Pressure is being mounted on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to relieve Mr. George Ayisi-Boateng of his duties as Ghana’s High Commissioner to South Africa, following comments condemned widely as divisive.
Among those calling for the head of the embattled diplomat include the Minority Members of Parliament (MPs), OccupyGhana, IMANI Ghana and former Trade Minister, Dr. Spio Ekow Garbrah.
The diplomat, while addressing members of the Tertiary Students’ Confederacy Network (TESCON), a students’ wing of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ashanti Region over the weekend, said his first priority was to members of the party, and that if he had his own way, members of TESCON would be prioritized for various jobs.
“…this government is doing its best to create job opportunities and me for instance, I told my people over there [that], it is because of NPP that I’m here, so the NPP man is my priority. I told them when NDC was in power it was Kwesi Ahwoi who was there, now we are in power, so Ayisi-Boateng is here with you. My topmost priority is the problems of an NPP person before any other Ghanaian, take it or leave it,” he was alleged to have said.
But the minority MPs in a statement signed by the Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament and MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, and issued to the media yesterday in Accra noted that, Mr. Boateng’s comment was “unfortunate and uncalled for”.
“For a country that is famed for producing internationally celebrated and distinguished diplomats of the highest caliber in the persons of H.E. Kofi Annan, Dr. Alex Quaison-Sackey, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambers, Mr. Alex Quartey, just to mention a few. It surely must be an affront of monumental proportions to keep Ayisi Boateng in this reputable league of diplomats for an extra minute,” the NDC minority in parliament said in the statement.
Describing Mr. Boateng as “Chemical Ali” of Ghana’s Diplomatic Service, the minority MPs said, the ball was now squarely in the court of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to show this dangerous envoy the exit.
According to the statement, anything short of sacking the NPP’s stalwart would mean that, President Akufo-Addo “endorses his (Ayisi Boateng) deplorable statements and perhaps explains Ayisi Boateng’s continuous show of rare spiteful bravado”.
Adding their voice to the numerous calls on the President to sack the under fire diplomat, pressure group, OccupyGhana, also in a statement released on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 said: “OccupyGhana is disgusted and appalled by High Commissioner George Ayisi-Boateng’s discriminatory comments that pitched partisan interests above those of other Ghanaians. We are even more shocked by his unrepentant expression of lack of remorse in the face of the massive expressions of disappointment at his divisive comments. We do not have to remind the High Commissioner that as a public officer of his standing, he is required to speak both with honour and from a patriotic disposition. He has failed in this regard and must therefore do the honorable thing by resigning”
The statement continued: “We do not have to remind the High Commissioner that he must operate above party cronyism and the prioritisation of partisan interests above the supreme interests of the Ghanaian people. He has failed in this regard. We do not have to remind the High Commissioner that his comments run counter to the theme of his own party’s Manifesto: ‘An Agenda for Change. Creating Prosperity & Equal Opportunities for All.’ He has failed in this regard too”.
Meanwhile despite the widespread condemnation, there has been no remorse from Mr. Ayisi Boateng, who insisted that there was nothing wrong with putting his party people first.
Speaking on Kumasi-based Abusua FM on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 he said: “I didn’t speak evil at all… When you have a large family but you first make your wife and children eat first before others, what is wrong with that? I am not divisive. E.T Mensah is my senior colleague, when he came to South Africa, find out what I did for him. I have not said anything bad, I stand by my words.”
Meanwhile as of press time yesterday, Mr Ayisi Boateng in statement to the media had rendered an unqualified apology to Ghanaians.
He described his comments as “unfortunate and diplomatic” hence his apology.