22, November 2023
A Ghanaian MP has apologised to Manchester United footballer Harry Maguire after mocking him last year.
MP Isaac Adongo was debating the budget when he compared Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia’s economic management to Maguire’s performances on the pitch.
Maguire has come in for heavy criticism from some fans but fellow footballers have come to his defence.
On Tuesday, Mr Adongo said he wanted to correct the record and hailed Maguire as a “transformational footballer”.
He was a “key player” for Manchester United, Mr Adongo said during a budget debate.
But he did not let up in his criticism of Vice-President Bawumia.
“As for our Maguire, he is now at the IMF, with a cup in hand,” he added.
Mr Bawumia is the head of the government’s economic management team as Ghana faces its most severe economic crisis in years.
As government debt has soared, the country had to take a $3bn (£2.4bn) loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In December 2022 inflation in Ghana reached a record 54% but has since fallen to around 35%.
A year ago Mr Adongo compared Mr Bawumia to Harry Maguire, who Mr Adongo said “became the biggest threat at the centre of the Manchester United defence”.
The video of the speech was widely shared on social media.
It came amid a torrent of criticism of the footballer.
England manager Gareth Southgate has condemned the mockery as “ridiculous treatment” and said he’s been “an absolute stalwart” for the team.
Mr Maguire’s mother also defended her son and said the abuse he has faced has been “disgraceful” and “unacceptable”.
Some Ghanaians have been reacting to Mr Adongo’s apology, saying that the Manchester United player has really improved, but the same cannot be said of the managers of the Ghanaian economy.
Others feel such a comparison should not have been made.
According to Mr Adongo, the Ghanaian government has had to increase taxes and tariffs on services as part of the agreement with the IMF.
This caused widespread anger among voters and triggered protests over the rising cost of living and unemployment in the country.
Despite this, Ghana’s governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has selected Mr Bawumia as its candidate for the 2024 elections.
He will be the first Muslim to contest the presidency under the NPP’s banner since multi-party democracy was restored in 1992.
Mr Bawumia has promised to lead a “united and energised” NPP into the election and that it is “the only party that can transform Ghana”.