As the backlash over recent comments by Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, on Aisha Huang rages on, a veteran journalist has urged him to make a public apology.
Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako Jnr said the best way Mr Osafo-Maafo can quell public anger over his “avoidable gaffe” at a public engagement in the United States would be for him to admit he made a bad call.
“He should do the honourable thing…and do an open apology and retraction. I am not one of those people who is calling on him to resign,” the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper said Saturday on Newsfile.
He said the Senior Minister is somebody he likes and respects, however, he admits, “it is difficult to defend him on this call.”
Addressing a town hall meeting in the United States recently, the Senior Minister sought to explain why a notorious Chinese woman, Aisha Huang, known for her exploits in illegal mining was only deported after she was arrested by state authorities.
A Ghanaian participant at the event wanted the government’s justification for letting go of the woman known as “Galamsey Queen.”
Responding to the questioner, the Senior Minister said Ghana has good diplomatic relationship with China and intends to partner the Asian country in key infrastructural projects, citing the $2 billion Sinohydro deal.
“Today, the main company that is helping develop the infrastructure system in Ghana is Sinohydro, it is a Chinese Company. It is the one that is going to help process our bauxite and provide about $2 billion to us,” he said.
"So, when there are these kinds of arrangements, there are other things behind the scenes. Putting that lady [Aisha] in jail in Ghana is not going to solve your economic problems,” he said.
The response has been condemned.
A prominent figure in the fight against illegal mining has described the comment as a “fatal blow” to ending galamsey.
Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako Jnr
Kwaku Baako Jnr also urged Mr Osafo-Maafo to do a full disclosure of the relationship Ghana has with the Chinese the $2 billion Sinohydro deal.
“It was a public record that the Attorney General filed a nolle prosequi. We debated left, right and centre on it. The matter ended,” he said, adding that instead of an economic explanation, the Senior Minister should have simply stuck to the law.
“It is true that jailing one person, Aisha Huang, in this case, will not resolve Ghana’s economic problems. That’s true. That’s a fact. But jailing her, based on the evidence in court, also would enhance that culture of deterrence that we seek to grow. It will bring about a certain disincentive for the impunity that we are all worried about.
“That is why he ought not to have brought in this whole point in order not to cause credibility and integrity for himself and the administration he belongs to,” he said on Newsfile, a news analysis programme on Joy FM/MultiTV.