Breach of protocol? Hannah Tetteh hits back at Rawlings

Mr. Rawlings scolded Ms. Tetteh for walking out of the just ended Conference of the World Mayors in Accra on Monday.

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Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hanna Tetteh is denying claims by former President John Rawlings that she is disrespectful and arrogant.

Mr. Rawlings scolded Ms. Tetteh for walking out of the just ended Conference of the World Mayors in Accra on Monday. According to the former president, Ms. Tetteh rudely left the summit because he insisted that the Vice President, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur should read the keynote address on behalf of the President instead of the minister.

“I was told that the President was not coming to the start of the Conference. Instead he had delegated the Foreign Minister to come and represent him. So I said, he can’t do that.  We have the Vice President here. Protocol is such that if [President Mahama] cannot do it, he should ask his vice president to come and open the conference; not his foreign minister. I tried to call the President and he called back and I told him that we have a Vice President on the ground and he cannot send his foreign minister [to represent him]. He probably wasn’t told that the Vice President was [here], and he said sorry,” the former president narrated.

“I am known for talking about embarrassing situations because I don’t want repetitions. When we were there, the foreign minister turns up and says hello to everybody and tells the mayor that we should start the conference. But the Mayor told her that President has said she should give her speech to the Vice President. But she said, ‘I have a paper to deliver so let us start the conference’. I was holding my phone and listening. Fortunately, the mayor stood his ground and made sure we waited for the Vice-President,” he added.


“Humility is very important when you hold office. It’s not everything that the President does agree with or that I like. But you cannot take away from him, his humble way of doing things, his likable nature. I’m afraid some of the characters around him have a problem”, he noted.

But a statement purported to have been written by Ms. Tetteh said she left the conference at a time when the vice president arrived and was ready to take over the duties she was assigned to early on.

Below is the full statement:

"I heard the Joy FM story. The facts as far as I am concerned are as follows:

On Monday as far as I was concerned the No. 1 item on my agenda was the emergency Cabinet Meeting for 10.00 am. I got a call from Amb. Quartey - Sec to the President at 9.45 asking me to stand in for the President at the Mayors Conference, and that the program was starting at 10.30 am, I asked for the speech to be emailed to me so that I could leave, at 10 am my Chief of Protocol started calling me frantically that the program had been brought forward to 10 am but that while the Mayor of Accra was indicating the VP was coming when he called his protocol officers there was no response and so could I hurry up & come because the program was to start. I rushed to the Conference centre to be told by the Mayor that he had spoken to the President and the VP was coming. My response was that if that was the cased then there was no need for me to be there. 

I decided to sit & wait to see if the VP would come because my understanding was that I was to stand in, and give the President's speech and I thought it wasn't a good idea to leave and be called back. I was sitting on the other side of the room from JJ.

As soon as the VP arrived he went to JJ to greet him & other dignitaries (who I had also greeted when I got there), they were all chatting so I slipped out of the other door and left to go to Cabinet. Admittedly I didn't tell all the people I had previously greeted that I was leaving, but I felt it wasn't really necessary to announce my departure & explaining to everyone the reason why as the program was already running very late & I was sure the focus would be on getting started. Now how is that disrespectful?"

Signed Hanna Tetteh

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