Over six hundred staffers at the Presidency is not a nominal figure, more so in a country whose fiscal administration is in chaos.
Hearing Information Minister Mahama Ayariga explaining the outrageous figure yesterday in sections of the media made difficult digestion; those who had to listen to him were constrained in the end to do so with a sizable quantity of salt.
The dual role of government information dissemination and propaganda is a complex assignment for which we sometimes empathise with Hon. Mahama Ayariga. That is what the gentleman from Bawku has to do—unenviable schedules at a time their government is embroiled in unusually challenging times.
He was an exceptionally pitiable figure yesterday as he attempted parrying off the uncharitable impression about the three-digit presidential staff list.
His explanation that the status quo follows an age-old trend was a piece of derision, a hallmark of the NDC government which was needless and ended up staining an already bad story. Government appointees either resort to hurling direct invectives at those who point out anomalous situations in governance or seek to equalize through various machinations when the minutest opportunities rear their heads.
The efforts of Mahama Ayariga and others notwithstanding, we are constrained to conclude that the number, as put out by the Presidency falls below the reality, however hard the propaganda machinery tries to whitewash the lavish engagement of staffers to serve the Flagstaff House.
We have learnt about the inaccuracies in what the Information Minister sought to put out as justification for the figure, especially his stance that the Presidency is only following a trend which has long been in existence especially as under the Kufuor presidency.
It is not only cheap but total rubbish to seek to justify an anomalous situation by referring to a trend which existed in the past with erroneous facts anyway.
It is household knowledge how uninvited party boys trooped to the Presidency and fixed themselves as though war had ended and the spoils of the engagements were up for sharing as soon as the NPP cleared their desks from the Castle.
How many Ghanaians do not know that the national security apparatus is one of the places overstaffed with party activists who could not be fixed elsewhere?
Yet the Information Minister looked us in the eyes and told us that this impression is erroneous and that these party activists are performing critical roles.
There are many of such activists in the Presidency who just mill around introducing themselves as national security personnel at the Presidency than actually performing the roles required of them.
The fact is that some of them know next to nothing about what they claim to be. Only a few personnel, the technocrats seconded from certain ministries and departments perform critical roles at the Presidency. The rest just add to the numbers, period! We have advisedly decided to avoid mentioning names of some of the idlers at the Presidency, and they are many.