The 2020 National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer John Mahama has stressed the opposition party has no problems with the National Peace Council despite a leaked tape that called for insults on the Council’s chairman.
Calls for verbal abuse on the chairman of the Council Rev. Prof Emmanuel Asante was made by NDC National Chairman Samuel Ofosu Ampofo who was secretly recorded.
Against his soft-spoken nature, the NDC Chair is heard saying “for the first time, I will endorse insulting the Peace Council chair” much to the appreciative applause at an NDC meeting.
These and other comments revealing plans to create insecurity ahead of the 2020 elections has attracted widespread criticisms of the party.
Samuel Ofosu Ampofo is also under pressure to be sanctioned by his church, the Church of Pentecost where he is an Elder.
Former President John Mahama who has said the tape “should be dismissed with the contempt that it deserves” has been explaining the circumstances leading to the condemned comment.
After calling the tape “a distraction” last Saturday at a party walk, he has told a church on Sunday, the embattled chairman did not mean his words.
Speaking at the Perez Chapel in Accra Sunday during the party’s thanksgiving service for a successful presidential primaries, John Mahama said the party chairman “meant that we should criticise [Peace Council Chair] verbally”.
The former President indicated the Peace Council Chair was singled out because he engaged in selective condemnation.
John Mahama said the reverend minister failed to condemn assault meted out by national security operatives during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election in Accra last month.
The 2020 NDC flagbearer said but for his comment calling for boot for boot in the awake of the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence, Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, in an interview, condemned it and asked for an apology.
“On our side we said as Chairman of the Peace Council, the first thing you must do is to condemn the violence first then after that now you look at what who said or what who didn’t say”, John Mahama explained to worshippers at the Perez Chapel.
“That was our problem”, he said and noted the posture of the Peace Council chairman hurt the party’s leaders and pushed the National Chairman to make a comment deemed negative.
“I mean for our chairman who had witnessed the violence, the guy whose leg was shot, the bone had shattered and the bone fragments were lying on the ground. Anybody who saw it will be traumatized”.
“If a few days after he was talking and saying we should attack the Peace Council chairman, it didn’t mean we should go and beat the Peace Council chairman. It means that we should criticize him verbally.”
The former President has said the leaked tape was the work of government that had bugged offices of the opposition party, a claim government has denied.
Former president John Mahama however said the NDC is willing to work with the National Peace Council to address the menace of party militias ahead of the 2020 elections.
He referred to a letter the party has sent to the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, asking that the Peace Council be made to broker a deal to disband militias associated with the NPP and NDC.
”We believe in the National Peace Council” he said and expressed the party’s preparedness to heed the President’s call for a bi-partisan meeting.
The Presiding Bishop of the Perez Chapel International, Bishop Charles Agyinasare also called on Christians to be conscious of the role they play in Ghana’s politics.
He said Christians are to be “wise as serpents and gentle as doves”, referring to a Bible verse. He warned if politicians fail to disband party militias, the umbrella body of churches will consider waves of demonstrations until the menace is stumped out.
He backed President Nana Akufo-Addo’s threat to introduce punitive legislation to deal with party militias if a planned meeting between the NPP and NDC leaders fail to act.