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Manasseh Writes: Osafo Maafo Canít Get Evidence, But He Can Be Honest
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There is news that parliament is withholding the approval of some ministerial nominees of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The list includes the Senior Minister-designate, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo; and the Energy Minister-designate, Mr. Boakye Agyarko. Ironically, these were the most impressive of the nominees when they appeared before parliament’s vetting committee. For Mr. Osafo Maafo, his competence is well-documented because he served as a minister in the President J.A. Kufuor administration.

The reason given for withholding Boakye Agyarko’s approval is said to be to his claim that the World Bank put pressure on former President John Mahama to take a decision on a gasification policy. The Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka revealed on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Tuesday.

The Committee, especially the minority side, wants him to provide evidence to that statement.

With regard to  Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo, it has to do with the alleged ethnocentric comments he made at the New Patriotic Party’s Council of Elders meeting in the Eastern Region. Someone secretly recorded the tape and leaked it to the media. In that recording, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo was heard saying that 86.5% of the resources in Ghana come from the five regions – “Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central and Western Region”. He went on to say the norm was that those from resource-rich regions were supposed to govern the nation. He mentioned Germany, where being the flag bearer of a party depended on the amount of resources controlled in one’s region. He said that was, however, not the case in Ghana, where people without resources were managing the affairs of the nation.

He made this statement when Mr. John Dramani Mahama, who hails from the Savannah region of Ghana, was president.

“…You have all the resources, but you have no say in the management of your resources and that is what is happening. Your development depends on the one who has no resources,” the voice said.

“You can’t say this openly,” he cautioned the council members but added that they were at liberty to talk about it to people one-on-one.

When the tape was played on some radio stations, Mr. Osafo Maafo issued a press statement admitting that was his voice but said the tape was doctored. He said “the alleged tape purported  to be [my] voice has been doctored, mischievously re-arranged and pieced together, using modern technology, to create a false impression.”

Some people who listened to the recording disagreed with Mr. Osafo Maafo. The Managing Editor fo the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, was one of them.

“I do not find any gaps in what was recorded”, Mr. Kweku Baako said on Peace FM, adding that it would be difficult to defend or justify contents of Osafo Maafo’s leaked tape.

When Yaw Osafo Maafo appeared on the Vetting Committee last week, the MP for Tamale North Constituency, Alhassan Suhuyini, asked him about his comments in the leaked tape.

He did not deny being the owner of the voice in that tape, but he again repeated his claim that he was mischievously taken out of context. He said he had made a long speech on the economy and since he could not talk about the economy without talking about resources, he named the regions where most of the country’s resources were allocated. He further stated that whoever recorded him, took the earlier part of his message out and presented a portion of it in order to put him in a negative ethnocentric light. He sounded angry and said it was shameful that people would manipulate his speech that way.

I felt ashamed listening to Mr. Osafo Maafo. He is one of the finest brains we have in this country. His credentials are unquestionable. But on this occasion, he failed the integrity test. As soon as he finished answering the question, I went on the internet and listened to the tape again. And I was more ashamed.

He did not just speak about the resources and where they are found. He also told the audience that people who did not hail from regions with resources were governing the country, which should not be the case. He further charged them to spread that information, not publicly, but to their segmented audience. “If you tell Asante’s this, they will say, ‘Oh okay. Is that so?'”

Osafo Maafo is right if he said not the entire speech he delivered was put out there. But as Kweku Baako said, there is a flow of thought in the portion that was leaked. In journalism when someone delivers a one-hour speech, you don’t play a one-hour sound bite in the news. You take the relevant portion. So it is possible that a greater part of Osafo Maafo’s speech, was harmless but only a little part of it was ethnocentric. The sentences were complete and they expressed a complete thought so the issue of doctoring and piecing together does not hold weight.

I expected Mr. Osafo Marfo to have apologised for those comments. We would have ended this matter long ago. After all, he is human. He, like everyone else, makes mistakes in deed and in speech. If everything each of us says in private is ever to get public, it would certainly be disastrous for all of us.

Parliament’s appointment committee is asking Mr. Osafo Maafo to provide the full tape as evidence to back what he claims to be his full and original speech. This is impossible since he did not record the speech himself. Even if he produces his own version of the tape, how can we be sure that he would not cut out the ethnocentric portion? He could have been honest enough to admit and apologise.

Osafo Maafo’s party has the majority in parliament. So if they are bent on passing him to become a minister, it will happen. After all, he comes from the region with resources and he is about to manage the country. He should be given the opportunity to practice what he preached. The only thing we may need to remind him is that resources are not only limited to what nature planted in the land. Human resources are more important than natural resources. And while he rightly manages those resources, he should be minded that millions of people from resource-poor regions also voted for his party.

We may never get to the bottom of this matter. So let’s leave Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo to his conscience to judge him. If he did not say what has been attributed to him, he will be free. But if he really said it and decided to lie to the whole nation on live TV, his conscience will judge him. And that guilt will follow him to his grave.

You can listen to a portion of the said leaked tape on his link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI1g4iQcTZw

Source: manassehazure.com

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