Chalk comment: Journalist mischievously took me out of context – Matilda Amissah-Arthur
The former Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana under the erstwhile John Mahama administration, Matilda Amissah-Arthur has finally broken her silence on the controversial chalk comment she made four years ago at Kukurantumi Presby Primary School in the Eastern Region.
The wife of the late Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur while speaking in an exclusive interview on Time with David said her message at the gathering was totally taken out of context and never intended to mean what was portrayed out there by the media.
According to her, the journalist due to mischievous reasons intentionally edited some parts of the audio out making her receive a lot of backlash from Ghanaians with some calling her a rude person.
Explaining how it all transpired, Matilda Amissah-Arthur said, “So the headteacher plus some old students of the school came to me and asked for books. The day before I was going to give them the books they came and said we would like computers also. And I said I don’t have computers. I managed within 24 hours to find computers. And I got there and we do the presentation and the headteacher after we’ve done the presentation, I found out they don’t even have lights... There and then I’m able to find somebody who is going to put poles there and do it for you. After that she talks about chalk, and my words are that I won’t give you chalk today, I won’t give you chalk tomorrow.”
“if you listen to the whole tape, when I said that, I said to her don’t you have PTA, don’t you have old students, don’t you have town people. That the chief is here, why don’t you rally all these people to partner with government to give the chalk and that sometimes we shouldn’t let government be bothered so much and that partner and give these things. Then I said to her if after a term you haven’t been able through old students, all these to get the chalk, I’ll come and give you cheque. When the journalist was doing it they cut all that part and said this. So out of context, you will think that here am I 'giving it to them' but in context this is it,” she added.
She further indicated that the said journalist after the issue got out of hand came to her to render an unqualified apology for the harm caused to her image.
“In fact, the journalist who reported actually came and apologised to me,” she revealed.
Matilda Amissah-Arthur was criticised by the public in July 2015 after she snapped at the headmistress of a Kukurantumi school for requesting for chalk when she presented five computers and 500 books to the Presby Day School upon a request.
She, however, apologised taking note of the media attention her remarks generated saying she was sorry if people were offended by it.
“I was completely taken aback when the headmistress asked for chalk. My response was intended to encourage community participation in the school. If what I said has offended people I use this opportunity to say I’m sorry,” she said at the time.
But speaking on Time with David about the apology she rendered, Mrs Amissah-Arthur said that although she did nothing wrong, she deemed it necessary to apologise to Ghanaians as a leader.
“You know I wasn’t worried because I knew that it had been taken out of context but I apologised and I’ll tell you why I apologised. As a leader, if you do something and people think you didn’t do right, even if you think you did right you should apologise. And for me as Christian, the bible said that as much as it depends on you live at peace with everybody. If what I said in a way offended people I’ve apologised but those who listened to the whole thing later on came [and showed solidarity,” she said.