The government has described as laughable and unfortunate accusations that the award of scholarship to some 225 brilliant students in deprived areas by the state was skewed to benefit some ethnic groups to the detriment of others.
John Jinpor, aide to Vice President John Mahama said “this is once again another fruitless wild goose chase by our detractors aiming at tarnishing the image of the Vice President.”
He was speaking on Radio XYZ 93.1 FM’s current affairs programme, What’s New.
The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), at a press conference on Tuesday accused the Vice President John Mahama of masterminding a discriminating against some ethnic groups in the selection of qualified students. The group alleged that aside the political screening that took place, there was a regional imbalance in the selection of students.
The group said “the cost implication of the Revised Cuban Agreement is worrying and dangerous to the unity and harmony of this multi-ethnic state and more worrying is the level of discrimination that has been deliberately applied in the selection of students for this scholarship programme to Cuba.”
It added that: ”Our greatest concern is to with the regional distributions upon which the applicants were selected across the country. According to official documents available to AFAG, of the 250 Ghanaians selected, a total of number of 122 was allocated to the 10 regions, whiles another 179 was distributed amongst the office of the president, vice president, national security and the scholarship secretariat.”
But Mr. Jinapor in a swift rebuttal said, “the attempt to play tribal politics is unfortunate and Ghanaians should not stand for it. This is a deliberate attempt to introduce unnecessary tribalism into the system and this should be rejected with the vehemence that it deserves.”
He said the qualified students were selected exclusively from the Scholarship Secretariat without any pressure from government and that such an unfounded allegation must be rejected with the needed contempt.
“Scholarships have always been given by the Scholarship Secretariat. They have their criteria. They form a committee and the committee decides the criteria to use, and so we find it quite preposterous for people to say that it is cronies that made up the list. We are talking about Ghanaians,” Mr. Jinapor stressed.
He further deflated the argument that some names on the list of qualified students are Nigerian names and therefore do not qualifier for the award. He said the fact that the individuals had names that sounded like Nigerian names does not mean that they are not Ghanaians.
“I think that if AFAG had taken the pain to do simple basic checks, they would not be committing such grievous errors that they are committing.”
On the cost of the scholarship, Mr Jinapor said other countries in Africa like South Africa are also sending 500 students to Cuba at the same cost and therefore the debate over the expenditure is inconsequential.
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