On Monday, October 16, 2023, claims suggesting that Former President John Dramani Mahama had said President Akufo-Addo refused to visit victims of Volta River Authority’s Dam spillage because of their ethnicity emerged on social media.
Politics: Ashantis are not better the than Ewes
— Daily Insights GH (@DailyInsightsGH) October 16, 2023
The claim has been widely circulated including by the embattled former Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Koku Anyidoho. He was not pleased by the claim.
If he did not say it, he should come out quickly and deny it otherwise it will go down in history as a highly unfortunate statement. pic.twitter.com/JwsQEOS5Yi
— Samuel Koku Anyidoho🇬🇭 (@KokuAnyidoho) October 17, 2023
Fact-Check Ghana has verified the claim and presents the findings below.
Claim: “Akufo-Addo does not want to come to Volta region to inspect the havoc of the spillage. If it was Ashanti region he would have rushed there. Are Ewes not human beings too? Are Asantes more human beings than ewes?”
Verdict: Completely False
Explanation: On Friday, October 13, 2023, the former President, John Dramani Mahama visited some affected communities of the Akosombo Dam spillage in the South, North and Central Tongu constituencies of the Volta Region.
He sympathized with the victims and proposed ways the devastation could be assuaged.
This follows the decision of the Volta River Authority (VRA) to spill excess water from the Akosombo Dam to avert a collapse of the dam, which is one of the major sources of electricity for the country.
“It happens once in a while not every year, it is an effect of climate change… we have to see how to adapt. I think that the approach has been a bit lackadaisical, actually, that is why I came, so that it will let them see that this is real. Sometimes, if you read in the media, you think that this isn’t real,” the leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said in his engagement with the media.
Mr Mahama urged the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to fast-track its policies and support the affected communities with relief items as well as other security measures to protect lives and property.
He also proposed the distillation of the Lower Volta Basin, particularly the estuary at Ada in the Greater Accra Region to avert similar happenings in the future.
The team’s review of video footage and reports from some media outlets that covered the former president’s visit did not find any evidence of Mr Mahama making such a claim.
In his speech and engagements, the former president never mentioned the reason President Akufo-Addo had not visited the victims yet. He didn’t even mention “Ashanti region” in his speech.
Further checks also revealed no prominent media house has reported the claim.
Fact-Check Ghana also interviewed some journalists who covered the former president’s visit. Joseph Armstrong Gold-Alorgbey of TV3 and Ivy Setordjie of JoyNews who were present when the former president visited the victims said he did not make such a statement in all his engagements.
Also, Fact-Check Ghana’s searches didn’t find the former president making any claim of such before his visit to the Volta Region as well.
Indeed, Mr John Mahama has debunked the claim.
This is false and they know it!
Kindly ignore such acts of disinformation from the Office of the President of Ghana. pic.twitter.com/qjc9zaXxMy
— John Dramani Mahama (@JDMahama) October 17, 2023
Besides the apparent false information, President Akufo-Addo visited some of the victims in the Volta Region yesterday, October 16, 2023.
From the above, it is clear that John Mahama did not say President Akufo-Addo did not visit the victims because they are Ewes.