Ashanti Regional Minister, Kofi Opoku-Manu, has recently taken great heat for remarks he made during a speech to supporters of the ruling party, National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 6th.
According to Ghana’s Ato-Kwamena Dadzie, Opoku-Manu “urged party supporters to resort to violence to resolve their differences.”
Dadzie reports in his article, “Opoku-Manu Must Go” with a direct quote from the Regional Minister:
If you can slap him, do so.
Comments like these are reckless and irresponsible. You don’t expect a man in Mr. Opoku-Manu’s position to utter them. But he did.
Two days later, he had no recollection of what he had said until a recording was played back to him. That was when he came to his senses, acknowledged his momentous folly and offered an apology, which only came after some big wigs within the government instructed to clear the mess he has created.
Below is Opoku-Manu’s apology as quoted by Dadzie:
I’ll be the last person to advocate for warfare of any type and having listened to this myself, I must say I really feel sorry.
Dadzie interjects with this comment:
But he didn’t stop there. He offered a veiled defense. He claims he was speaking in a “charged environment”, implying that he wasn’t using his head. He was speaking by heart. You could say he was farting with his mouth.
For opening his mouth too wide to spew such dangerous nonsense, Mr. Opoku-Manu has shown himself to be an irresponsible man who doesn’t deserve to occupy the position he does. He must be sacked. And if there is anyone who deserves a hefty slap it is him. That half-hearted apology he offered only after he had been instructed to do so is not enough.
He must go.
Responses to Opoku-Manu’s comment seem to be mostly in the negative.
David S. left this comment on Dadzie’s blog post:
At a time when Ghana's democracy is in its infancy, the last thing we need is someone encouraging political violence. Nobody wants this country to become like Zimbabwe or Iran. He should be made to resign for encouraging people to damage our democracy with political violence. He is an enemy of democracy.
Banske said this about the same post:
I wonder why people are asking for sacking-sacking doesn't solve the problem. If Ohene Ntow made this statement, what would have happened? If Wereko-Brobby, Jake etc made the statement….What would the BNI/National security do? And people pretend Mills is humane. Sacking him wouldn't stop the order he gave and similar ones given by the Rawlingses, Vanderpuyes, Anyidohos etc. Sack him as RM and bring him to the presidency? This man was the RCC chief director under NPP and that was not enough for him.
If you are born an idiot, you can be 1000years and will still be an idiot that is what OM has confirmed. Is only the fool we sees political appointment as a permanent job. Idiocy can be seeing political appointment as a matter of life and death. By the way Mills is dumb, timid, and powerless and so has not heard/seen anything.
Nana Poku wrote in his article at Modern Ghana, “Opoku-Manu Must go, Apology or Not”:
The more important point is this: how can he assure his political opponents of fairness? How can they trust him to be an honest broker should any matter of political violence come before him as the Chair of REGSEC? How does he ensure the safety and security of the very people he wants beaten up?
I believe he's lost the integrity required for a position as Regional Minister. He must resign or be made to. We were all witnesses to the many cases of intimidation and harassment of political opponents during and after the 2008 elections. The last thing we need in this country is for officials, who should know better, to be purveyors of violence and intimidation, themselves.
A press release by the Alliance for the Advancement of Democracy (AAD), an interest group for the progression of Ghana’s democracy, posted by MyJoyOnline stated:
The Alliance for the Advancement of Democracy (AAD) wishes to condemn the Ashanti Regional Minister- Hon. Opoku-Manu for his malicious and distasteful comments made over the weekend; which have the propensity to destabilize the peace and security of this nation.
The Alliance for the Advancement of Democracy (AAD) also views the call by the New Patriotic Party on Hon. Opoku Manu to resign and the subsequent invitation by the appropriate Security agency on the subject matter as most unfortunate and highly hypocritical. AAD believes that, he who seeks equity must come with clean hands and that the New Patriotic Party's blatant disregard and failure to condemn violent acts of the former Central Regional Minister- Hon. Edumadzie, and the similar comments of Hon. Maxwell Kofi Jumah, Hon. Mike Ocquaye, Dr. Nyaho. Tamakloe, etc. as morally reprehensible and ultimately negates any good intent to uphold the rule of law and to consolidate peace and security in Ghana.
AAD believes that the apology of the Ashanti Regional Minister is an indication of gross remorse and must be accepted in good faith but we however insist that his averments militates against his status as the Regional Minister and the Chairman of the Regional Security Council. We therefore hold the strong view that he must honorably resign or the President must find it necessary to remove him from office. During the 2008 General elections, the President was touted as a man of peace (‘asomdwehene’) and must therefore be committed in working with public officials and appointees who reflect his character and principles.
Sonia left this comment in response to the AAD press release:
I have monitored the activities of AAD and have come to the conclusion that their sense of objectivity and insight in national issues must be commended by all well meaning Ghanaians. I wish AFAG and all pressure groups learn from the brains behind AAD. I believe in the point that he who seeks equity must come with clean hands. The NPP must be bold to condemn their own else they will never be taken seriously.