Gender and Social Protection minister designate, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba says she will not apologise to former President John Mahama for comments she made during the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) campaign. Madam Otiko Djaba is reported to have described the former president as “wicked, evil and someone with a heart of the devil” in the run-up to the 2016 elections. The Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, who raised the matter on the floor of Parliament’s Appointment’s Committee on Monday, entreated the minister designate to apologise and disassociate herself from those comments since they were unpleasant. But Madam Otiko Djaba who described the former president as a brother said she stood by her words and spoke based on her convictions. According to her, the actions and inactions of the former president were an “embarrassment” to her and the people of the Northern Region. “The President is my brother and I spoke from my convictions. I made the statements that I made as a wakeup call for him. We are building the nation. He was running for re-election and I felt that the people who should tell him as it is were not telling him as it was. I spoke in relation to SADA. SADA is very dear to my heart. My mother is a Northerner; the incidence of poverty is highest in the three Northern Regions and for a President who comes from the Northern Region, who promised to alleviate poverty, what happened to the Guinea fowls? It was an embarrassment to me and to the North. The Chiefs of the North actually made that statement and so I don’t owe him or you any apology. We are developing and building a nation.” The Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, also entreated Madam Otiko Djaba to withdraw her “insulting” comments and apologise to the former president but she did not budge, saying, “When I talked about his wickedness, the people of Ghana were asking for reduction, they were asking for dumsor to be solved, people were losing jobs and so forth… Are you saying we cannot criticize in this country?” “Does your right to speak include your right to insult?” Harunna Iddrisu asked. But Madam Otiko Djaba insisted that, “It was not an insult. It was a criticism and I am allowed as a citizen of Ghana to criticize the President and these are descriptive words. It is not an insult…I did not insult the President, I criticized him.”
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