The presidency says a publication of the Daily Guide newspaper detailing the foreign travels of President J.E.A. Mills and his vice, John Dramani Mahama, is apparently a mischievous write-up.
Our attention has been drawn to a publication in the Daily Guide newspaper in its Thursday, July 2, 2009 edition with the headline “Mills’, Mahama Foreign Travels”, written by Morgan Owusu from Kumasi.
The story appears to be aimed at causing mischief and misinformation in the minds of the public about the foreign travel of H.E President John Evans Atta Mills and his vice, H.E John Dramani Mahama. President Mills has taken a decision to rationalize foreign travel at the Presidency and also at all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This is meant to cut down the comparatively huge travel budget expended by the former government on foreign travel in order to restore fiscal stability. We have taken the pain to detail the records of travel by the President and his vice-president since the assumption of office on January 7, 2009.
The President travelled to Abuja, the Nigerian capital to attend ECOWAS Mediation Summit, undertook a diplomatic tour of Burkina Faso, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire. The next was an official visit to the United Kingdom, a trip to Abuja again for ECOWAS Summit and the current one being his visit to Libya to attend the Africa Union Summit. For his part, the Vice-president travelled to Addis Ababa for an AU Summit, Burkina Faso for the Sheanut Conference, Gabon, to attend the funeral of the late first lady and then to Libya for an official visit which was also used to strike some oil deal for the country.
The other travel include a trip to Dakar for an African Development Bank Annual General Meeting; a travel to South Africa as a guest of the Pan African Parliament where he used to be a member until his elevation to the high office of Vice-president of the Republic of Ghana; another trip to Libya for the CENSAD Summit of Heads of State and to Abuja to attend the 10th Anniversary of Nigeria’s democracy. It is therefore not fair to compute the foreign travels of both the President and His Vice as a way of creating the wrong impression in the minds of the public as this seeks to do.
The argument that “after being hugely criticised for been holed up at the Osu Castle, the seat of government, President Mills embarked on another foreign travel” is untenable. This was a clear departure from the status quo where unlike the past, the vice-president was virtually unnoticeable because the then President was doing all the foreign trips. The issue of the President not selling Ghana, as Mr. Owusu intended to compare him to his predecessor, the former President, is amateurish. In modern day politics one does not need to go globetrotting to be able to sell one’s country to the world. If he cares to know there are other avenues that a president can use to project the image of his country.
The President, as and when it becomes necessary, would honour any foreign trip when it becomes necessary that such foreign engagements demand that he is physically present. We want to appeal to the media not to hesitate to crosscheck from the Castle any information related to the presidency before going public.
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