The Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper has described as dishonest and hypocritical attempt by the governing NDC to dissociate itself from a controversial campaign adverts in which Pastor Mensah Otabil is heard criticizing free education and NPP presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo's all-die-be-die gaffe.
Malik Kweku Baako Jnr says he has incontrovertible evidence to show that a deputy Information Minister is paying for the campaign adverts which are running on radio and in newspapers yet the NDC pretends it has no association with the group claiming ownership of the ads.
The Education Watch group is said to be behind the ads which have brought the head pastor of the International Central Gospel Church Pastor Mensah Otabil in the line of fire.
Otabil protested the use of his messages which he said were pieced together and spliced to create the impression that he was commenting directly on the opposition New Patriotic Party's signature policy proposal to make senior high education free.
According to him, the action by the perpetrators of what he called manipulation of his thoughts, whom he described as affiliates and surrogates of the governing party, was “evil, criminal, and unethical.”
Pastor Otabil appealed to the president to intervene and call the surrogates to order.
His comments have largely been criticized by the NDC.
A statement issued by the head of communications of the Mahama campaign team said the president could not be held responsible for the actions of persons who may or may not have sympathies with the NDC.
Other government spokespersons have sought to dissociate the activities of the Education Watch group from the government and the NDC party.
But speaking on Peace FM's Kokrookoo programme, the Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Kweku Baako Jnr said the party must be bold and take responsibility for its own mischief.
He said a deputy Information Minister is paying for the campaign ads of the Education Watch, insisting the party cannot pretend it is not behind the mischievous attempt to drag the moral teacher into the political melee.
He would however not mention the name, saying when provoked he would.
“I thought they will have the courage of conviction to say 'yes Education Watch'” is an affiliate of the NDC campaign.
“Why are you dodging if you think there is nothing wrong with the adverts”? he demanded.
Mr. Baako argued that the attempt by the NDC to create the impression that the Otabil audio tape was current and that he was contributing to the controversial free SHS policy debate was mischievous and disingenuous.
Shortly after the Otabil tape was released, the General Secretary of the NDC Asiedu Nketia congratulated the ICGC head for speaking against the Free SHS policy of the NPP. That, Kweku Baako insisted was absurd.
How can Asiedu Nketia issue a statement congratulating Otabil for a message released ten years ago?, he questioned.
“The attempt to make the thing look current, to fit it into the election 2012 campaign; that is the real issue. The issue is not whether or not Otabil believes in free education or not. The real issue is that there is an attempt to misrepresent him mischievously,” he insisted.
One of the Deputy Information Ministers James Agyenim Boateng who was also on the show will not deny or confirm that he paid for the education watch advert.
He however criticized the PR handlers of Pastor Otabil, accusing them of doing a bad job.
Mr. Sam P Yalley, a leading member of the NDC and the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) said Pastor Otabil must continue to consistent as he has been all his life.
He argued it did not matter when Pastor Otabil actually made the comments; what is important, he said, is the relevance of the the statements.