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Former President John Dramani Mahama has cynically said the leaked audio recording containing the chilling strategies the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) intends to use for the 2020 elections, one being the kidnappings of family members of political opponents, should be treated with contempt.
He said the tape was the handiwork of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration to divert the attention of Ghanaians from current developments, which he said have pushed the government to the corner.
He told Ghanaians that the tape was a piece of propaganda from the NPP.
He justified the call by NDC Chairman Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, who was captured on the tape asking NDC members to ‘insult’ the National Peace Council Chairman Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante.
Speaking at Perez Chapel in Accra yesterday, Mr. Mahama said: “And so if he was talking and said they should attack the Peace Council Chairman he didn’t mean they should go and beat the Peace Council Chairman. He meant that we should criticize him.”
Interestingly, on the leaked tape, Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo did not call for attacks or criticism of the Peace Council Chairman as Mr. Mahama is trying to propagate.
He said specifically that the NDC supporters should insult the prominent clergyman.
“The neutral interlocutor that we have in this country in terms of the peace architecture is the National Peace Council. We must have had disagreements with the Peace Council Chairman, and it was in the heat of the post Ayawaso West Wuogon, the chairman had been interviewed, and in a way when I listened to that interview, the presenter misled him in many ways.”
“And so on our side we said but as Chairman of the Peace Council the first thing you do is to condemn the violence then after that you look at what who said and what who didn’t say, but without condemning the violence, the presenter asked him about former President Mahama’s boot for boot, he said have you heard it, and the Chairman said I haven’t heard what he said.”
Mr. Mahama said: “And the presenter said I can tell you on assurance he said it and that there are witnesses, we can even bring the audio and play it to you. Then the Peace Council Chairman said if he said it then I think he was wrong. Then he pushed him again so does he owe an apology to the nation and he said well…as an ex-president if he said that then he owes an apology to the nation without condemning the violence…That was our problem.”
Mr. Mahama, who justified his comments, said: “If you (Peace Council Chairman) had condemned the violence and then commented on what the former president said that would be acceptable. In the circumstance, our chairman who had witnessed the violence, the guy who was shot in the leg…the bone had shattered and the bone fragments were lying on the ground, anybody who saw it would be traumatized.”
Addressing NDC supporters on Saturday at the El-Wak Stadium in Accra after a Keep Fit exercise dubbed, ‘Victory March’, Mr. Mahama defended the NDC Chairman, claiming without any proof that the NPP government had bugged offices of the NDC to extract information from the opposition party.
The former president’s position on the leaked audio recording is contradictory, because in one vein he describes the content of the leaked stuff as a ‘piece of propaganda’ which did not really happen and in another breath, he admits it took place and was acquired through ‘bugging.’
“Our opponents are good at propaganda and they will come up from time to time with things to distract us. This issue of a (leaked) tape is just a distraction. Dismiss it with the contempt it deserves, let us remain focused. Our message must be to the Ghanaian people,” he said.
The former president’s position is at variance with that of the law enforcement agencies, who have invited the NDC Chairman because of the security implications of his supposed statements.
For former President Mahama, who is now flagbearer of the NDC, this is not the time to consider the contents of the leaked tape.
“Let us tell the Ghanaian people what we can do for them and cease the endless arguments with the NPP party,” adding “it is only a government that has too much time on its hands, because it is not working, that will have time to go and bug the office of its opponents.”
He fell short of describing the leaked tape as a piece of nonsense when he said “we do not have time for that. Let us focus our message and tell Ghanaians what we can do for them.”
“We already have a track record. We have governed this country before and so let us focus on the things we can do for Ghanaians to make their lives better and not be distracted by the shenanigans of the NPP party.”
The aftermath of the leaked tape has been characterized by confusion in the NDC.
Various NDC persons, who have spoken about the tape, have each sung from a different hymn book.
The former president has now joined the fray with his version and it is clear that for him, only ‘idle’ governments will bug offices.
NDC Chairman, who has for the past week, been continuously playing a hide-and-seek game with the police, has found his voice, the impetus originating from the former president’s campaign trail raps.
The tone of his first remarks since he incurred public opprobrium when his party’s 2020 scary project hit the public domain through a leakage is consistent with what his party intends doing to capture power.
The former president’s dismissal of the leaked stuff definitely returned life to the chairman, which gave him the drive to release subtle vitriolic comments.
When a person of the stature of a party chairman speaks about the dividends of causing fear and panic as effected by his party turning round to describe himself as a man of peace, he must be prompting derision.
He said because he is peaceful and now in the process of unifying the NDC, the NPP is ‘scared’ about the engagement, which according to him, would lead the party to victory in the 2020 election.
In the recording, the chairman said his party would chase persons who worked against their cause during the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election, adding that some of them have not slept in their homes for fear of being nabbed by NDC ‘operatives’.
Their parents, he said, would be kidnapped and this would make them turn themselves in.
“If this is peace then the meaning of this virtue is two-fold,” a political scientist told Daily Guide.
“The NDC believes in the rule of law and we are Democrats … I want to assure all Ghanaians that the NDC will not kill women to win power; the NDC will not kidnap people to win power; the NDC will not insult to win the power; the NDC will bring a message of hope to Ghanaians,” Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo claimed.
Having snubbed the police invitation because he was busy with social engagements, he does not cut the picture of a person who respects state institutions.
Now that an arrest warrant has apparently been issued for his arrest, DAILY GUIDE has learnt he will report today to field questions from the CID.
On his invitation by the CID, the NDC Chairman said: “I want to assure you that the NDC Chairman has not run away from anybody. When we finish thanking God on Sunday, on Monday, our lawyers have informed the CID that the National Chairman of the NDC will come to the CID headquarters to answer any questions that they want.”
He added: “By eight O’clock, we will be there, and so I want to assure them that the peaceful Chairman, the peaceful party will respond to their call even though they first invited us through WhatsApp.”
Interestingly, it was the same party chairman who allegedly asked his security man not to receive the CID written invitation, and when same was taken to the party headquarters the personnel at the facility refused to take it on his behalf.
It was obvious that the chairman was avoiding the service of the invitation and even before arriving at this juncture the police said his mobile phone was switched off for a long time.
Eventually, it was the social media WhatsApp which did the magic.
No sooner had the correspondence been sent to him via this medium than NDC lawyers marched to the CID headquarters to ‘authenticate’ it.
Lawyer Amaliba was heard telling the media that now that the CID had told them that they authored the invitation, they would tell him to honour the invitation.
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