General News of Sat, 22 Dec 201886

Are you over and above critique? – Baako questions CSOs, think-tanks

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Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has jumped to the defence of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo after he was massively castigated by some CSOs and think-tanks over some comments he made during an encounter with the press, Thursday.

Mr. Akufo-Addo, during an interaction with journalists at the Jubilee house said some of the think-tanks that criticise his policies usually present alternatives that have little substance.

“The Ghanaian people and myself we are both in a hurry to get to the 21st century and we are going to go and go…so far as I am concerned, these matters, these policies that are the subject of attack are their rights. Many of think tanks too. Many of the bombs they throw turn out to be dart squirts; at the end of the day, they have very little substance to them. It is their right. I will be the first to say it is their rights to open their mouths and say what they want. It is not going to deter me. It is not going to deter this administration from continuing the path of bringing modern instruments of governance, attitudes towards governance, and bringing the initiatives to be a full and active member of this 21st Century”.

His comments have since attracted jabs from some think-tanks and CSOs, notably, IMANI Ghana whose executives deemed it disrespectful.

President of Imani Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe described it as ‘insulting’ whilst his Vice Kofi Bentil called it "sad… disrespectful, counterproductive and a mistake”.

Touching on the issue on Newsfile, Mr. Baako said it was uncalled for, the reactions from these bodies. According to him, the President’s remarks were everything but ‘insulting’. ‘It may have been harsh’ he admitted, but organisations criticized by CSOs, think-tanks he maintained, also have equal rights to criticize and or respond.

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“Was it insulting?", he quizzed, adding, "I didn’t find it insulting. It may have been harsh but Civil Society Organisations criticize everyday, they criticize everyday, they propose solutions everyday, what authorities should do is to listen to them. It doesn’t mean there’s an injunctions on the authorities to respond relative to criticizing society, what kind of democracy are we seeking to build? Are civil society groups over and above critique? If it’s not insulting, that’s okay".

Mr. Baako also mentioned that criticism President Akufo-Addo earned from the public about the media encounter is expected because it has been the pattern over the years with all other Presidents under the Fourth Republic.

What matters most, he stressed, is the fact that the criticisms are noted by government and worked at so different results are yielded subsequently.

“There has been no presidential media encounter in the Fourth Republic that has not been subject to criticism relative to the time frame, quality of questions, types of questions and answers provided. I think that the ministry of Information should listen to these criticisms and proceed on that basis, the fact that they are not new is immaterial, the criticisms keep coming, listen to them, see how you can fine tune them in subsequent meetings. I would have done 15 minutes and allowed the journalists space, that’s fair, that kind of criticism is legitimate. Some even said Kufuor was inarticulate, couldn’t talk, couldn’t say anything so these things are okay”, he stated.

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