Ashanti Regional Minister, Kofi Opoku-Manu, must have smoked some weeds before mounting the podium to address NDC supporters over the weekend. There are few other ways to explain the senseless speech he delivered, urging party supporters to resort to violence to resolve their differences. If he wasn’t under the influence of any hallucinogens, then the man must be in need of serious psychiatric evaluation.
“If you can slap him, do so,” he said in Twi as he lashed out at those whose deeds were threatening the NDC’s stay in power. Comments like these are reckless and irresponsible. You don’t expect a man in Mr. Opoku-Manu’s position to utter them. But he did.
Two days later, he had no recollection of what he had said until a recording was played back to him. That was when he came to his senses, acknowledged his momentous folly and offered an apology, which only came after some big wigs within the government instructed to clear the mess he has created.
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“I’ll be the last person to advocate for warfare of any type and having listened to this myself, I must say I really feel sorry,” he said.
But he didn’t stop there. He offered a veiled defence. He claims he was speaking in a “charged environment”, implying that he wasn’t using his head. He was speaking by heart. You could say he was farting with his mouth.
For opening his mouth too wide to spew such dangerous nonsense, Mr. Opoku-Manu has shown himself to be an irresponsible man who doesn’t deserve to occupy the position he does. He must be sacked. And if there is anyone who deserves a hefty slap it is him. That half-hearted apology he offered only after he had been instructed to do so is not enough.
He must go.
If he can speak so recklessly in public and urge his people to go about slapping their opponents, you can only imagine what he tells them in private. In public it is “slap him”, in private it could be “shoot him”. You never know.
If President Mills is really the ‘Asomdwehene’ he loves to be called, he shouldn’t have people like Opoku-Manu working for him. If the president is serious about promoting tolerance, building a united nation and preventing conflagrations like the one in Bawku from spreading to other parts of the country, he should have sacked Opoku-Manu on Monday. It’s not too late, though.
As he celebrates his first anniversary in power, President Mills has another opportunity to show the nation that he’s committed to being a father to all. No responsible father will look on unconcerned as one of his older sons incites the younger ones to slap each other. Opoku-Manu is a nation-wrecker and he must go.