Gender, Children and Social Protect Minister-designate Otiko Afisa Djaba has said she will not apologise to ex-president John Mahama for once describing him as “wicked” and “an embarrassment” to the people of northern extraction.
“I don’t owe him [Mr Mahama] or you [Alhassan Suhuyini] any apology…” she said in response to the Tamale North MP’s question during her vetting on Monday, 30 January about whether she would apologise to the ex-president on whom she used those words during the electioneering period ahead of the 7 December 2016 elections.
“My comment about he being an embarrassment was in relation to SADA, it was in relation to SADA that I said he had embarrassed northerners and the northern chiefs themselves had come to say same,” Ms Djaba justified, explaining that: “When I talked about his wickedness, the people of Ghana were asking for reductions, they were asking for ‘dumsor’ to be solved, people were losing jobs and so forth … what I said was within the context of that period.”
When asked by Tamale South MP Haruna Iddrisu if she would withdraw those words owing to their harshness, which the minority took “strong exception to,” Ms Djaba retorted: “Are you saying that we cannot criticise in this country? Are you saying that my right to speak [is curtailed?] … It was not an insult, it was a criticism and I’m allowed as a citizen of Ghana to criticise the president and these are descriptive words, it is not an insult.”
Asked by Mr Iddrisu if she stood by her words, Ms Djaba said: “Yes Mr Chairman. … I did not insult the president, I criticised him.”
In 2014, Ms Djaba told Moro Awudu on Radio XYZ’s breakfast show that: “This President [Mr Mahama] is not serious. He has embarrassed a lot of Northerners.”
Reacting to Mr Mahama’s promise, at the time, to progressively make Senior High School education free as announced in the state of the nation address presented to Parliament in that year, Ms Djaba said: “He’s embarrassing mother Ghana and the IMF is telling him that: ‘E no dey go well’, so he should stop the ‘edey be k3k3’; put down his Dubai things and get down to the ground and give us the bread and butter things that we need for the development of this country”.
Also, in the heat of the 2016 campaigns, Ms Djaba said: “President Mahama’s time is up. …President Mahama is extremely wicked, and, so, he must step down. We need change, we need someone who is passionate about this country. You have to vote massively for Nana Akufo Addo. We need change this year. Your time is up President Mahama.”