General News of Thursday, 12 April 2018
Information Minister, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, has mounted a strong defence for his position, parrying off suggestions that he may not be delivering adequately on his mandate.
During a discussion on current affairs programme, The Hard Truth, on the Joy News channel on MultiTV, host of the programme sought to pick the Minister’s mind on a claim that the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Kwaku Baako Jr may be better suited for the job of government’s spokesperson.
Kwaku Baako, an outspoken media commentator, is touted as possessing a wide range of rare and credible documents that he uses to back his views during talk shows. He is a regular panellist on MultiTV/Joy FM’s Newsfile programme.
Host of The Hard Truth, Akosua Konadu Asante-Samens, posed this question to the Minister during Wednesday’s show: “A columnist, Josephine Nettey, thinks that Kwaku Baako does a better job of defending the President than you do because he comes with facts…how would you feel if the President appoints Kwaku Baako over you?”
Mr Abdul-Hamid’s initial response was short: “That would be fine. That would be the President’s prerogative…the President is free to appoint whoever he wants to appoint.”
But Mr Abdul-Hamid expands his answer after a nudge from the experienced show host.
He said, “He [Baako] has not been where I am now. Because when you are Minister for Information, you don’t just sit at home the whole day pulling papers here, doing research, going around offices and nosing for information. That is not what you do as Minister of Information.”
He explains the demands of his office even further, “[The Information Minister] is running GBC, Information Services Department…you have 10 regional offices; you have 180 district offices that you are running; you have a government communication machinery that you are superintending and you have also to manage hundreds of party communicators. Sometimes you have to filter your information.
“It is not as easy as going to sit on Newsfile on Saturday and then speak and then you go, and then you have the whole week to yourself and then you come back another Saturday. You don’t have that luxury if you are Minister for Information,” he defended.
Eleven years of competence
The Information Minister says the proof that he is competence at his job is evident in the number of years he has served President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“I am not sure that you can name many people who have survived 11 years as spokespersons to just one person.
“So to be speaking for Akufo-Addo and have his confidence for 11 years, I have been doing this since 2007 I am very satisfied.
“Otherwise, I think he [Akufo-Addo] is intelligent enough to have said you don’t speak my mind, you don’t represent my principles and therefore I will do away with you. A spokesperson’s job is perhaps, in my view, the most difficult job in government.”
He said he feels good when he is criticized because he is a politician and he understands the terrain.
“It is only when you are doing something good that it excites debate. If what you doing does not excite debate then you are not doing something right.”