Feature Article of Friday, 16 March 2012
Columnist: Amponsah, Stonash
Barely after 48 hours of meeting the US President Barrack Obama, and touting about the deepening of democracy by his government, Prez Mills and his entourage bare their hypocritical teeth and offered Ghanaians in the US a raw “authoritarian” democratic practice when it was made clear that the Prez and his ministers can only take hand written questions.
The program which started 12:00 GMT saw the Prez and his entourage walked into the auditorium amid drumming and dancing by Adowa culture troupe.
After the open prayer, attendees were staggered when the MC for the program who also doubles as the Vice Counselor of the Ghana embassy in US, told the crowd that the mode of questioning the Prez and his ministers is through writing - on a sheet of paper distributed to the attendees by the organizers.
There was an abrupt uproar that meted the announced code of conduct of the program, apparently in disapproval. One had expected that after haven touted to Prez Obama about deepening democracy by his government, the Prez and his entourage would have had a change of heart by such display of disapproval by the attendees. But, as usual, the Prez and his entourage ignored the crowd! This is an exact epitome of the hypocrisy, double standard and insensitivity that have enclave the Mills’ administration.
It was therefore not surprising when the MC who had the discretion to select questions from the numerous ones submitted, started asking “fancifully” questions in relation to GFA, AU etc, while those that dwell on “Woyomegate”, corruption in the Mills’ administration, unemployment, numerous health issues, dwindling of the education system and the likes were left unpicked or asked. However, ridiculous and repugnant among the whole staged program was when Prez Mills charged Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the scribe of the NDC, to answer a question on his behalf. Ahh who is Asiedu Nketia in the face of the Ghanaian community to answer a question directed to the Prez? – One attendee quizzed.
In a whole, not more than 4 questions were asked in the hour long program, out of which Prez Mills answered only one. The program came to an end to the surprise and chagrin of the attendees who had anticipated an unbridled interaction with the President and his ministers. The program clearly defied the ethics and conduct of a Town Hall Meeting. Comparably to those organized by the NPP in the Kuffour administration, this one can only be described as apologetic, and a total failure on its own – one that displays wanton disregard for true democratic principles.
Against these backdrops, one cannot but wander on what moral authority could the NDC question Nana Addo’s interview with Stephen Sackur on BBC’s “Hard Talk”, if they cannot submit themselves to their fellow countrymen for interrogation on pertinent issues that boarder on the governance of the country which they are spearheading. The “Town Hall Meeting”, “Prez Mills meet the Press”, among many others clearly exposes how Prez Mills and the NDC feverish attempts to shield themselves from questions by the ordinary Ghanaians who voted them into power – both Ghana and abroad. – what a shame!!!
My source at the Ghana Embassy tells me that the “Town Hall Meeting” was well orchestrated and executed in the manner we saw it, evidently to safeguard Prez Mills and his ministers from damaging, embarrassing and indefensible questions that would have got to do with “Woyomegate”, the failed one-time premium payment of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), profligate expenditure by his government among others. But, even in the face of these efforts, the “albatross” still hang their necks.
Prez Mills and the NDC can continue to run, but they can’t hide – because December 7th is just around the corner!
Amponsah Stonash NPP Communications team New York.