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Opinions of Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Columnist: Dr. Ekow Acquah

It is inconceivable to rope in Bawumia for Prof. Attafuah's politically incorrect comment

Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

One of the many satirical quotes attributed to late Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe is that "freedom of speech is guaranteed, but freedom after speech is not guaranteed."

Even though the quote is pure satire and falsely attributed to the iconic former leader, there is truth in it, as many people have had to bear the consequence of their utterances.

This week, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Identification Authority, Prof. Ken Attafuah has been on the radar and has been bearing the brunt of some members of the New Patriotic Party after he innocuously upset the rank and file of the party during a radio interview.

In a video of the interview, which has gone viral, the eloquent and normally tactful Attafuah slipped up and told the world how President Akufo-Addo had told him not to flood the NIA with NPP loyalists, in order to leave a legacy of a non-partisan NIA.

Frankly, the context of Attafuah's claim would resonate well with adherents of good governance. The statement, no matter how provocative and insensitive NPP party loyalists see it, casts both Prof. Attafuah and the President in great light, as leaders who are bent on ensuring that qualified Ghanaians are employed on merit, regardless of political affiliation.

It is a statement that portrays the President as one who believes in equal opportunity for every Ghanaian.

However, the comment by Prof. Attafuah was a politically incorrect statement. Even more catastrophic was making it in the public domain.

Even if the President had had such a discussion with the NIA boss, he should have been more tactful not to divulge such sensitive matter in public in the manner he did.

Adherents of good governance would hail such a stance, but the reality of Ghana's political situation is that political parties give birth to governments and supporters of political parties are those who do all the dirty works and campaign vigorously for parties to win and form governments.

In the case of the NPP, their supporters are Ghanaians, and some of them are well qualified academically to compete with other Ghanaians for vacant public positions. So why deny them their deserved opportunities simply because they are NPP supporters?

If it is wrong to pursue a policy of padding public offices with qualified party supporters, it is equally wrong to deny qualified Ghanaians such opportunities because they support the ruling NPP.

Frankly, Ken Attafuah is undoubtedly qualified for the position he is occupying, but he is there primarily because of his affiliation with the NPP. If it was another party in government, he wouldn't be there, just as the NDC kicked him out in 2009 when there was a change of government in spite of his remarkable credentials.

So using himself as a beneficiary of his NPP affiliation, he should have known better and he should have been very tactful in his utterances.

THE UNFORTUNATE BAWUMIA CONNECTION

Ken Attafuah's political gaffe, has predictably attracted the ire of some NPP kingpins. Some have even suggested that his inconsiderate commentary deserves a sack, or at best, a voluntary resignation.

But in the midst of the blistering attack of Ken Attafuah has emerged a ridiculous attempt to rope in the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, due to his known close relationship with the NIA boss.

Some have even gone to the extent of claiming that Dr Bawumia cannot be trusted to lead the NPP in the future because of what his friend has said.

I find the attempt to link Dr Bawumia to the tactless comments of Ken Attafuah unfortunate and really bizarre. The viral video is very unequivocal in content and context. Ken Attafuah makes his claims without mentioning Dr Bawumia, so why are people trying desperately to rope in Dr Bawumia?

Ken Attafuah is a man of unquestionable stature in NPP circles and big enough to carry his own cross for his iniquities.

In fact, Ken Attafuah started playing key roles in NPP government when Dr Bawumia was Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana.

Did Prof. Ken Attafuah get his appointment with the National Reconciliation Commission under President Kufuor because he's friends with Dr Bawumia?

Did he also get .........because he is a friend of Dr Bawumia?

Ken Attafuah is not the only person who served in the Kufuor administration and has also had the opportunity to serve in the Akufo-Addo government. There are many of them, who got reappointed because of their experience and what they bring on board.

So if Attafuah has erred and his comments have incensed the rank and file of the party, he should be dealt with as a matured individual responsible for his own actions. He must carry his own cross without giving a piece to the innocent Vice President, who has an excellent relationship with the rank and file of the party.

Indeed, Prof. Ken Attafuah is big enough to be held solely responsible for his actions and inactions.

It is those who have nothing against the clean Dr Bawumia who are desperately clutching on Ken Attafuah's gaffe in a desperate but failed attempt to taint the Vice President.

Dr Bawumia has earned the trust, confidence and support of many patriots, and no amount of machinations by his few detractors would erode the trust.