General News of Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Source: Al-Hajj

JDM Peeved At Pratt

-Over ‘Sloppy, Confusion & Mess’ comment

By A A Yayra

Like any human being, genteel and affable President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama (JDM) may after all, also have his elastic limit as the once warmth and cordial relationship with his pal and senior journalist, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr. is said to be fast deteriorating.

Reliable information available to The Al-Hajj indicates that, the latter’s recent scathing and unjustifiable verbal assault on the President over his appointments has mired the long-standing pleasant relation that existed between the President and the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper.

A source close to the presidency on condition of anonymity hinted The Al-Hajj that “though the President has a big heart and is someone who stomachs criticism in good faith, he was not particularly enthused with the manner in which Mr. Kwesi Pratt, in critiquing his recent nomination of ministers rather tendered to expose him to public ridicule and opprobrium”.

The source stated that, it is alright for anyone to criticize decisions of the president but “The Insight Editor only went on air trying to knock the heads of the top echelon and the grass root supporters of the party against the president hiding behind; doing ‘critical analysis’ of his appointments”.

Considering the long-standing cordial relationship between them, first lady, Mrs. Lordina Mahama is also said to be at pains with comments attributed to Mr. Pratt, especially, his allusion that her hubby, President Mahama was confused and careless.

An obviously furious Mr. Kwesi Pratt recently on Metro TV's ‘Good Morning Ghana’ programme described as 'sloppy' and fraught with 'confusion', ministerial appointments made by President John Mahama, insisting, the President was making ‘a mess’ of the appointment process.

Earlier, when news came from the seat of government that President Mahama had appointed Mr. Prosper Douglas Kweku Bani, Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Mr. Roger Kwesi Angsomwine, Secretary to Cabinet, Dr. Raymond Akongburo Atuguba Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Sulley Gariba, Senior Policy Co-ordinator in the Office of the President, Kwesi Pratt was among the first to openly and disapprovingly react to it in the media.

According to the veteran journalist, the President may not have done enough consultations with power blocs within the National Democratic Congress.

“If you look at these four appointments and you base your judgment on these appointments, you will have a very, very distorted view of the government”.

But, these disparaging remarks by the Managing Editor of the Insight didn’t go down well with the usually genteel President, who has been expressing disappointment in the quiet on the behavior of his once buddy, our reliable source revealed.

The source said, taking into account the deep cordial relationship that existed between President Mahama and the veteran journalist; “it would have been fair for him to pick up the phone or, to walk to the President to express his misgivings or seek clarifications about the appointment, rather than going on air to whip up public sentiments. “What could therefore be the motivation”?

First Lady, Lordina Mahama is said to be worst affected by the attitude of their once darling comrade and is wondering what have gone amiss.

“The first lady has been moody ever since he (Pratt) began his unwarranted attacks on the President, calling him names. She cannot fathom why he should be the one doing this to John”. The source disclosed.

Mr. Pratt has earlier argued that the mere fact that people within the NDC do not know the newly-appointed Chief of Staff, Mr. Kweku Bani could be a recipe for trouble within the ruling party.

He further raised eyebrows over the newly-created positions of the Executive Secretary to the President, which hitherto, was Secretary to the President.

“In a government where you have a Chief of Staff, the ‘Executive Secretary’, what is it supposed to mean? Does it give him extra powers? How is it related to the Chief of Staff…It is problematic and it needs to be clarified otherwise there will be confusion in the Castle,” he advised

According to him, there was “no clarity” of the kind of message the President was trying to send with his appointments describing it as “disappointing”.

He said the President’s reassignment of Rashid Pelpuo from the Tourism, culture and Creative Arts Ministry epitomizes the confusion that shrouded the entire appointment process, adding President Mahama appears to have sown seeds of conflict in his government with the kind of appointments he has made so far.

The no-nonsense Kwesi Pratt also noted that the portfolios of the six ministers of state at the Presidency are in direct conflict with other ministries whose responsibilities overlap with the roles given the six ministers of state.

He described it as a complete “waste” and also lashed at the reasoning behind the constitution of a three member team made up of veteran MPs- ET Mensah, Cletus Avoka and Alban Bagbin to superintend the execution of the President’s priority projects.