The fact of the matter is that Ghana?s foremost opposition leader?s alleged comment is much closer to the truth than the counter-comment and/or arguments of Messrs. Felix Kwakye-Ofosu, the Deputy Communications Minister, and Stanislav Dogbe, the so-called Presidential Staffer.

Stan Dogbe
Stan Dogbe

Nana Akufo-Addo is reported to have told participants at an international conference of New Patriotic Party (NPP) stalwarts in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, that President Mahama recently caused to be printed an unspecified quantity of ?Presidential Diaries? to the humongous tune of $10 million of the Ghanaian taxpayer?s money. Both Messrs. Kwakye-Ofosu and Dogbe have denied that the cost of the aforesaid diaries was $10 million. But these two men have also both admitted that, indeed, their paymaster has caused a quantity of ?Presidential Diaries? to be printed.

Needless to say, the fact of whether the printing cost of the diaries was $10 million is really not the issue at stake here. Rather, what is at stake here regards the corporate entity which both Mahama appointees claim to have been selected to print the diaries, and whose commercial marketing of the presidency, with the express permission of Mr. John Dramani Mahama, purportedly generated funding used to pay for the cost of the diaries. We must quickly point out that the presidency is not the patented property of either President Mahama or the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). That privilege belongs to the sovereign people of Ghana.

The Ghanaian public therefore has a right to know exactly how much revenue was generated by the as yet unnamed corporate entity allegedly hired by the Chief Resident of the Flagstaff House to market its image. The government claims that not a pesewa changed hands between the presidency and the corporate image-marketer. But it is also quite certain that some profit was made marketing the presidency, which Ghanaian citizens have a right to know.

For instance, who owns the presidential image-marketing company? Was the company selected to do the advertising or propaganda work for the government chosen on a competitive and cost-savings basis? If so, which were the other companies that were turned down for bid and for what specific reasons? Ghanaians also have a right to know precisely how many diaries were printed and at what cost. As well, what purpose are these diaries meant for, since most of these government appointees already own state-of-art lap-tops and top-of-the-line cellphones with app facilities for creating diaries and/or daily planners?

In other words, any which way one looks at the matter, that is, whether it cost $1 million and not $10 million to print the aforesaid diaries, it is still an unproductive and unprogressive way of spending the Ghanaian taxpayer?s money. For ultimately, when the ledgers are balanced, in bean-counter parlance, the company selected to print the ?Presidential Diaries? did not do so gratis or on the basis of charitable work. Somebody had to pay the company one way or another; and such payment, either directly or indirectly, did not come from the wallet of President Mahama but from the Ghanaian taxpayer. Mr. Kwakye-Ofosu?s claim that the diaries are meant for diplomats is sheer bunk, because in the era of global ?greening? and hi-tech gadgets, nobody really needs this sort of vainglorious tree-killing diaries.

Make no mistake, I am not here to hold brief for either Nana Akufo-Addo or any of the movers and shakers of the main opposition New Patriotic Party; for I am not that na?ve to cavalierly presume the political impeccability, or infallibility, of the leadership of the NPP. Nevertheless, it clearly appears to me that the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress may well have its priorities set awry. I just happen to believe that simply because the Mahama regime owes the Nigerian government $200 million in gas-supply debt, does not mean that other equally significant areas of national development ought to be neglected.

Unfortunately, in this particular instance, causing ?Presidential Diaries? to be printed at the expense of the Ghanaian taxpayer, and merely to sate President Mahama?s ego and vanity, is not among the list of items I would consider ought to be classified among the priority projects of the National Democratic Congress.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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