Ghanaians were yesterday taken on a wild goose chase when a fresh list of reshuffled ministers which turned out to be a hoax popped up, trending on social media and subsequently on radio and television stations with an almost speed of light.
The radio stations were virtually in a race to outdo one another announcing the purported reshuffle list with glee and followed it up with analysis before it dawned on them that it was a big hoax.
The general chorus was that ‘this is the real reshuffle’, looking at the calibre of ministers affected, with the conclusion that the last Tuesday reshuffle was only a child’s play.
Not even a countrywide power outage reduced the speed with which the hoax list made the rounds on smart phones and other channels.
Some described it as the real shake-up, given the political clout of the personalities involved.
The list claimed for instance that the president had nominated Dr George Sipa Yankey as the Finance Minister-designate and Kwesi Ahwoi, currently Ghana’s High Commissioner to South Africa, as Defence Minister-designate replacing Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, with Hanna Tetteh touted to be President John Mahama’s close ally moving to the Gender and Social Protection Ministry.
The question which trended was: “Where is Nana Oye Lithur going, with Hanna Tetteh taking over from her? Has Haruna Iddrisu been dropped? How are his people going to take it in Tamale?”
Having been told earlier about a fresh list of reshuffled ministers, most people who read the latest announcement posed only a few questions, finding it credible. They queried the wisdom though in some of the appointments, finding them rather bizarre.
“According to a statement signed by the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, the president has also made the following changes:
Dr Spio Garbrah goes to the Foreign Affairs Ministry; Hanna Tetteh, Ministry of Gender and Social Protection; Lee Ocran, Labour and Employment Ministry; Kwesi Ahwoi, Defence Ministry and John Jinapor, Ministry of Power.
The statement expressed gratitude to Haruna Iddrisu, Benjamin Kunbuor and Seth Tekper for their wonderful contribution to the government and wished them well.
The statement was purported to have originated from the Media Office, Flagstaff House Communication Bureau, Office of the President, Flagstaff House, Kanda, Accra and signed by Stan Dogbe in-charge of the Bureau.
The hoax did not last long though. No sooner had it made the wild rounds than a counter announcement/statement replaced it, confusing readers and listeners even further.
It read, “Kindly ignore a list of new ‘appointments’ making the rounds via WhatsApp platforms. The Office of the President has issued no such statement. All official statements are first issued via the official email address and posted on the Flagstaff House Facebook Page. Thanks SxD.”
The disclaimer did not stop people from asking whether the confusion the changes generated informed a quick retreat by the president, since he had promised that more heads would roll in the ongoing reshuffle.
By A.R. Gomda