Double Trouble For Fiifi Kwetey
Fiifi Kwetey, a Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, seems to have bitten more than he can chew over the recent wikileaks expose in which he was reported to have insinuated that no Muslim can be President of this country.
He has employed various measures to put a twist to the report, but several people from the northern part of the country, especially Muslims still have issues with him.
Fiifi Kwetey, the former Propaganda Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), reportedly told officials of the American Embassy in Ghana that 'while most Ghanaians would not admit this openly, a Muslim could not be elected President of Ghana.'
However former Presidential Spokesman during the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, Andrew Awuni is among several people of northern extraction who are seething with anger.
Though not a Muslim, Mr Awuni has sneered at comments by Fiifi Kwetey since in his opinion it casts a slur on the conscience of people from that part of the country.
The deputy minister, in the process of denying the accusations, indicated that he sought to say the NPP tradition has no respect for Northerners and Muslims and that they use and dump Muslims and that was why former Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama failed in his quest to become the presidential candidate in 2007.
'I'm a Northerner, I'm a member of the NPP, I worked in various positions in an NPP government under President Kufuor and I feel insulted by that statement and I want to believe that every Northerner or every Muslim who is a member of the NPP, is sympathiser of the NPP, is a worker of the NPP and has ever worked with the NPP will feel insulted by that statement that we are used and dumped. In other words we don't even know that we are being used,' he commented.
Mr Awuni, who is also a former Deputy Minister of Information, noted that out of the five presidential elections that have been held in Ghana under the fourth Republic the NDC has won three whilst the NPP has won two.
'In all the three wins, how many Muslims or Northerners were presented as vice presidential candidates or emerged as vice presidents of the country,' he quizzed.
He however noted 'on both occasions, a northerner was presented as vice presidential candidate and a northerner became the vice president of our country. Now if we are talking about respect for Muslims and for Northerners, I think that we have our answer right there.'
Though it has been more of a convention and not a law for political parties to choose a Southerner mostly Christian as presidential candidate and a Northerner or Muslim to partner him during elections, it was Fiifi Kwetey's party, the NDC that truncated the process in 1997 when President Rawlings chose another Christian and Southerner in the person of the late Kow Nkensen Arkaah as his running mate.
Explaining further, he said 'In our over 50 years as a sovereign nation, we have had only one Northern President; that has been Dr Hilla Limann. It was Fiifi Kwetey's tradition that truncated the regime of Dr Hilla Limann.'
'One would have thought that after they took us on those eleven adventurous years and the people of Ghana said no let's go back to where we started from, Fiifi Kwetey's tradition would have compensated northerners by appointing or selecting a northerner as their vice presidential candidate in line with the political convention that has existed in our country here,' he noted.
'That was not to be. For the first time in the political history of this country, we had a situation where a ticket was presented and both names on the ticket were southerners and Christians. That was an action taken by Fiifi Kwetey's political tradition where we had His Excellency Kow Nkensen Arkaah partner Rawlings against the political convention of our country' not to even talk about that of Mills.
He recalled with nostalgia how in 1981, the PNDC, led by Jerry Rawlings used the likes Alolga Akatapore, Christ Atim, Zaya Yebo, Napoleon Abdulai and Matthew Adabuga (the brains behind the 81 coup who are all in exile) and dumped them.
'So if we are talking about respect for Northerners or Muslims, I beg to differ that Fiifi Kwetey and his tradition cannot go on that path because they cannot win that debate.'
'The leadership of his party must rein him in because if they allow us to go on the NDC cannot win the debate because the Muslims of this country would realise that the political tradition that has made it possible for one of the Muslims to stand on a national platform and lift the Quran to swear is the NPP tradition.'
But for the NPP tradition, he noted, 'the Quran would never have been raised at that level and if they are to follow the NDC, they will never get it.'
The former minister advised Fiifi Kwetey and the NDC to desist from practicing ethnic or religious politics.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu