President Akufo-Addo has questioned the silence of senior citizens over what he says is a disturbing ethnocentric comment made by former President Mahama about the people of Akyem.
Nana-Addo says politicians who make distasteful comments must be called to order irrespective of social status or political affiliation.
A post by the Bolgatanga Central MP, Isaac Adongo, describes elements from the New Patriotic Party as “Akyem Sakawa Boys” in relation to the controversial Agyapa Royalties deal.
The article was shared on the Facebook page of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer, John Mahama.
But at a meeting with the leadership of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference on politics of insults which is gradually creeping into the country's body politic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo said those who matter in Ghana’s political space should condemn the comments made by the (NDC) flagbearer.
“I am very disturbed about this remark made by the former President Mahama about Akyem people. I have not heard any senior citizen of this country – lay, religious or civil society organization reprimand him for that thing. What can be the basis of such a remark? This is the kind of language we don’t want in our politics.”
Nana Addo used the occasion to remind Ghanaians and leaders in politics that a goal of political discourses in the country is to obtain a sanitized public space where debates and national issues dominate and shape public life.
“For me, if a president opens his mouth to say something that is unacceptable, he should be reprimanded and in the same way, if opposition politicians should conduct themselves in their utterances in an unacceptable manner, they should be reprimanded”, Nana Addo said.
President Akufo-Addo also said he was disappointed at the lack of criticism towards those remarks from observers.
“Sometimes one would hope that when things come out, people will comment on them. The comment made by my opponent; Akyem Sakawa people, I have not heard any public figure in this country or anybody comment on it.”
“If I was to get up to make a comment about northerners or Gonjas, you can imagine the uproar that will be in the country,” the President lamented.
He also noted that the government had become a punching bag on matters of free speech.
“If you criticize the government, no matter what you say, it is legitimate. If the government is to respond, that is somehow illegitimate.”
President Akufo-Addo thus stressed the need for a zero-tolerance approach to comments deemed unsavoury.