There’s grumbling within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Akufo-Addo government about the performance of the Ministry of Information under Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.
Many see him, as having reached his wits end, thus bringing nothing new to the Akufo-Addo administration and the party.
They are habouring the view that government is increasingly losing popularity and unable to set and sustain any agenda which will engender goodwill from Ghanaians to it.
Insiders, have cited the Fixthecountry campaign and Oppong Nkrumah’s inability to deflate it.
To many party supporters, the NPP is on its way out of power in 2024, however, the party has some three years left to forestall a disastrous performance at the poll.
The #FixTheCountry group, had expressed its frustration at successive governments’ failure to improve the living standards of Ghanaians on Twitter using the hashtag #FixTheCountry.
It cited the return of the energy crisis- Dumsor, unemployment, economic hardship, poor healthcare systems, poor roads, water crisis, increasing in petrol, diesel and LPG, as also massive corruption, lack of housing as proof of successive governments’ mismanagement of the country as the reasons behind the demonstration.
Instead of being in Accra, working with the party’s team of communicators to address the issue mentioned by the campaigners, Mr Oppong Nkrumah, was rather seen at Gambaga, North East in pictures with the man believed to be Ghana’s tallest man.
The Information Minister, had on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, embarked on a three-day tour of the North East, Upper East, Northern, Savannah and Upper West Regions, to engage with journalists where he emphasized government’s commitment to support the work of journalists in Ghana.
The tour formed part of the government’s efforts in taking inputs from relevant stakeholders amid ongoing discussions to restructure the country’s media landscape and provide media personnel with the needed support in their day-to-day activities.
With the leadership vacuum created and the Akufo-Addo government under severe pressure, looking increasingly frail and weak, the NPP had to deploy some of its National Executives on radio and TV to salvage the situation.
Among those deplored were National Chairman, Freddie Blay and National Organizer, Sammie Awuku.
They were attempting to coil the avalanche of criticisms which were largely fueled by the Workers Day taxes slapped on Ghanaians.
Meanwhile, The Herald’s digging into Oppong Nkrumah’s performance at the Ministry, had revealed that he got tired long ago, and had rushed to President Akufo-Addo to take advantage of their closeness.
He had begged the President to make him his Minister of Foreign Affairs, instead of retaining him at the Information Ministry.
The President, is said to have resisted changing Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and told Oppong Nkrumah to remain at the Information Ministry and communicate for the government.
The refusal to change his ministry is suspected to have affected Oppong Nkrumah, who has since found it expedient to be leading government officials to Galamsey sites and abandoned projects sites, telling Ghanaians about what they’re already aware of.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, was also sent out to speak against the fix the country campaigners.
He called them uninformed, taken exception to the social media campaign, demanding good governance from the country’s political leadership.
Addressing journalists on Friday, May 6, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Government Business, said it is becoming a worry in recent days for faceless persons to put out issues in the media, out of uninformed positions, and drive national discourse.
“Oftentimes, it is not premised on anything or any research,” he emphasized.
“It is somebody’s suggestion and then for one week as a nation, it’s driving us into an enclave of unnecessary discourse but it’s because we are not allowing our society to be driven by informed matters, research from the academia, from civil society organisations, matters that they might have deliberated on or researched into over a long period.
“Those are matters of substance that will inure to our development agenda. Many of the matters that are coming across and because people are not reading much, there’s a contortion of what somebody said and the whole nation is feeding on it.
“I believe that we have a very credible assemblage of personalities that will bring their knowledge, their experience, their wisdom to bear.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down the global economy and caused increases in prices of commodities such as oil, cement and iron rods as well as overall cost of shipping.
“Nevertheless, it is very important to place the performance of our government over the last four years after inheriting an economy with “no meat on the bone” on record. Ours is a government that listens and cares. The facts and data speak for themselves. Trust President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”
On his part, Sammi Awuku, appealed to the group, to exercise restraint. In his view, government has demonstrated enough commitment to accelerate Ghana’s development, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged world economies.
“Rome was not built in a day but when you have hope that the builders of Rome are not stealing the material then you have hope that Rome will be built,” he stated while reacting to an intended demonstration by the group.
Reacting to the campaigners, Mr Awuku on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme on Wednesday, said though those who want to demonstrate have right, he would prefer they dialogue with the government.
He said demonstrations are justified when leadership does not show concerns, but when you have a compassionate and listening leader like President Akufo-Addo, then dialogue should be employed.
Describing himself as an ‘Agitated General’ on the street, Mr Awuku, said he led similar demonstrations because the then government did not show any concern to the plight of the citizenry.
“In the situation will find ourselves, the solution will not be a demonstration. I have been an agitated general on the street, participated in demonstrations and been part of leadership of demonstrations because the leadership was not honest but the situation is different now,” he added.
He appealed for calm as government works around the clock to improve the living standards of Ghanaians, especially the youth.
“Nana Akufo-Addo represents that leadership and we are going to rebuild this our Rome which is Ghana and we will make sure that myself and my government will not steal the building materials,” he stated.
On the same #FixTheCountry, Freddy Blay suspects the #FixTheCountry campaign is propaganda inspired by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Although, he acknowledged the concerns of the campaign as having merit, he maintained his defence of the NPP-led administration in efforts to restore the economic fortunes of the country.
“We shall not ignore what the people are saying but we shall also not dance to NDC propaganda,” he said.
The hashtag gained popularity on social media after the youth of the country called out past governments for the mismanagement of the country’s resources and are demanding that government fixes the many challenges in the country including unemployment, health system, the high cost of rent, fuel prices, poor road networks among others.
Many Ghanaian celebrities have joined in the #FixTheCountry online movement and are holding government accountable in these areas of governance so as to safeguard the future of the country and its citizens.
Freddy Blay, speaking on the issue indicated that government is fixing the country at “a pace that Ghanaians will be happy with”.
Addressing some of the concerns raised by the protestors, such as the issue of recent power cuts, he indicated that government has not relented in efforts to end it.
“Talk about dumsor, it’s not the dumsor as we know it in the NDC era which took place for four years. This is due to a few problems that we’re encountering. We are having problems with our distributing lines and definitely, efforts are being made to repair the broken down ones.”
“We have explained that the situation is not a permanent situation, it’s just a three-four months situation that people are making it look as if everything is broken down and we are not doing anything about it,” he said.
He further assured that the Akufo-Addo led administration will deliver on its mandate as promised.
“It’s a democratic country, you can have an opinion, maybe most of them are NDC people and maybe they are even referring to what then-candidate Akufo-Addo did say that when you are in power and people are complaining that things aren’t going well, fix it. Of course, government is in the act of fixing the problems in this country,” he said.
There had celebrities such as Afia Schwarzenegger, Prince David Osei among others, speaking for government, as well as joining the NPP’s Communicators led by the Minister of information, who had woefully failed.
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