President Akufo-Addo’s Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, who doubles as the Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has supported and defended the decision of former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, to join pensioner bondholders to picket against Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta over their ignored calls to be exempted unconditionally in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
“I cannot say she [Sophia Akuffo] did the wrong thing because there is a saying that ‘he who feels it knows it all’. That is a song by Jimmy Cliff. If anybody says she did the wrong thing, I would disagree with him.
“Someone may also say she has politicized the whole thing; I don’t see why anyone should say that. However, I do not know how much of her money she has invested in the Bonds that is making her to do what she is doing. That may be someone’s entire investments If the dividends are not coming, his or her whole world would be collapsing”, Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted interview on Kumasi based OTEC 102.9 FM’s morning show dubbed ‘Nyansapo’ on Monday February 13,2023.
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is Member of Parliament for the Suame Constituency and has been a member of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and now the 8th Parliament.
He noted further: “The whole matter is that we should have engagements. There are other policy options open to us, Someone was sharing an idea with me that can Government put a freeze on all capital expenditures this year to use the money to pay? It is a policy option.”
Last Friday and yesterday Tuesday, Sophia Akuffo joined the pensioner individual bondholders to picket at the Finance Ministry to call for an exemption from the DDEP.
She has been very vocal in speaking against the Government of the day and accused Finance Minister of being arrogant and full of pride to an extent he would not respect them enough to respond to a letter they wrote to him to state their exact position on the DDEP and their Bonds.
Sophia Akuffo’s posture did not go down well with the founder and former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Otchere-Darko, who stated via a tweet:
“For a former CJ to take up a noble cause such as she did but at such late hour when all was done and for all that publicity, she owed it to herself and her social standing to have understood the issues far better than what she exhibited last Friday. She is bigger than that.”
Mr Otchere-Darko opined that the former CJ erred “big time in her basic appreciation of the issues”
“Why picket over something you don’t like (the improved offer) when you have the right not to sign up? Sorry, but I struggle to get her emotional outburst over-exemption!
“I hope she won’t volunteer to picket tomorrow and on the same issues when the time to sign up has expired,” he wrote.
Otchere-Darko Under Fire
The retired Chief Justice on Tuesday however fired back at Mr. Otchere-Darko and said he was “rude” and a “disturbance” she would rather ignore than respond to.
Madam Sophia Akuffo said she has not relented in her decision to join the pensioners to picket some more.
She spoke with journalists on Tuesday: Ms Akuffo said: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but blah blah will not hurt me. No”.
“And insults [are] the weapon of the pin-brained”, she noted, adding: “That’s all I’ve got to say”.
“I’m not going to trade words with pin-brains. I’m sorry”.
She said their concern with the government’s behaviour is a “trust issue”, since they have been affected “to the extent that we are feeling uncomfortable even though we are holding government bonds”.