo by name Kofi Osafo-Marfo has been made the Chief Executive Officer of the Controversial Agyapa Royalties Limited, registered as an offshore company incorporated in a tax haven of Jersey, UK.
At Friday's meeting with the Catholic Bishops, an angry President Akufo-Addo, with his hand hitting the table around which he sat with the respected Bishop, charged "If I was to get up to make a comment about Northerners or Gonjas, you can imagine the uproar that will be in the country".
He said, "a Presidential candidate, a former President of Ghana you can call a group of Ghanaians sakawa people and it involves the group from which the sitting President comes and that…that statement goes without a comment and in the same time, we hear these statements 'let's all try and bring the politics of insults to an end' etcetera, etcetera."
"I'm very very disturbed by this remark that the former President Mahama made that Akyem people are sakawa people and up till today, I've not heard any senior citizen of this country, lay, religious, civil society organization, public think tank reprimand him for that statement", he said whilst asking rhetorically "what can be the basis of such a remark."
The President lamented that "If you criticize the government, no matter what you say, it is legitimate. If the government is to respond, that is somehow illegitimate".
He added, "If the President opens his mouth and says something that is unacceptable, he should be reprimanded. In the same way, opposition politicians, if they conduct themselves by their utterances in an unacceptable manner, they should be brought to book."
President Akufo-Addo, however, told the Catholic Bishops "I am a hundred percent on the same wavelength as you as to kind of politics that will make sense in our… but I'm very keen also Archbishop that when things happen, we deal with each mother on its merits, don't worry ourselves whether the person is government or position or this or that or whether their political persuasion is fine", insisting "if what they have said is unacceptable, it should be pointed out that it is unacceptable; it goes for me."
The Bolgatanga Central MP, in the statement relating to the controversial Agyapa Royalties deal, accused the President and his kith of forming a families-and-friends cartel to capture the mineral resources of the state via the deal.
In his statement, Mr Adongo described the Agyapa Royalties deal as a "big fraud on Ghana" by President Nana Akufo-Addo and the 'Akyem Mafia'.
Parliament, in line with the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Act, 2018 (Act 978), recently approved some agreements to allow the country to derive maximum value from its mineral resources and monetise the mineral income accruing to Ghana in a sustainable and responsible manner.
The move gives Agyapa Royalties Limited the right to secure about $1 billion to enable the government to finance large infrastructural projects.
The Minority in Parliament boycotted the deal and accused the government of mortgaging Ghana's gold resources.
Former President Mahama, has many times reiterated the Minority's concerns and said he will not respect the deal should he win the 7 December 2020 polls.