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Opinions of Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Columnist: Amponsah, Jerry

Is Prez. Atta Mills a Media Dodger?

Ghana’s president Professor Atta Mills has intentionally refused to take
questions from the country’s press men. Or is his eloquence below par? This has
gone on unnoticed and it does not augur well for our national press freedom and
smooth democracy. He does not measure up in his interaction with the media. We
all agree that the journalists and the media are the eyes and ears of the
citizenry. They are the voice of the voiceless.
The president has colonized the media of the country to his advantage. The
country’s media currently looks like its being run from the Osu Castle. Either
the ‘father’ of the ‘people’ calls the media for only an advice he has for them,
or for a photo opportunity. These are what the country’s media screw is to.
We all recall that the then Candidate Atta Mills and his running mate, John
Mahama, ran on a very high rhetorical campaign, and swiftly copied the then
U.S.A Democrat campaign strategy and slogan, “CHANGE,” led by Barack Obama, to
run their 2008 presidential. Evidently, President Barack Obama has been granting
innumerable press conferences and public fora since he assumed office. Press men
and the public engage with him periodically to give accounts of his stewardship.
Don’t forget, he has Robert Gibbs as his Spokesperson, yet he runs the media job
himself, big-time! Hardly, has President Atta Mills given his own people such a
friendly and professional opportunity.
It almost sounds sick. Atta Mills calls a press conference whenever it pleases
his presidency and lashes on them, describing the media as “irresponsible.”
Don’t we know who he is! In fact, we do know his kind now. Ghanaians are
disappointed by the president’s conduct. Is it a good-faith refusal? It’s high
time he stands up, and faces the camera and be quibbled. The obvious illusion of
the flimflam man’s disgraceful conduct is the result of aberration and
sloppiness. This reveals a long pattern of willful deceit and intentional
evasion. In a better world, we would be bidding him good riddance. We have a
president in this 21st century who cannot articulate and intelligently convince
and answer swiftly to his own policies to the people. We have a leader who is
allergic to interacting with his people. Of course, that is not the world we
live in.

The NDC government thinks that President Atta Mills is Lord – an “untouchable.”
The president has convinced himself that he is a public ruler, not a public
servant.
For too long, we let him get away with it. We the people always deserve the
president we get. If we want a better one, we have to earn it like working crazy
for it. We have to relentlessly demand on our president to face innumerable
questions eating up the people and refuse to accept anything else. He’s
responsible to us.

Ex-president J. A. kufour set the pace by engaging with journalists, media and
the public. There was no single press conference the media was not given the
opportunity to ask questions. Public Assembly was instituted to also engage with
the general public to interact with the then president, J. A. Kufour. This
sensitive encounter has taken a different twist when the NDC assumed office. Why
not Professor Atta Mills who sloganeered to be father for all? He needs to give
audience to the questions of the people who voted him into power. The comparison
of the media relationship between Atta Mills and his predecessor, Kufour, is
becoming too wide. Or is he repeating ex-President Rawlings style of ‘dealing’
with the media. His conduct sends a clear message that he’s not ready for the
people. It is an abuse of power which needs to be frowned upon.
The Atta Mills administration has tried to funnel pork serving as guide to
hinder any encounter with the president. The NDC is running an extreme and
powerful communication force shielding the president from public questions,
looking quite kinky!
The vibrancy of the nation’s media has now been secretly canned.
No need for the president to shy away from the media but be bold enough as the
Commander-in-chief, face the media squarely, and take questions the people wish
to. This truly makes him purely “accountable” as he keeps touting. One sees a
vast communication gap between the ‘father’ and his own ‘children’ he promised
before God to be ANSWERABLE to. It behooves on the slick president to come out
and explain his government’s crucial policies, the collateralization of the
nation’s oil and many more, through public interactions. What prevents the
president from dealing with the press pool? The country has had enough of the
Okudjeto Ablakwa and enough of the James Agyenim boateng’s jabs and oinks. A
highfalutin amount of the taxpayers’ monies are being used to employ bunch of
Joseph Goebbels to defend the indefensible. Ghanaians are not ignoramus.
It seems the media in Ghana has been charmed. Their mouths have been gagged.
Silence is golden!
The “father for all” has declared 2011 an action year; it will be wise enough to
run his presidency like that of eloquent President Obama.

Jerry Amponsah (Sabbato)
Communications Group
NPP, New York.