General News of Monday, 19 November 2012

Source: Al-Hajj

Mahama Attends IEA Debate Under Protest

-Pastor Mensah Otabil to boycott Event

Information reaching this paper indicates that the President, John Dramani Mahama will be attending the 2nd presidential debate organized by Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) under severe protest.

Our dependable sources close to the presidency reveal that, though, President John Mahama has been livid over recent needless strong language and anger on him and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) by the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) and the Chairman of the 2012 Presidential Debate committee, Pastor Mensa Otabil, he nevertheless has decided to attend the debate as a mark of respect to Ghanaians in general and as a mark of consolidating Ghana’s fledgling democracy, albeit, under gripe.

“But for the respect that the President has for Ghanaians and the need to strengthen the frontiers of our democracy, he would have boycotted the event. You see, as it is often said; two wrongs don’t make a right. All the same the President will be there but will definitely register his abhorrence to the preacher’s conduct” the source hinted

Though the source could not tell exactly how the protest will be registered, we take into cognizance the clarion call on some well meaning Ghanaians that the respectable priest should apologize to the President before sitting in the chair tomorrow as the presiding officer of the debate.

Our intelligence also has it that, Dr. Otabil has vowed not to apologize to the President and the NDC, and to avoid coming face to face with the President, the Preacher man, according to our sources will be travelling outside the country on the eve of the debate. This decision by the Man of God, we understand was a face-saving move geared towards ‘mending’ the negative backlashes his verbal war on the President attracted.

In the past few weeks, a number of audio tapes have been released in which the preacher has been heard making comments that appear to criticize the political promises of the opposition New Patriotic Party. The first tape had Dr. Otabil arguing that free education, (the NPP flag-bearer Nana Akufo-Addo has promised free SHS), could never be possible.

The tape received wide publicity, prompting the church to release a statement denouncing the tape as a "collection of thoughts edited from a message shared by Pastor Otabil several years ago and pieced together to create the impression that he is taking a stand on the current political debate on the issue of education.”

But that did not deter those bent on using Dr. Otabil’s sermons for political purposes and they released many more tapes. This prompted the Preacher, at a press conference last week Monday to launch an unrelenting verbal attack on the President and members of the NDC.

He described the actions by the perpetrators as evil, defamatory, marauding and Machiavellian. Owing to this he, however, called on President John Mahama to rise up and speak on the issue because “the perpetrators of these blatant acts of impunity are largely affiliates and surrogates of your party.”

But in a sharp response, the 2012 campaign team of the President craved the indulgence of the Preacher not to draw the President into the raging controversy since the preacher himself cannot be held responsible for the actions of his sub Pastors.