Joyce Bawa-Mogtari, spokesperson for former President John Dramani Mahama has condemned Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, for describing Mr Mahama as a “conman”.
She called for an apology from the minister indicating that she is very disappointed for a minister who is being paid with state money to use such unprintable words to describe a former head of state for stating an opinion and making suggestions on an issue.
“I find the comment most unfortunate, I do believe that they probably didn’t listen to the former president’s comment and I do think that in any lingua franca, any leader who uses words such as ‘conman’ and what have you, is most disrespectful and unfortunate especially of the calibre and level of a minister of state,” She told Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on Class FM’s 505 news programme on Monday, 30 April 2018.
Mr Amewu had said small-scale miners in the country should ignore former Mahama’s criticism of the Akufo-Addo government’s use of the military in fighting illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) since the ex-president is a “conman”.
Addressing a sea of supporters of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) during its Unity Walk in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Mr Mahama said although “it is true that if we don’t do something about it [illegal small-scale mining], it will destroy the environment”, “we need to apply wisdom because we’ve chased young people involved in illegal small-scale mining with soldiers in the past in this country, but it didn’t work.”
Reacting to Mr Mahama’s criticism, Mr Amewu told journalists that: “What has Mahama been able to do? Today, we have created a lot of mining districts, we’ve created 12 mining districts and 33 satellite districts.
“We are bringing mining back to the decentralisation level. The small-scale mining which was the status quo was supposed to have mining communities.
“These were not inaugurated in all the years Mahama was president, we have just inaugurated them, bringing mining to the community of the owners of the resources.
“Decentralisation, this is the approach, so, I am so disappointed in [Mr Mahama]. He cannot address the problems. I’m telling the small-scale miners that this gentleman is a conman. He’s deceiving them and if they dare go in for him just because of galamsey, this country will come down.”
However, former Deputy Minister of Transport said Mr Amewu sounded full of “hate and spite” and very wrong in the manner he responded to the remark by Mr Mahama.
She said it is not easy to accept criticism sometimes by leadership in political discourse but very important that “we listen to others before we seem to create wrong impressions and to allude wrong intentions to individuals”.