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07.03.2009 Feature Article

REJOINDER: Team Mills, not so “lean” after all

REJOINDER: Team Mills, not so “lean” after all
MAR 7, 2009 FEATURE ARTICLE

The 'director of communications' at the presidency, Koku Anyidoho, issued the following statement.

It is in response to what I wrote about the size of the Mills government so far. I said he never misses and opportunity to rant and rave, didn't I? Enjoy…

As a professional, I have restrained myself from allowing the ignorance of certain persons and their discourse, to draw me into an ignorance-filled debate.

However, when Ato Kwamena Dadzie decides to move the ignorance-filled discourse to absurd levels, it is only proper that I do my utmost best to clear some of the cobwebs in the head of Ato Kwamena Dadzie.

In his piece that appeared in The Daily Dispatch on Thursday, March 05, 2009, titled “TEAM MILLS: NOT SO LEAN”, Ato Kwamena Dadzie made some postulations I find very wonky.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie thinks that with His Excellency President John Atta Mills appointing 75 Ministers, the President is not keeping to his promise of having a lean government.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie conveniently forgets to realise that President Atta Mills has hived off four Ministries, has not reached the 88 mark of former President Kufuor, and has stated in unequivocal terms that his tenure will have no space for Special Assistants for Ministers and other Government officials as was the case in the last 8 years.

Certainly, some significant savings will accrue to the government purse.

And who says running a lean government is only about the number of Ministers?

The rationale behind running a lean government, is to run a lean budget.

So, if His Excellency the President has decided to have only three vehicles in his convoy, has decided to live at the Castle instead of his Regimanuel Estate home, thereby cutting down his fuel consumption, has decided to significantly slash protocol budget, evidenced by his cancellation of two state banquets so far, and his refusal to embark on useless trips outside the country, Ato Kwamena Dadzie should engage in some cursory mathematics and he will realise that His Excellency the President is committed to keeping a lean expenditure regime.

Of course, in leading by example, His Excellency President John Atta Mills will not manage a lean budget at the Presidency and allow his Ministers to abuse their privileges.

Then Ato Kwamena Dadzie decides to deride me.

According to Ato Kwamena Dadzie, I got appointed to the position of Head of Communications at the Presidency, as a way of massaging my ego.

Inter alia, the piece read thus:

“In the Castle, there is a presidential spokesperson and there is a director of communications at the presidency.

The administration has been trying hard to explain that their functions don't overlap. But I am not convinced.

It seems to me that Mahama Ayariga (the President's spokesperson) is supposed to be doing the talking whilst Koku Anyidoho (the director of communications) focuses on writing press statements. One man can do both jobs.

When President Mills first entered the Castle and named Ayariga as his spokesman, he seemed to have really angered Anyidoho, who hardly misses an opportunity to rant and rave.

The President, it seems, has decided to crown Anyidoho with a title to salve his bruised ego.

This is not the way to create a lean government.”

Ato Kwamena Dadzie may have an educated opinion on a number of issues but his postulation on the roles of the Head of Communications and Spokesperson, pans him out as not having a hold on the distinct and separate functions of myself and Mahama Ayariga.

I am not about to be the fly that follows the corpse into the grave and so I will not run through my schedule with a comb.

However, just so Ato Kwamana Dadzie can know that I am not wearing a “crown” to “salve” my “bruised ego”, I will let a few things out.

In the first place, if Ato Kwamane Dadzie thinks that all that is done by way of running a communications outfit, is to issue releases and speak, then he can afford to swim in his sea of ignorance.

There is more to communications than meets the eye of Ato Kwamena Dadzie.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie does not realise that the Presidency must have a unit that runs its Public Relations machinery.

In other words, there must be a unit that projects and protects the image of the Presidency.

And one needs to understand the nuances of Public Relations to be able to effectively run such an outfit.

I will leave Ato Kwamena Dadzie to educate himself on the role public relations plays in modern day image and information management.

I hope Ato Kwamena Dadzie is not about to suggest that he knows it for a fact that I don't have the capacity to run a Public Relations outfit.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie does not realise that the President must have his speeches written.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie does not realise that the media environment needs to be scanned so that appropriate responses, when the need arises, are given to, raving, ranting and writing.

If Ato Kwamena Dadzie has the time, he should Google search the White House working structure, and he will wake up to the realization that the decision of President John Atta Mills to have a Spokesperson and a Head of Communications is nothing new.

And it is not only the White House that has such a structure. Other Presidencies also have the same structure.

What Ato Kwamena Dazdie does not know, or refuses to remember for reasons best known to him, is that, during the campaign, Professor Atta Mills' Campaign Team had Mahama Ayariga as the Spokesperson, Koku Anyidoho was Head of Communications, and Nii Lantey Vanderpuje was Director of Operations.

The three of us were the immediate campaign legs of Professor Atta Mills.

For a fact, when in 2006, Professor Atta Mills was campaigning to become the Flagbearer and Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the same structure existed with Mahama Ayariga being Spokesperson, Koku Anyidoho acting as Head of Communications and Nii Lantey Vanderpuye acting as Head of Operations.

Maybe in those days too, Professor John Atta Mills gave me a “crown” to “salve” my “bruised ego.”

On a number of occasions in the run-up to the election, Ato Kwamena Dadzie called me to elicit information for his job at Joy FM.

In the period Ato Kwamena Dadzie was eliciting information from me, was he giving me a “crown” to “salve” my “bruised ego”?

Ato Kwamena Dadzie writes that I do not lose any opportunity to “rant and rave”. That is his opinion.

I played a critical role in making sure that Professor John Atta Mills secured the mandate to prosecute his Better Ghana agenda.

I spoke on Joy FM time without number and I will like Ato Kwamena Dadzie to play back my raving and ranting.

I am not running away from the fact that in the heat of the campaign, issues had to be addressed forcefully and if that is what Ato Kwamena Dadzie refers to as raving and ranting so be it.

Indeed, if the clock of time is wound back and I situate myself in the context of the 2008 election, I will do the same things I did without any qualms at all.

The 2008 election was not an ordinary one; and the modus operandi I adopted was what was needed to meet the exigencies of the time.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie refers to himself as “The Outsider”; he just may be an outsider when it comes to the job schedules of a Spokesperson and a Head of Communications.

Indeed, if Ato Kwamena Dadzie has the time, he can pass by my office and I will give him the job description of myself and Mahama Ayariga, then he can move from being an “Outsider” and become an insider.

Let me state for the records that I am not going to expend my energies responding to needless issues; the President has been given the mandate to build a Better Ghana and in my capacity as the Head of Communications at the Presidency, it is my job, per the heavy responsibility I carry, to support the President to build a Better Ghana.

I have responded to Ato Kwamena Dadzie because it is about time I set the records straight on the subject once and for all.

Credit: atokd.com

Ato Kwamina Dadzie
Ato Kwamina Dadzie, © 2009

This author has authored 146 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: AtoKwaminaDadzie

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