General News of Tuesday, 23 June 2015
-Hints of Major Shakeup at Presidency, Gov’t Communication
Feeling letdown by the communication unit at the Presidency and Government Communication in recent times, President John Dramani Mahama is reported being comforted in the yeoman services being provided by social media communicators of the ruling National Democratic Congress.
President Mahama, The aL-hAJJ has gathered, is crestfallen at the efficacy of government communication and the Flagstaff House media bureau’s inability to positively communicate the numerous valuable policies and programs of his administration, but for the priceless contributions by the thousands of party volunteers who on daily basis have taken to social media to sell the good works of his government. A source at the seat of government disclosed to this paper that “His Excellency has been telling close pals how he has fallen in love with the social media communicators of the party…, I recently overhead him say that but for the social media groups, all the good policies and programs of his government would have remain in the dark even as the vicious attacks on him by members of the opposition continues .” “To say that His Excellency has passed a vote of confidence in these social media commentators is an understatement… His excitement with them is further heightened by the fact that they do these things without any support or inducement from government…they don’t get paid for what they do, but they spend the little they earn from their work places or the little their parents give them for feeding to buy data to constantly defend government whiles positively projecting our policies and programs,” the source hinted. The source added that the President is passionate about acknowledging the good works of “these guys…as he is working on building a Better Ghana for all of us, he is also thinking of how to create the needed opportunity for these guys, and Ghanaians at large to benefit from.” Meanwhile, as the President’s first term in office draws near, The aL-hAJJ can report that he is expected to conclude his ongoing but final major reshuffle with a surgical shakeup of government communication units.
One particular outfit at the seat of government to face the wrath of President Mahama, this paper can authoritatively confirm, is the Communication setup, formerly headed by ace international broadcaster, Ben Dotse Malor whose contract was not renewed.
Also to be hit by the impending shakeup is the Ministry of communications whose head, Dr Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, has been assigned additional responsibility as official communication officer for the presidency. The expected restructuring of the communication bureau at the seat of government and the ministry, this paper has gathered, was informed by what sources described as confusion; as a result of lack of clear cut mandate, thus leading to non-performance and infighting among main actors at the strategic media communication outlets.
Deep throat sources at the presidency told The aL-hAJJ that, President Mahama has for some time now been disappointed with the output of the government’s communication as far as information management and dissemination is concerned.
“I won’t say the President is livid about the output and the performance of the communication unit at the presidency and the ministry, but what I can say is that His Excellency recently rated their performance below average and confided in a close ally that he will soon make changes at the unit,” our source noted.
Adding that “the President have had cause to worry about the quality and level of communication from the presidency. Their job, to be frank with you, has been characterized with power play over who calls the shot…and this is seriously not helping in disseminating information about the goods works of government.” In the case of the Communication Ministry, there are reports that the fusion of the Information Ministry with it has largely contributed to the ineffectiveness of government messages as the communication aspect overshadows Information. Since the merger for example, critics point to the virtual loud silence of the hitherto chatty but erudite deputy minister of Information, Felix Kwakye Fosu. A source at the presidency revealed that the President is considering re-introducing the Information Ministry to solely handle government communication both at the ministry and the presidency level.
“Part of the difficulty this government has faced so far as information management and dissemination is concerned could be blamed on the merger of the Information Ministry with the Communication Ministry. The Communication Ministry is a huge entity on its own so adding Information to it, makes the job there very difficult. You know ICT is the in-thing today, so therefore, the main function of the Communication Ministry has automatically dwarf the information aspect of it, and you know, the head of that Ministry and also as official presidential spokesperson is creating problems,” the sourced noted.
According to the source the President could not fathom why despite his government’s good works and well fashioned policies and programs, information flow from government is most often scanty.
“The President this time is not willing to keep anybody whose personal interest is more paramount to him than the outlook of his government… he is ready to work with you if you are ready and committed to ‘touching lives’ and ‘transforming Ghana’…he has started making changes at some state institutions, very soon or in the coming days it will be the turn of government communication,” the source noted.
President John Mahama last week made changes at some public institutions. While heads of some of the institutions were reshuffled, others were given outright boot from their respective positions.
These changes, The aL-hAJJ gathered, was in line with President Mahama’s policy to give his administration a new outlook and make it battle ready ahead of the crucial 2016 general elections.