Politics of Tuesday, 19 March 2013
The 2012 Presidential candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Hassan Ayariga, has strongly defended his brother’s competence as a Minister of Information and Media Relations despite goofing twice in less than two months of his appointment.
“You don’t expect that at this time…when government is running around trying to solve the problems of water, trying to solve the problems of electricity, trying to solve the problems of teachers on strike and other things, one can be able to get accurate information,” he said. He asked: “What about the government who will not admit and understand that it was a mistake and will never say sorry and continues?”
Hassan Ayariga pointed out that “Making [a] mistake does not mean that you are not capable; it does not mean that you are not competent; it does not mean that you are not dedicated; that is why there is a word called mistake”. He noted that “When we make mistakes and come out to apologise…maybe we might be defending other people to make sure that it does not escalate”, adding that “Everybody is bound to make a mistake”.
Mahama Ayariga, younger brother to Hassan, has come under a barrage of flak for his goofs.
The minister’s first gaffe was his denial that President John Mahama had no prior relationship whatsoever with internationally renowned Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights activist and Philanthropist Andrew Solomon, before the American moderated the launch of the Ghanaian president’s autobiography “My First Coup d’etat” in New York in 2012.
Mahama Ayariga made a volte-face barely 24-hours later, after categorically denying any earlier existing relationship between President Mahama and Mr Solomon at a news conference.
The goof came about as Mr. Ayariga attempted dissociating President Mahama and the governing National Democratic Congress from a gay tag slapped on them by the opposition New Patriotic Party following the nomination of gay rights defender Nana Oye Lithur as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection in January 2013.
The Information and Media Relations Minister’s second blunder followed barely a month apart.
He had earlier told Accra-based private radio station Peace FM that the name of the Presidency had been changed from “Flagstaff House” to “Jubilee Flagstaff House”.
A presidential Staffer Stan Dogbe later wrote on his Facebook wall that there had not been a name change and described “Jubilee Flagstaff House” as an error.
Critical media discussions on the matter forced Mahama Ayariga to once again, eat humble pie.
He took full responsibility for the confusion and apologised.
The name-change brouhaha followed the use of “Jubilee Flagstaff House” on two correspondences from the presidency to the media.
Hassan Ayariga has proposed close collaboration between the President’s Executive Secretary Dr Raymond Atuguba at the Presidency as one sure way of preventing future goofs.