The President striked controversy on Wednesday during an encounter with the press when he said some of the think tanks that criticise his policies usually present alternatives that have little substance.
President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said, that notwithstanding, he welcomed the criticisms because it was the right of every individual or group to speak their mind. He noted, however, that some critics abuse this right by opposing every policy under his administration.
Responding to a journalist’s question about attacks on his policy initiatives by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and some think tanks, he gave the following response:
“It’s their right. This is what we have all fought for a long time. An open society that allows everybody to express their views on government policy and develop alternative views, support as the case may be. But one thing that is becoming clear to me is that it seems like every step that we want to take to modernize our society to initiate the process of transformation is met with resistance by our opponents: digitization, paperless ports, national ID card, free Senior High School education; all of these steps that are being taken to take our country to the 21st Century are being resisted by the opposition. I know some people have a vested interest in backwardness; keeping people ignorant so they can then manipulate them easily.
“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.”
The response has been described as harsh.
Founding President of think tank, IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, called it an insult.
“I never thought you could actually INSULT US. Mr. President, I can only say thank you. But we have seen all of these before. We will be here serving Ghana. Do your part and we shall do ours. After all we pay you and your ministers to work for us. It is not the other way around. Merry Christmas to you all the same,” he wrote on Facebook.