The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has condemned President John Dramani Mahama for making comments considered as tribalistic against the running mate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Mr Mahama, on a campaign platform at Lawra, in the Upper West Region, said the NPP would not allow Dr Bawumia to be their flag bearer because he is a northerner, adding that the party was only using Dr Bawumia to dump him in the end.
“Sometimes I feel sad when I see some of our northern brothers running and also doing this. They will use you and dump you. Let anything happen today and let our brother Bawumia say he is standing for president in NPP. They will never give it to him I can assure you,” he said.
But the MWFA in a statement condemned the comment and described it as “divisive” and “unfortunate”.
“The MFWA therefore calls on the president to publicly apologise for his comments,” the statement stated.
NPP presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo has also condemned the comments, also describing it as “divisive”.
Below is the full statement from the MWFA
President Mahama’s Comments: Ethnocentric, Divisive and Condemnable
Over the weekend, while campaigning in the Upper West Region, the President of Ghana and leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, opted to use very ethnocentric and divisive campaign language.
The president, while addressing party supporters in Lawra as part of his campaign tour of the region, made comments to suggest that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) only “uses northerners” to win power and “dump” them afterwards.
The president alleged that if the vice-presidential candidate of the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, decides to contest as presidential candidate in the NPP, he is likely to be rejected by the party.
He then went on to cite the NPP presidential race in 2008 in which 16 other candidates contested the then vice president of the erstwhile President Kufuor administration, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, for the presidential candidacy of the party.
President Mahama also alleged that unlike the NPP, the NDC gives everyone the chance to ascend to the high office, including northerners, and it is that opportunity in the NDC that has made it possible for him to become president after the demise of the late president, John Evans Atta Mills.
The MFWA considers the comments of President Mahama highly divisive and unfortunate and condemns same in no uncertain terms. As a leader of the country, President Mahama is expected to act in ways that will unite rather than divide the people of this country.
The MFWA therefore calls on the president to publicly apologise for his comments. We take this opportunity to urge other political figures to avoid the use of hate speech, ethnocentric and divisive comments in their political campaigns.