Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II, Sefwianhwiasohene and Chairman of the Governance and Development Committee of the National House of Chiefs, has denied issuing a statement on behalf of the National House of Chiefs, calling on the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay, to apologise to the President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV, and the entire membership of the House over certain comments deemed insulting which were directed at the President of the House.
He told Accra100.5FM on Saturday, 14 July 2018, that he is very surprised that such remarks could be attributed to him because he has not signed or authorised any press release to that effect.
According to him, his Committee has not met to deliberate on any matter in relation to comments by Mr Blay.
He explained that per their structures, any outcome of such a meeting will need to be forwarded to a standing committee and not the public.
According to him, he is not the spokesperson or registrar for the National House of Chiefs and therefore it is not his mandate to issue press statements on behalf of the House.
“I’m very surprised; I just bought Ghanaian Times Newspaper today and read the story which was attributed to a statement they said I signed.
“I know nothing about that, I called the Registrar [of the National House of Chiefs] and he told me that the Vice President [of the National House of Chiefs] told them that they should put my name under the statement because I’m the Chairman for Governance. At the Governance subcommittee, even after a meeting or deliberation on an issue, we don’t have the authority to communicate it to the public, we have to forward it to the Standing Committee,” he stressed.
“I’ve not met or discussed this issue with anyone, so why would they write a statement [in my name]?” He queried.
Asked if the National House of Chiefs had met to discuss the issue and the subsequent release afterwards, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II said he is not aware and has not been part of any deliberations concerning Mr Blay’s comments.
Mr Blay had described as “palm wine business talk”, a remark by the President of the National House of Chiefs that the 275 buses he (Blay) bought for the NPP ahead of its internal polls, smacked of corruption.
Togbe Afede’s comments were thus: “Let me say that the frequency of corruption at elections is worrying because that sequence itself suggests the lack of trust and lack of transparency. And I think that we all have to work hard to minimise the frequency of perceptions of corruption and corruption. Nananom should lead the fight and should talk for transparency.
“Some time ago, it was one party building a multi-million-dollar headquarters, we all sat down and did not complain. And recently, an aspiring chairman of a party buying several 275 vehicles.
“These are matters that should attract Nananom’s attention. And I’m very happy that at least the latest one has attracted the attention of the special prosecutor. Unfortunately, the canker has spread so deeply”.
However, an angry Freddie Blay described the traditional leader’s remarks as arrogant palm wine talk.
A statement was issued on Friday, 13 July, which said: “The National House of Chiefs has learnt about the insults and castigations of Mr Freddie Blay on the President of the House, His Royal Highness Togbe Afede XIV, and the entire membership of the House, and his description of a portion of the President’s address to the House as ‘palm wine business talk’. The House wishes to state categorically that what the President said when he addressed the House at its general meeting on 6 July 2018 was not inappropriate, and the intent and purpose was to caution against what has become a major stumbling block to development”.
It added that: “The House is, therefore, calling on Mr Freddie Blay to render an unqualified apology to Togbe Afede XIV, and Nananom in general for the insults and the insulting behaviour he put up against Nananom. Also, the House wishes to advise all Ghanaians to promote civility and respect for one another.”
However, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II, maintains that he is not the author of the said release demanding the apology.