Vice president, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is asking former President, John Dramani Mahama to be a gentleman and apologize to the people of Akyem for endorsing ethnocentric comments against the ethnic group.
It comes after President Akufo Addo's criticism of Mr. Mahama, for allegedly fanning ethnocentric comments against the Akyems.
Although the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer has denied making such distasteful comment, Dr. Bawumia maintains that Mr. Mahama’s comment is unfortunate.
Speaking during his tour of Gusehgu in the Northern Region, Dr. Bawumia cautioned the 2020 election will be won based on competence and not on tribalism.
“We don’t want a president who divides. We want a president who unites and so the recent utterance by John Mahama referring to Akyems as Sakawa boys; how do you take a whole tribe and say they are sakawa. You cannot win this Presidency with tribalism. Ghana has gone beyond tribalism.
“Come and show your competence in the delivery for the people of Ghana. But because you cannot show your competence. You are resorting to tribalism. We will not stand for tribalism and so we will continue to call on John Mahama to apologise unreservedly for what he has endorsed. This election is going to be fought on our record but not on tribalism.”
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.
Already, President Akufo-Addo has questioned the silence of senior citizens over the comment. Mahama must be reprimanded
Meanwhile the President has said politicians who make distasteful comments must be called to order irrespective of social status or political affiliation.
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.