General News of Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Source: Al-Hajj

NMC Boss Caught In Ethnic Bigotry

-Says Prez Mahama is surrounded by Northerners

By A AYayra

At the time all peace-loving Ghanaians, including civil society groups, governance institutions as well as constitutionally mandated organs and religious bodies are advocating and praying for responsible behavior to ensure the country stays united, a senior citizen, Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere may be thinking otherwise.

The chairman of a constitutionally established body, the National Media Commission (NMC), has been caught on tape not only deriding the President, John Dramani Mahama, but also engaged in tribal bigotry.

In one such encounter, which was said to have taken place early last week at a very important location, the hitherto respectable former Ghana Ambassador to Ivory Coast in the Kufuor regime and also an astute journalist of many accomplishments was heard scoffing in a discourse with a pal “your President will fail, he has surrounded himself with his northern tribesmen… Look at Roger, Raymond and Dr Sule Gariba”.

Al-Hajj’s further probing of the matter revealed that, that wasn’t the only instance at which Mr. Kabral Blay Amihere, whose strong leaning towards the opposition New Patriotic Party is never in doubt was making those ethnically disparaging remarks.

As if deliberately selected or calculated, the former Ambassador has made it an article of faith to make appointees of President Mahama with Northern extraction his chewing stick or better still tooth brush in his mouth of which he ridicules and discredit at the slightest instance, The Al-Hajj gathered.

The NMC boss is said to have told his colleagues that President Mahama’s Presidency is mutually assured of its political holocaust and it will be an eye-popping and jaw-dropping experience to watch how the President fails in office because of his regionalist approach to the selection of appointees to help him work.

A source disclosed to The Al-Hajj that, the former ambassador has at many instances argued that position vehemently with many of his friends, but what seems to have caught attention was a recent tango he had with the Executive Secretary of the Commission, George Sarpong who is said to strongly hold a contrary view to Mr. Blay Amihere’s position.

Though, the two downplayed the existence of a rift as a result of the alleged NMC chairman’s ethnocentric comments, credible source privy to the altercation insisted, it happened.

Commenting on the allegation when contacted, both gentlemen denied ever having any discussion on the Presidents appointments, adding “we only discuss issues about the commission and the media, we don’t discuss politics”.

NMC Executive Secretary, George Sarpong noted that “I have never confronted Mr Blay Amihere on any issue relating to the President’s appointment…in fact the MNC boss since he assumed office has never discussed politics with me, we’ve never had any disagreement on any issue relating to politics. My brother, we don’t discuss politics, not to talk of having disagreement on the Presidents appointment. Who might have told you this is peddling falsehood”.

Ambassador Blay Amihere on his part stated that, “my brother, this is complete falsehood…I have political inclination just like you, but where I have gotten to in life, I don’t talk politics. What has the President’s appointment got to do with me? I have never had any disagreement with anybody on the appointments…you can decide to put the story out, I will not even comment or react to it…there are a lot of issues to write about, this type of Journalism will not help this country.”

Mr. Kabral Baly Amihere’s purported dastardly nation-wrecking pronouncement comes as a point of reference in similar and equally unfair and erroneous comments currently been fanned by some political and tribal greyhounds and their media collaborators that President Mahama has upped the ante where all the sensitive leadership positions have been given to Northerners.

Bellyaching about the President’s appointment began with the appointment of Mr. Prosper Douglas Kweku Bani as Chief of Staff at the Presidency and three Northerners; Secretary to Cabinet, Mr. Roger Kwesi Angsomwine; Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Raymond Akongburo Atuguba and Senior Policy Co-coordinator in the Office of the President-Dr. Sulley Gariba. Subsequent to that, President Mahama in fulfilment of constitutional requirements has named some other Northerners just as Southerners, into his administration.

Out of mischief, the crusaders of this erroneous message often lump the three northern regions into one. For them, insofar as an appointee of the President bears a Northern name, he is a Northerner, ignoring the fact that there are three regions in the northern part of the country, which are mutually and ethnically exclusive of each other.

Contrary to this view, a political pundit who spoke to The Al-Hajj argued that the appointment of Dr. Raymond Atuguba (Upper East region), Dr. Sulley Gariba (Northern region), Mr. Roger Ansongwine (Upper West region) and Mr. Prosper Kweku Bani (Volta region) is regionally balanced.

“If anyone states otherwise, it may well be out of ignorance, an effort to sneer at a dignified people or a disingenuous attempt to cast a dim light on the President’s wholesome intentions and actions…the impression should not be created that the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions constitute one region. In some sense they do, that is, if you juxtapose northern Ghana and southern Ghana.”

According to the political pundit, the reasoning that if appointments are based on the three regions of the North they are not regionally balanced but if they are based on any three regions of the south, they are regionally balanced is abstruse logic.

The need for regional balance in the appointment of public officers is enshrined in the 1992 Constitution under the Directive Principles of State Policy (Article 35).

Clause five of this article states that “The State shall actively promote the integration of the peoples of Ghana and prohibit discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of place of origin, circumstances of birth, ethnic origin, gender or religion, creed or other beliefs.

The Constitution further obligates the state in clause (6a) to take appropriate measures to “achieve reasonable regional and gender balance in recruitment and appointment to public offices” towards the achievement of this objective.