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Ayariga Must Go   
 
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19-Mar-2013  
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The Convention Peoples Party has urged Mr Mahama Ayariga to do the honourable thing and resign for failing to put accurate information into the public domain.

That, the party believes, will save his image and that of the country.

A statement signed by Nii Armah Akomfrah, the CPP Director of Communications, said, As a country too, we need our institutions to work in a professional way and above partisanship, in the interest of all Ghanaians and not surrogates of political parties.

According to the CPP, the Ministry of Information and Media Relations had, in the last 30 years, lost some credibility in the eyes of Ghanaians and come to be viewed as an extension of the propaganda machinery of the government.

In the view of the party, Ghanaians observed with keen interest the appointment of the new Information Minister, Mr Ayariga, but it did not take long before what is now the characteristic of an NDC Minister of Information started to rear its head again.

Minister Mahama Ayariga goofed on information about President Mahamas knowledge of Andrew Solomon, only for him to make a U-turn and apologise for saying that President Mahama did not know Andrew Solomon, the party recalled.

It said Ghanaians appreciated Ayarigas sincerity in apologising.

However, it said, to commit a similar faux pas a second time was unpardonable for a Minister of Information.

We all recall that last week, in his role as Minister of Information and Media Relations, Ayariga had confirmed a change of name at the seat of government from Flagstaff House to Jubilee Flagstaff House. Within two days, the minister made another U-turn to apologise for the colossal mistake there was no change of name, the CPP pointed out.

According to the party, Mr Ayariga could have consulted the President before coming out with his statement, an indication, perhaps, that systems between the Ministry of Information and Media Relations, the Presidency and government machinery were either not functioning or non-existent.

Concerns are also now being raised as to whether President Mahama assessed Ayarigas background before appointing him as a minister. Almost every portfolio that Ayariga has held has seen allegations levelled against him, the party stated.

It said in 2009 when he was the Spokesperson for the late President J.E.A. Mills, it was alleged that he bought some tractors from the Ministry of Agriculture way below their usual price.

Again, in 2011 when he was the Deputy Minister of Education, he was also cited for inflating figures on a three-unit classroom block built at Bodoo, an area in the Bawku Central Constituency which he now represented in Parliament, the party pointed out.

In the view of the CPP, the Ministry of Information, together with the Information Services Department (ISD), had the remit to help create awareness of government policies, programmes and activities, as well as promote Ghanas international marketing agenda, among other things.

This basic function has been lost in recent years as the ministry is viewed by some as a place for propaganda and not truth, the party stated.

It said the NDC government had struggled over many years to ensure the credibility that the ministry needed, recalling that the appointment of Mrs Zita Okaikwei in President Millss government faced internal criticism when then Minister of State, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, called on the President to fire her for her alleged incompetence as Information Minister.

Long before the appointment of Mrs Okaikwei, there had been problems with the governments communications machinery with the appointment of a Presidential Spokesman and Communications Director by the Mills government before the Minister of Information, and the subsequent confusion and mistakes that followed.

It said Mr John Tia came and went, to be followed by Fritz Baffour who many felt was overshadowed by his deputy, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, saying, At a press conference organised by the ministry, deputy Okudzeto Ablakwa read the press statement and answered the media questions.

Ghanaians heard the threats of Deputy Information Minister Baba Jamal to ISD staff if they fail to exaggerate NDC government achievements, the CPP said, adding, Baba Jamal had, in a tape recording, told staff of the ISD to, among other things, over-exaggerate when disseminating government information to the public.

He had said: Yours is to make government look good, whatever the circumstance. If the government buys a sheep and gives it as a gift, you are free to say it is a cow. You are free to say that If the colour of the sheep is black, you can say it was a white colourful cow.

It concluded that Baba Jamal was confirming what many Ghanaians suspected that the NDC government had turned the Ministry of Information and the ISD into a propaganda centre for the NDC.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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