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Opinions of Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Columnist: Agyemang, Frank

Koku as for this one, you flop big time!

You are sending us backwards!

When I first heard that some media houses were not invited to the recent interactions at the Castle where the President met editors and elaborated on his achievements marking his 100 days in office, I initially thought that was not really an issue. As a media person, I know sometimes such invitations are restricted to class of persons who sometimes are really not interested in the agenda set for such interactions hence no need for such invitations. However, having listened to the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Koku Anyidoho confidently justifying that act and admitting it as a deliberate move made me felt very disappointed. Please this is not what we hoped for and I don’t want to believe President Mills endorsed Koku’s decision. Though the Minister of Information Mrs Zita OkaiKoi tried hard to downplay Koku’s position on this issue attributing it to him as a personal decision, this has rather dented the image of President Mills’ information dissemination machinery. “I don’t think it is the position of the government to call some people and leave others out. As a government, we need opposition to criticize us and to keep us on our toes. That might be Koku’s position, but on government’s side, it is not,” disclosed the information Minister. Please should we take it that at the presidency, it’s Koku’s decision that holds and not government policy? Are these two persons really confused about what President Mills’ government position really is or they are just playing on our intelligence?

For me as an individual and a media person, I thought President Mills’ regime will bring to an absolute end all forms of discriminatory acts towards media houses well known to have affiliations to the opposition, but now that this has taken place in the full glare of the President and his distinguished team, I am beginning to get worried because I know coming events always cast their shadows. If this could be done right at the presidency then I can just sit behind and imagine how it will look like in other planned events. Communications at the presidency is a serious business and as for me, I fully support the creation of such office but if this is the way it’s going to be handled then I think we are in a for big mess. That office in all respect, I thought should be seen as non-partisan as possible and very opened for all shades of views and concerns. That office I thought should be very tolerant with regards to opinions and tactful in dealing with people having opposing views to how the government is being run. In fact, that office could be very accommodating to the extent that media houses that oppose government could easily be embarrassed in the sense that anytime they request for some information or assistance with respect to their stories they are provided though in their minds they expected the presidency to be hostile. As the Director of Communications at the presidency, you don’t need to be antagonistic in that position as Koku is approaching it right now. It just won’t help the presidency!

Looking at Koku’s stance right now, I think that office will do more harm to President Mills than its non-existence. I haven’t forgotten the confusion created by the same office and the Presidential Spokesperson Mahama Ayariga when they gave varying interpretations to the President’s statement when he met members of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) at the Castle. Did I hear Koku right on Citi Fm claiming that inviting a paper like The Statesman makes it look credible in the eye of the public with reference to the fact that they had on the previous day reported a false story that claims President Mills had travelled in a 15 vehicle convoy? Please, Koku, at your position, though I don’t see myself as qualified as you’re, I don’t need to be a clairvoyant to see such a blunder on your part when we talk about communication persons. From your explanations it was so obvious that The Statesman got it wrong in that reportage, but for you to think invitation to the Castle adds some credibility to the paper is laughable. Ask media colleagues who were then denied access to some functions under the previous government due to their political leanings whether their credibility was in any way damaged? They managed to survive those times and I can confidently tell you, those you’re also denying such opportunities will survive it. It is people like you who work behind the scenes that damage reputations of government and not those in the limelight. I hope the Vice President John Dramani Mahama does not pretend he is unaware of this development because he is one person I can vouch for when it comes to condemning this immature way of dealing with the media at such a sensitive position. Acts of these sorts will definitely have an effect on him when his time comes and people like me will be ready to question him as to where he’s been when this grand discriminatory scheme was put together at the presidency.

Koku stop messing up with Mills’ presidency because discerning people are watching. The question is, do you think floating voters will be pleased with this simplistic act of yours? Let’s not forget it’s the floating voters that really determine a winner of an election in this country. If it’s about core party members and sympathizers, then we’re never going to have a winner in any election in this country. Bear this in mind in everything you do at that position of yours and not just party faithfuls or supporters. If it’s about you do me, I do you, then please keep off the presidency because that’s not the place for such games. Do it better than the previous government and set higher standards that can always be referred to. We are tired of seeing mistakes of previous government being repeated. Already President Mills is doing great and no matter how people look at it, this man will be one of the greatest president some of us will forever be proud of.

The man some people described as the poodle is now the cornerstone of this country of ours; the man some people claimed he’s so ailing that he can’t do anything without support to the extent that people started numbering his days, is now running the affairs of this country of ours; the man that some people described as a “Can never be” is now the one directing who’s to be who in our national affairs. So Koku you see, what you’re doing at the presidency is petty because the battle isn’t yours.

SOURCE: Frank Agyemang (agyemangfrank@gmail.com)