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'And so, if few days after, he (Ofosu Ampofo) was talking and he says we should attack him, he didn't mean we should go and beat the Peace Council Chairman. It meant that we should criticize him.'

Former President John Dramani Mahama has validated the contents of a leaked audio recording of Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which, hitherto, had been denied by some party officials.

At a thanksgiving church service attended by all the presidential hopefuls that contested him in the recent presidential primary at the Perez Church in Accra yesterday, Mr. Mahama did not directly mention tape or audio, but made references to the alleged comment made his Chairman on the leaked recording, which is being described as having been doctored.

Mr Ampofo is heard on the controversial audio recording advising his party communicators to attack the Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC), Professor Emmanuel Asante, and the head of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensah. During his speech at the church service, the former president said Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo went ballistic on the NPC chairman because he failed to first condemn the Awayaso West Wuogon by-election violence, and yet went ahead to criticise his 'boot-for-boot' comment.

'If you had condemned the violence and commented on what the former president said, that would have been acceptable. So, in the circumstances, of course, for our Chairman (Ofosu-Ampofo), who had witnessed the violence, the guy whose leg was shot, the bone has shattered and the bone fragments were lying on the ground. Anybody who saw it will be traumatised. And so, if a few days after, he was talking (leaked tape) and he says, we should attack him, he didn't mean we should go and beat the Peace Council Chairman, it meant that we should criticise him.'

Former President Mahama, who vividly understands the role of the NPC's Chairman as a neutral interlocutor, said Professor Asante erred when he condemned him, and insisted that he owed the nation an apology.

He also vehemently blamed the radio station presenter who interviewed Prof. Asante, for misleading him to criticise his 'boot-for-boot' comment, without first providing the Peace Council Chairman the opportunity to condemn the by-election violence.

'So on our side, we said, as Chairman of the Peace Council, the first thing you must do, is to condemn the violence first. Then after that, now can you look at what who said or what who didn't say but without condemning the violence, the presenter asked, and he says, what of President Mahama, he said 'boot-for-boot' will you condemn it?

'The Peace Council Chairman said: 'I haven't heard what he said,' and the presenter said, I can tell you on assurance that he said it, and that there are witnesses, and, we can even bring the audio and play it. And the Peace Council Chairman said, if he said it, then I think it was wrong.

'Then he pushes him again, so does he owe an apology to the nation?' and he says well, as an ex-president if he said that, then I believe he owes the nation an apology, without condemning the violence. That was our problem.'

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Publication:Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra, Ghana)
Date:Mar 7, 2019
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