I wont apologise to former Pres Mahama

Otiko Djaba,Minister of Gender,Children and Social Protection designate

Otiko Djaba,Minister of Gender,Children and Social Protection designate

Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, Minister-designate for Gender yesterday refused to apologise for many unsavoury remarks she made against former President John Mahama, during the political campaign after various prompting from the minority side.

She contended that the remarks of saying that President Mahama has “a heart of the devil”, “was a violent man”, “was an embarrassment to Northerners” and “extremely wicked” bordered on criticism of public office holders, adding that any attempt to persuade her to retract those statements would infringe on the constitutional provision of freedom of speech.

Madam Djaba expressed these sentiments when she appeared before the Appointment Committee of Parliament, to be vetted for her ministerial position and when the minority side on the committee sought to use the platform to appeal to her to publicly apologise to the former President.

However, the nominee sticking to her guns said her choice of words were meant to arouse the former President’s interests on retrogressive activities surrounding his government, but was not a personal affront to his personality.

Not satisfied with the response, Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader interjected and stated that the Minority strongly objected to the stance taken by the nominee and that she lived to be haunted by those comments.

The Minority dragged the matter further to suggest that such a behaviour would not auger well for the nominee as a role model for the up and coming youths. She said that “if babies with sharp-teeth” were expunged from governance such comments would be unwarranted.

She said at this time and age of Ghana’s independence it was high time to raise the bar to be able to criticise government and its leadership without fear or favour.

Madam Djaba used the occasion to also refute an allegation that her comments seemed to support those who alleged that the Electoral Commission Chairperson, courted her position through sexual favours.

She explained that her comment on the issue was not meant to degrade women, but rather called for an investigation into the matter, especially, with such an allegation from a prominent person in society.

Madam Djaba said she was of the opinion that such an investigation would help clear the name of the E.C. Chairperson and also restore her integrity as an honourable lady.

Touching on her agenda for the ministry after assuming office, she said the Social Protection Act and the policies guiding its implementation would be used to alleviate the poverty in society, especially with regards to vunerable groups.

She said government also has plans to renovate and revatilise dormant orphanages, especially, when only 23 orphanages out of the 66 were in operation with the rest shut down for lack of maintenance and working budgets.

Madam Djaba said the school feeding programme would be extended from its current coverage of 1.6 million to about 3 million students which would mean expanding the catering side of the service.

She said though the service for catering under the school feeding programme would be advertised, there would be an amount of consideration for some party faithfuls who might apply.

By Lawrence Markwei & Julius Yao Petetsi

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