Ghana’s High Commissioner to South Africa, George Ayisi Boateng, has issued an unqualified apology and retracted his much-criticized comments in which he pledged to prioritize New Patriotic Party (NPP) members in his dealings.
The apology and retraction was contained in a letter signed by the diplomat and dated November 1, 2017.
“I have upon sober reflection, decided to retract the comments I made during my interaction with some Members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ashanti Region over the weekend.I have realised that my statement is unfortunate and at variance with the letter and spirit of the Ghanaian constitution and the dignified office of High Commissioner that I occupy.
I am aware that as the representative of Ghana to South Africa, I have a responsibility to protect the interest of all Ghanaians within my jurisdiction and to grant them equal access to opportunities that are presented, irrespective of their political affiliation,” the statement said.
“I regret the effect of my speech delivered to the young party members which has generated public outcry.I therefore wish to retract my comments and render an unqualified apology to the presidency and all Ghanaians,” it added.
Prior to the apology, there were reports he had been summoned at the Flagstaff over the faux pas, since many Ghanaians have called for his dismissal over the comments largely considered divisive and irresponsible.
The diplomat, while addressing members of the Tertiary Students’ Confederacy Network (TESCON) in the Ashanti Region over the weekend, said his first priority is to members of the party, and that if he had his own way, members of TESCON will be prioritized for various jobs.
Mr. Boateng said he considers NPP members as more Ghanaian than others.
“…this government is doing its best to create job opportunities and me for instance, I told my people over there [that], it is because of NPP that I’m here, so the NPP man is my priority.
I told them when NDC was in power it was Kwesi Ahwoi who was there, now we are in power, so Ayisi-Boateng is here with you. My topmost priority is the problems of an NPP person before any other Ghanaian, take it or leave it,” he said.
Although many groups had called for his dismissal, pressure group Occupy Ghana, had in particular asked that he should be sacked only if he fails to apologize.
It must however be noted that, Mr. Ayisi Boateng called the bluff of Ghanaians after the massive criticism, insisting in an interview with Kumasi-based Abusua FM that he had said nothing wrong and that he would not apologize.
In that interview he said: “I didn’t speak evil at all… When you have a large family but you first make your wife and children eat first before others, what is wrong with that? I am not divisive. E.T Mensah is my senior colleague, when he came to South Africa, find out what I did for him. I have not said anything bad, I stand by my words.”
Some key officials of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), particularly acting Chairman Freddie Blay, had suggested that Mr. Ayisi Boateng may have been taken out of context.
Ayisi’s comment suicidal; Nana Addo must act now – Minority
Prior to today’s apology, the Minority in Parliament turned the heat on President Nana Akufo-Addo to break his silence over the widely condemned partisan comment made by the High Commissioner.
According to the Minority, turning a blind eye on the issue will mean that Akufo-Addo endorses such comments which have been described as “bigotry.”
The Minority in a statement said: “While Ayisi Boateng’s apparent suicidal mission in the face of overwhelming condemnation by decent minded Ghanaians has made him the ‘Chemical Ali’ of Ghana’s Diplomatic Service, the Minority in Parliament like most Ghanaians believe the ball is now squarely in the court of His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to show this dangerous envoy the exit.”
The Minority further described Mr. Ayisi’s comments as “suicidal,” disgraceful and must be sacked immediately.
“It is generally understood that anything short of giving the disgraced High Commissioner to South Africa the sack by President Akufo-Addo can only mean that the President endorses his deplorable statements and perhaps explains Ayisi Boateng’s continuous show of rare spiteful bravado.”
The Minority in the statement also vowed to use every means possible to have their demands met.
“We will not relent in demanding action on this matter. We have considered our options under the Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament, and can indicate our readiness to trigger further processes if Government inertia continues,” the statement added.
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