“They are Moslems that is why they are unable to develop” -
The Interior Minister, Hackman Owusu Agyemang cannot hide his disdain and contempt for northerners in particular and Muslims in general. He would swear heaven and earth that he feels no such sentiments towards them. But what he really thinks about them came out last Saturday when he called into Radio Gold's ever-popular Alhaji and Alhaji current affairs programme to correct what he called were misleading statements.
Apparently unaware that his call to the station had been answered, the Minister could be heard on air making scathing remarks about Moslems. Hackman was caught live on tape making the remark in his native Twi, "omu ye moslems, omunko omuenim nti", which loosely translates as: "They are Moslems that is why they are unable to develop".
The Interior Minister had called the programme to deny having said that he had seen the video of the events leading to the killing of the overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II.
Listening to the tape, one gets a very clear impression that the Minister was discussing the Dagbon crisis with another person, and was expressing the view that the Dagbon people are in the precarious situation in which they find themselves because of their religion.
This would not be the first time that Mr. Hackman Owusu Agyeman is being caught on air saying things that he would have wished remained concealed from the general public. It will be recalled that on June 4, 2001, minutes after the famous Boom speech by President Rawlings, Hackman was called by Joy Fm to make a reaction to the speech. on that occasion as well he was heard saying that, “he (Rawlings) should not bring his Nkwasiasem on me O…”. He was completely surprised when the Joy Fm presenter pointed out to him what he was saying on air whilst he thought he was off air.
In an a telephone interview with The Lens, Alhaji Bature Iddrisu, the host of the program Alhaji and Alhaji, expressed shock at the Minister's insulting remark, describing it as "unbelievable and very unfortunate". "I consider it very, very unfortunate that a Minister of State could make these rather derogatory remarks about the Dagomba people and the larger Moslem community, and I think that the Dagomba people and the Moslem community deserve an unqualified apology not only from the Minister, but from the government that he represents."
The co-host of Alhaji and Alhaji, Alhaji A. B. A. Fuseini was absolutely livid at the Minister's comment, and said that, “it is rather unfortunate that such a statement came from a whole Minister”. He condemned the statement and called on the Minister to retract the statement and issue an unqualified apology to the people of Dagbon and the Moslems of this country. It is an open secret that the oligarchic, tribal and elitist Kufuor regime has very little regards for many segments of the Ghanaian populace especially Northerners and muslims that they derogatorily refer to as Zongo people. The treatment that this segment of the populace suffered in the hands of the forbears of the NPP, Busia's PP is a classic reference point to the contempt that tradition holds towards the muslims and the northerners in general. Thousands of them, were forcibly driven out of Ghana during the Busia regime's Aliens Compliance Order.
They lost all their property, and some lost their lives not to talk about the magnitude of the psychological trauma they had to undergo at the hands of the tradition that has regards only for their tribesmen and people they classify as the haves in society.
It will also be recalled that the former General Secretary of the NPP, the Late Agyening Boateng in the run up to the 1996 elections made a similar comment when he castigated the moslems of Ayawaso Central referring to them as people who are uninformed. He later unsuccessfully tried to deny having made the remark. It will come as no surprise if Hackman attempts to claim that he did not mean the words the words that are being attributed to him.
Just last week again, while speaking to a delegation that had called on him at the Castle, the President, Mr. Kufuor made it clear that he settled on Aliu as running mate in the year 2000 because his preferred choice for the position was "stubborn" in his refusal to allow him (Kufuor) "to use him".
According to Mr. Kufuor, after sending emissary after emissary to his preferred choice of candidate to tell him that, in his own word, "I want to use him for something", the man simply "proved stubborn" in his decision not to be his running-mate. Thus, having been left with very little choice, he (Mr. Kufuor) settled on Aliu Mahama, who allowed himself to be "used" to achieve Mr. Kufuor's presidential ambition.
That Aliu was an after thought has always been an open secret. It is also known that the only reason why Aliu was re-nominated this year was the fear of a massive Islamic backlash such a move would have had on the party's ambitions. In NPP circles, Aliu continues to draw very little respect and regard. Compared with the high esteem in which Moslems like Alhaji Mumuni, Ibrahim Adam, Mahama Iddrisu, Hudu Yahya etcare held within NDC circles, Aliu Mahama continues to be regarded only as a bait to win Islamic votes only to be dumped at the opportune moment, in a typical Busia Danquah elitist fashion.