The ‘war of words’ that has ensued between the camps of former President John Mahama and the presidential hopeful of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, is getting intense.
Mr. Bagbin, who is the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli Kaleo in the Upper West Region, has ‘fired’ again, accusing former President Mahama of appointing unqualified individuals to head sensitive positions during his tenure.
He specifically mentioned colleague MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, and Dr Edward Omane Boamah, as some people who were not fit to be selected for ministerial positions.
He told NDC delegates in the Volta Region last week that Okudzeto-Ablakwa, then Deputy Education Minister in charge of Tertiary, had ‘problems’ before he got his certificate from the university while Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah was a ‘stammerer,’ who should not have been the Communications Minister.
“We had very good materials in our last government but the placement was wrong. Look at my son-in-law Ablakwa -brilliant handsome young man but he had problems before he got his certificate at Legon. You recall they almost rusticated him,” Mr. Bagbin fired.
He said “after he came to do his national service in Parliament and joined politics, he was made a Deputy Minister for Education in-charge of Tertiary. (So for) the lecturers, what are you telling them? Some of these decisions affected us a lot.”
Turning his attention to the former Communications Minister, Mr Bagbin described Dr Omane Boamah as “an intelligent young man” but said his appointment was misplaced.
“I learnt from tradition that it’s not the chief that speaks, it’s the linguist and so when you are a leader, you must have a very good linguist,” he said, adding “when Prof (Atta Mills) was in power, Haruna Iddrisu was our linguist in charge of communications, when my brother John (Mahama) came to power, he substituted him for Dr Omane Boamah, who is a natural stammerer.”
“He is a very intelligent boy, he is smart but when he is speaking, he wastes time in coming out and Ghanaians do not have that much patience, so they are always looking for those that are rattling,” adding “so, even though you might have a good message, you will not succeed in marketing that message because somebody is there from the other side rattling and they are listening to him, so we came down.”
Mr. Bagbin added “you didn’t realise it; I studied governance and leadership up to the Master’s (level), so I have some of these things at hand… They were some of the mistakes that cost us (NDC) dearly.”
Immediately Mr. Bagbin’s comments hit the media space, Dr. Omane Boamah hit back, challenging the Second Deputy Speaker to a ‘policy debate.’
The former minister did not attack Mr. Bagbin but urged him to stop the insults.
However, as at press time, it was unclear if Okudzeto Ablakwa’s attention had been drawn to the supposed comments by Mr. Bagbin.
Already, Mr. Bagbin has come under intense attacks from elements like National Organizer Kofi Adams for daring to criticize former President John Dramani Mahama.
The 2016 Campaign Coordinator for Mahama’s failed second term bid said Mr. Bagbin has set out to destroy the NDC and not lead it.
According to Kofi Adams, “Mr. Bagbin’s blackmail and destruction of a party he claims he wants to lead into the 2020 elections will not wash.”
He told Joy FM later that Mr. Bagbin is likely to face disciplinary action for going too far, saying “you just gave indication of the party’s disciplinary processes and they would be invoked at the appropriate time.”
Axis of Evil
Recently, an NDC group calling itself ‘Social Democratic Forum’ attacked leading party members from the Volta Region for undermining the former President John Mahama’s comeback.
They directed their arsenals at Mr. Bagbin, saying the MP is being driven by envy of Mr. Mahama and asked him to “back off with his infantile sanctimonious effusions.”
A statement jointly signed by Manan Mustapha and Alhassan Issahaku said “as unpaid vanguards of H.E. John Dramani Mahama’s brand since 2015, we have been watching closely developments within our Great Party, the NDC, as we prepare to elect a presidential candidate for the elections in 2020.”
“A couple of weeks ago, we responded to the calculated denigration of the image of the charismatic President Mahama by the evil axis of Volta led by the newfound Nana Addo loyalist, Mr. Rawlings.”
When the group issued its first statement to criticize some NDC stalwarts from the Volta Region, including the party’s founder JJ Rawlings, the office of Mr Mahama dissociated itself from the statement but did not condemn it for being openly ethnocentric.
By William Yaw Owusu