General News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017
President Akufo-Addo’s performance during his meeting with the press on Tuesday was uninspiring as the president displayed a lack of grasp of the most important yet fundamental issues, former Deputy Information Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu has said.
“Honestly, before God, the event was unimpressive to me, particularly the president’s responses to questions. Nobody compelled the president to meet the press, so if he met the press and the government had christened the meeting ‘Six Months of Results’ which he wanted to share with the media, one would have expected that the responses would be deep and convincing. But that wasn’t the case,” Mr Ofosu said of the encounter.
He said the president’s decision to “back-pass” some questions from journalists to Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and some appointees made it clear that there was “some inadequacy in the president’s understanding and knowledge of issues about his work”.
According to him, that move was wrong given the meeting was a “presidential encounter” – which enjoins the president to personally answer every question – and not a Cabinet ‘Meet The Press’ event where he could call on any of his ministers to respond to queries.
“So, I was expecting that as his predecessors had done, the president would be the one to give responses to all the questions,” Mr Ofosu added, saying it betrayed an obvious gap in knowledge.
He said such inadequacy was particularly exposed by a question posed to the president regarding how much the country owed. In Mr Ofosu’s view, a country’s total debt was so fundamental the president did not have to fall on his Vice President, the Head of the Economic Management Team, to answer.
“If you are a president, you must have a basic appreciation of the issues about governance of the country. The country’s finances are the most important issue; in fact during the NPP’s campaign they said it was the most important issue. So, it was the president’s responsibility to, at least, have had some knowledge of the financial situation the country finds itself. So if you are asked a question about the country’s finances, you do not call someone. You should be able to answer…because debt profile is basic information every president must have,” he explained.
The former Minister urged the president to prepare adequately next time for the media encounter including pre-empting questions and giving appropriate responses.