General News Tue, 1 Apr 2014

Prez Mahama, NDC on Collision Path

-over “Tweaa DCE” sack

What started as President John Dramani Mahama’s spirited response to allege misconduct by the dismissed District Chief Executive for Ahafo Ano South, Mr Gabriel Barima, has blossom to dreadful phenomenon in the governing party, setting the President and the National Democratic Congress on a very slippery collision course.

Just as many thought issues relating to Mr. Barima’s DCE-ship had been laid to rest following President Mahama’s plan to go against his earlier decision of not showing him the exit, the National Executive Committee of the National Democratic Congress has resuscitated the matter, this time publicly demanding the President reinstate the sacked DCE.

According to a statement signed by Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the ruling party on behalf of NEC, Mr Barima, who became popular in January after he exchanged words with a health worker who hurled an Akan interjection word, “Tweaa” at him at a public function, was “rather the victim of insults, disrespect and misinformation” who ought to be supported to weed out indiscipline at the Mankranso hospital than be dismissed.

In a press statement over the weekend and signed by Asiedu Nketia, the leadership of the NDC noted that based on its own investigations into circumstances leading to the dismissal of the former DCE, the President’s decision, if “left to stand will not only amount to serious injustice to the DCE but will seek to dampen the enthusiasm of other DCEs in their attempt to deal with indiscipline and corruption in their various areas of jurisdiction.”

The party said if the President had been fully and accurately briefed about facts prompting Mr Barima to retort to the hospital worker “who said tweaa…are you my coequal” his decision on the matter would have been different.

However, a source at the seat of government, the Flagstaff House told The aL-hAJJ, the letter from the party’s NEC which was also made public has placed the president in a catch-22 situation as any pronouncement on it from the presidency have consequences.

“Though the president will want to avoid any confrontation with his party executives, the request having been made public has further tied the hands of his Excellency from making any public pronouncement of the matter as either ways, its ramifications can be disturbing to both sides”, the source revealed.

Strangely, whiles Mr Asiedu Nketsia was busily defending the statement on radio, his deputy, Mr Kofi Adams on an Accra based radio yesterday, noted that the party’s NEC has not taken such a decision. According to Mr Adams, though NEC recently met, there was no discussion of the information Mr Asiedu Nketsiah churned out.

He said NEC is made up of the President and his Vice, Party Founder, leadership of the party in Parliament and council of elders among others, adding that the President has taken a decision to sack Mr Barima and that decision must be respected.

Detailing what could have forced the former DCE to have responded to the hospital worker in such an angry manner, Mr Asiedu Nketsia in the statement indicated “A clique of the staff of Mankranso hospital has over the years been engaged in various unprofessional activities, including victimization of patients based on their ethnic and political backgrounds and, show of disrespect to political and traditional authorities in the district who dared to complain about their misconduct. This has led to a situation where many residents of the district choose to seek medical attention in the neighbouring districts.”

“The DCE who had himself gone through some bitter experiences with this clique had reported to the District Health Management Team (DHMT) for action to be taken without success leading to bad blood developing between his office and the health authorities.”

“District health authorities apparently not happy with this situation decided to use the occasion of their end of year get- together to smoke peace pipe with the political authorities. Three senior members of the district hospital were therefore sent to personally invite the DCE and to explain the rational of the meeting”

According to the statement officials of the hospital, who were thought to have repented from their misdeeds, and knowing Mr Barima for his disciplinarian posturing heckled him when he was delivering a speech at the hospital’s end of year get-together.

“This matter was not considered to be so significant as to make the headlines when it happened However, several weeks later an unknown person who had filmed the function decided to put a doctored version of the clip on the internet,” the statement added.

It said that after the President had pardoned the former DCE following his public apology and the phrase became popular prompting the President himself to say “tweaa…are you my coequal” when he recently delivered the state of the nation address, someone posed as his (the sacked DCE) supporter and secretly record him whiles having a chat with him concerning the President’s use of the ‘terminology’.

“After the President had delivered the state of the Nation’s address a young man posing as a supporter of the DCE approach the DCE at his house to show how excited he was when he heard the President using the expression ‘Twea are you my coequal’ to deal with the heckling of the NPP in parliament engaged Honourable Gabriel Barima in a lot of idle talk. Unknown to the DCE the young man was recording the conversation with a secret recorder. Some days later this secret recording was again played on the same JOY FM as if the DCE had granted another interview to the radio station after his apology,” the statement noted.

The party said in spite of attempts to malign and destroy him, Mr. Gabriel Barima’s achievement as a DCE remains exemplary for others to emulate, and as such the President should reinstate him as chiefs and elders from the Ahafo Ano South constituency have also called for same.

But government sources told The aL-hAJJ that though the NDC leadership has a strong case to warrant the appeal to reinstate the sacked DCE, the manner in which it was done has boxed the President into a very tight corner to make further pronouncement on the matter.

The source revealed that the earlier committee that was setup to investigate the matter unearthed all the issues being raised by the NDC executives and that formed the basis why Mr Barima was pardon despite calls on the President to fire him.

Making reference to circumstances that led to the dismissal of former deputy Communications Minister, the government source noted that Madam Victoria Hammah was also secretly taped but “but when it the tape was made public she was dismissed…so in the case of Mr Barima who is said to have been secretly recorded, the President has the sole right to consider the arguments being advance by the NDC executives.”

Source: Al-Hajj