Led by their National Communications Director, Mr Richard Ahiagbah, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) addressed a press conference on Wednesday September 14, 2022.
Having watched and read the evidenced-based statement of the NPP Communications boss vis-a-vis the sensational questions that came from some of the journalists, I deem it prudent as a citizen to emphasise the focus of the press conference.
The NPP Bono Regional Chairman, Mr Kwame Baffoe, aka Abronye DCE, directed one of his strategic political missiles at former President John Dramani Mahama in his capacity as a citizen of Ghana.
To this end, the NPP firebrand alleged in the media space that Mr Mahama had received 14 million Ghana cedis as ex-gratia, among other benefits.
However, this did not sink well with the office of the former President so his Special Aid, Madam Joyce Bawa Mogtari, issued a statement to react to Mr Baffoe’s allegations. Shockingly, however, she dragged President Akufo-Addo into her statement, holding him accountable for the comments of the NPP Bono Regional Chairman.
“We challenge the office of the Chief of Staff and the Presidency to provide proof of the payment of any of such amount and stop using idle miscreants among its ranks to spread falsehood,” Joyce Mogtari blamed the Presidency for Abronye’s claims.
As typical of the NDC, she attacked the President who absolutely knew nothing about the comments of the NPP Regional Chairman as if she had hardcore evidence to prove her claims. However, Joyce Mogtari and her boss were totally ignored by the Presidency and all NPP members for her hollow and shallow statement.
It is a known fact that Abronye does not speak for the President. Even people without any knowledge of governance understand and appreciate that the regional chairmen of a party in power do not speak for the President of a country. We also know that the President has communication apparatus aside from that of government and can only be held accountable for the statements of his communications director.
For this reason, Joyce Mogtari had no business linking President Akufo-Addo and the Chief of Staff to the allegations of Abronye. The public, however, knows that this has been the modus operandi of the office of former President Mahama. They are known for inciting the masses against the President. Nevertheless, the truth remains that President Akufo-Addo has served the poor masses better, judging from the social intervention policies he has introduced.
In reacting to Abronye’s allegations, Mr Mahama denied having received 14 Million Ex-Gratia benefits. He also alleged that the government does not pay him any of the reliefs he is entitled to as a former President and went on to state that he pays all his bills and takes care of the salaries of his staff. He also reiterated his commitment to repealing Article 71 should he get the opportunity to become President again.
Press conference focus
The September 14 NPP press conference was therefore held to react to Mr Mahama’s fresh claims about his ex-gratia and Article 71. It had nothing to do with his battle with Abronye DC. After all, the NPP never issued a statement on Abronye’s claims so it could not have added its voice to the former President’s reaction to it.
It was based on this that the NPP Communications Director presented facts to prove that Mr Mahama is playing on the passions and emotions of Ghanaians on this issue of Article 71 that has recently become topical. To this end, he explained that Mr Mahama got every opportunity to amend the said law, but he refused to do so.
Typical of the NPP operatives, Mr Ahiagbah gave evidence to back his position on the former President’s dishonesty on the issue. That, he said, the Mills/Mahama government established a Constitution Review Committee to, among other things, review Article 71, and the Committee submitted its report on December 20, 2011.
The erstwhile NDC government received the Committee’s report, and issued a white paper on it, accepting to, among other things, act on the portions of the report relative to Article 71. Nonetheless, Mr Mahama, upon becoming the President in 2012, and leading the country till his rejection in 2016, refused to act on the white paper of his own government. It was based on this that he addressed the press to expose the former President for being overtly and overly dishonest.
The Communications Director also refuted Mr Mahama’s claim that he is being denied the benefits due to him as a former President. on this, he exposed the former President by proving that it is rather the government that pays the salaries of Mr Mahama’s staff and not the other way round.
As to whether Mahama took 14million Ghana cedis as ex-gratia, that is a different issue that can be addressed by the person who alleged it. Any citizen who wants to know the truth about the 14million ex-gratia benefit should ask Abronye and Mr Mahama, who recently lied to all Ghanaians that he pays the salaries of his staff.
I will on this note entreat journalists to continue to hold all of us accountable but do so with open-mindedness, allowing themselves to be guided by available facts.