General News of Friday, 16 November 2012
Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, has emphatically stated that a Deputy Minister of State is paying for the controversial Otabil political commercials and insists the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) cannot pretend it is not behind the mischievous attempt to drag the renowned preacher of God’s word into the political melee.
According to him, the "dishonesty" driving the attempt to bring in Pastor Mensah Otabil, General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) and sermons he preached years ago at this critical moment, shows how desperate and mischievous the NDC is or can be.
“The attempt to make the thing look current, to fit it into the election 2012 campaign; that is the real issue. The issue is not whether Otabil believes in free education or not; the real issue is that there is been an attempt to misrepresent him mischievously…he (Pastor Otabil) held the press conference to expose the mischief that is going on…Those who are trying to push that to the front are doing so deliberately to hide the mischief …” he posited.
Currently, campaign commercials are running on radio with the voice of Pastor Otabil in the background somewhat ridiculing the concept of free education. But, the NDC claims it has no association with the group, Education Watch Ghana, which is claiming ownership of the ads.
The seasoned journalist, however, pointed out that he is reliably informed the campaign commercials of Education Watch Ghana, are sponsored by government.
It would be recalled that the John Mahama 2012 Campaign Team, on Monday, impliedly told Dr. Otabil that his entreatment to President John Mahama to rise up and speak on the issue of a controversial tape recording in which he (Otabil) is heard scoffing at the New Patriotic Party's free Senior High School campaign policy was misplaced.
The renowned man of God, at a press conference on the same day, described as mischievous, immoral, Machiavellian, and evil the use of his preachings which he claimed had been doctored and manipulated for political gain by some NDC members and urged President John Mahama to act on the matter because “the perpetrators of these blatant acts of impunity are largely affiliates and surrogates of your party.”
In a sharp riposte, the president’s campaign team, in a press statement signed by the Communications Director, Hanna Tetteh, said just as he (Otabil) cannot be held responsible for the “expressed opinion's or moral actions of even his Pastor's, or other officials of the ICGC” or congregants, so also it is an “over-simplification to try to hold the President directly responsible, or ask him to call to order, any individual or group of individual's who may or may not have sympathies with the NDC and who are making information that is easily accessible available in the public domain”.
Speaking to the issue on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokrokoo’, Kweku Baako claimed it is the NDC government paying for the Education Watch jingles.
“I have intelligence but I will not put everything out. I am aware of a deputy minister of state who footed the bills for the jingles of education watch on a particular radio station. I am aware…there is evidence, irrefutable evidence, documented that a Deputy Minister of State is the pay master of that thing….I thought they will have the courage of conviction to say 'yes Education Watch'” is an affiliate of the NDC campaign. Why are you dodging if you think there is nothing wrong with the adverts”? he demanded.