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Up close with General Mosquito on World Mosquito Day [VIDEO]

BY: Victor Kwawukume
General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, popularly known as “General Mosquito”
General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, popularly known as “General Mosquito”

World Mosquito Day falls on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, and The Mirror contacted the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, popularly known as “General Mosquito,” to know the story behind the name.

Mr Asiedu Nketia has been known by that name for more than a decade and we sought to find out the history behind the name.

In his usual humorous manner, Mr Asiedu Nketia laughed loud at the question and recounted that he was given that name by the New Patriotic Party (NPP), while he was a parliamentarian.

He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the then Wenchi West Constituency for 12 years from 1992 to 2004.

“I was named General Mosquito by the NPP who thought that it was going to dampen my spirit but as a teacher, the best way to deal with nicknames was to adopt and adapt to them so I did just that,” he narrated.

His days in Parliament

General Mosquito recounted, “they gave me the name because of my performance in Parliament during former President Kufuor’s time.”

According to him, he was known as the Minority spokesperson in those days even though he was not the Minority Leader nor the deputy but because of his performance, he emerged as the de-facto Minority leader at that time.

The Minority Leader then, Mr Alban Bagbin, he said, would not do anything without first consulting him.

Placing his ‘naming ceremony’ within context, he said on the occasion where he was given the name, Parliament was considering the nominees of former President Kufuor for appointments as ministers.

However, he narrated, there happened to be one nominee whom he knew to be unfit to become a minister because of some criminal record that he had and so “I raised it and the Majority tried to fight me.”

“But I fought on and from the beginning I had the support of all the Minority MPs but eventually, they abandoned me one after another.”

He went on to say, “by the time we got to the apex of the debate, I was alone. I was one man against 199 MPs but I stood my ground, fought on and got the guy disqualified and so they said I was a rebel leader.”

“As a result, they tried to liken me to the then rebel leader in Sierra Leone known as General Mosquito because I rebelled against the whole Parliament,” he explained.

A gruesome battle

Relating the experience, Mr Asiedu Nketia said he actually fought a very gruesome battle involving Mr Freddie Blay, who was then the deputy Speaker of Parliament and Chairman of the Appointments Committee, adding that, “everybody who came within my path was dealt with till I got the victory,” he said.

Reacting to the question as whether he had ever regretted his action, he said, “the person I was standing against was also from my region but I maintained that it did not matter because a criminal is a criminal whether it is your brother or mother. I have never regretted that even though it was painful. I suffered a lot of threats on my life but I am happy that I was able to stand them and that person never became a minister.

“So, the fact that I am able to deal with somebody who is from my region indicates good leadership and that sent a signal that if a criminal exists in any other region, I will deal with that person,” he mentioned.

With the benefit of hindsight, he said he was glad he stood his ground and, “I am happy that I did that because I was able to produce the documentary evidence to the effect that the person we were contending with was actually a criminal who did not deserve to be a minister of state.”

General Mosquito on Mosquito Day

On the observance of World Mosquito Day, he said he was not aware of the day even though he was aware of World Malaria Day.

“If I read about it, we can talk,” he maintained.

About World Mosquito Day

Mosquito bites cause life threatening diseases. World Mosquito Day is celebrated every year on August 20, to create awareness of the causes of malaria and how it can be prevented.

The theme for 2019 World Malaria Day is ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me.’ However, this is said to be a grassroot campaign to counter malaria’s global health burden. The theme urges countries to keep malaria high on the political agenda, mobilise additional resources and empower communities to take ownership of malaria prevention and care.

The day aims to curb the vector-borne disease. According to the World Health Organisation( WHO), global malaria burden needs to be addressed immediately as the toll of malaria remains unacceptably high.

As per the WHO, every two minutes a child dies of this preventable and treatable disease and that each year, more than 200 million new cases of the disease are reported.