General News of 2005-10-21

Kwabena Agyepong damns Komla Dumor

The story reproduced below is real, in the sense that it was actually carried by the "Statesman", the paper formerly belonging to NPP Presidential aspirant and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nana Akufo-Addo and edited by Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the new lawyer who allegedly failed two of his law papers at the Law School but was passed on account of political peer pressure on the Director of the School, Kwaku Ansa. Asare, a member of the NPP Finance Committee.

The story was published in the "Statesman" of Friday 14 ? Sunday 16 October 2005, under the blazing headline, "KWABENA ACCUSES KOMLA OF CYNICISM".

In it, the Press Secretary to the President, Mr. Kwabena Agyepong, was reported to have spoken out against those he calls "full time cynics and perpetual pessimists", urging them to show "a little patriotism" with the courage "to encourage those striving to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Ghanaians".

Kwabena was allegedly challenging a recent criticism, fuelled by one of Ghana?s top radio journalists, Komla Dumor, that the Government had failed to develop and pursue an effective National Plan.

According to the Statesman, it reached Mr. Kwabena Agyepong for his comments on a debate on Joy FM on Wednesday October 12, in which Joy FM Super Morning Show host Komla Dumor invited listeners to take part in a live debate: the topic was whether or not there is a "National Plan" or a clear Vision from the Government on the direction in which to lead the country.

According to the Statesman, the topic raised many questions and attracted significant responses. The paper then proceeded to state some of those questions and Kwabena Agyepong, in his comments, launched a blistering attack on Komla Dumor, the Joy Super Morning Show, and critics of the NPP Government in general, alleging that "it is a calculated and deliberate attack by our political opponents to give the impression that Ghana is about to fall over the cliff".

All well and good, all every legitimate, all very democratic, with only one drawback ? THE RADIO PROGRAMME IN QUESTION NEVER TOOK PLACE!!!!!

Yes, the programme was advertised all right and was given very heavy promo, but it was called off at the very last minute and so it never came on. The questions that the Statesman claimed were asked by listeners were never asked because there was no programme for them to have asked those questions on.

So dear readers, to what extent will the NPP and its lying propaganda go to lie to the people of Ghana, including even faking a radio interview to enable the Press Secretary to the President to lash out at critics and praise his Government to the high Heavens?

Dirty propaganda indeed! Now read on, dear reader, the Statesman story on the Kwabena Agyepong interview on the Joy FM radio programme that never was!

"KWABENA ACCUSES KOMLA OF CYNICISM

The Press Secretary to the President has spoken out against those he calls "full time cynics and perpetual pessimists", urging them to show "a little patriotism", with the courage "to encourage those striving to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Ghanaians."

He has accused perceived opponents of the Government of deliberately engendering cynicism and controversy with little basis, in order to serve their own political agendas.

Kwabena Agyepong is challenging a recent criticism, fuelled by one of Ghana?s top radio journalists, Komla Dumor that the Government has failed to develop and pursue an effective National Plan.

In an interview with our Chief Correspondent, the Presidential Press Secretary spoke against what he sees as an "odd, amusing but embarrassing" attempt by "a particular programme on a particular radio station by a particular radio host to always profess doom and treat every effort by President Kufuor?s government with embarrassing cynicism."

Yesterday, The Statesman reached Mr. Agyepong for his comments on a debate on Joy FM on Wednesday October 12, in which Joy FM Super Morning Show host Komla Dumor invited listeners to take part in live debate: the topic was whether or not there is a ?National Plan,? or a clear ?Vision? from the Government on the direction in which to lead the country.

The topic raised many questions and attracted significant responses. Among the responses were those of several listeners who raised serious concerns about the actions and directions of the present government. They felt that Government?s aims were vague, and that progress had either been negligible or unreported ?either way, they were uncertain as to the specific goals and achievements of the Kufuor administration since 2001.

"I have a lot of respect for any discerning journalist who exhibits a nationalistic vigour to probe real issues. A government is arguably as good as the quality of opposition, and also the scrutiny it faces from the media. But, unfortunately, some of our best-known journalists are perhaps missing the mark. They are mistaking cynicism for professionalism."

When contacted by The Statesman, Komla Dumor of Joy FM declined to comment on these allegations.

Although Mr. Agyepong refused to be drawn on some particular issues, including the progress of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, he pointed to the general upward trend in the economy as firm evidence of the progress that has been made in Ghana over the past four years.

He said: "Any objective observer can see that the general direction taken by the Government under Kufuor has been positive; we are on the right track."

He accused political opponents of Government of deliberately creating cynicism: "It is a calculated and deliberate attack by our political opponents to give the impression that Ghana is about to fall over the cliff," he said.

When pushed about Dumor?s radio show and the motivations behind initiating the Public Plan debate, Mr. Agyepong maintained that the successes of government are clear to see: "If (Mr. Dumor) had taken a more critical look at the record of the Government, he would know of its achievements."

Agyepong pointed to the stabilization of the economy as one such example. In the four years since the inauguration of Kufuor?s first administration, the cedi has grown by 360 percent.

Mr. Agyepong also spoke extensively about the progress Government has made towards its goals in education. Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) was supposed to come into place by 2005. Mr. Agyepong described progress in this sector as a significant move towards the development of human resources in Ghana promised by President Kufuor.

Over the last three years, 3,500 classroom units have been built around the country; he told The Statesman, and thousands more schools have received new furniture and textbooks to aid quality teaching.

In addition, ?113bn has been allocated to the districts in Capitation Grants, with these to go to less privileged students to help towards educational costs. 2,000 schools are also now part of the school feeding programme, which seeks to provide school-age children with a free nutritional meal everyday.

Plans to rehabilitate and improve secondary schools in all 138 districts are also well under way, with 31 schools being upgraded this year, and work about to begin in a further batch of 25. According to the Press Secretary, Government?s target of having every child aged between 4 and 16 in school is well within reach.

Mr. Agyepong pointed to international confidence in the Ghanaian economy as another indication of an achieving government, and increasing amounts of investment from overseas.

Ghana was one of only five countries in Africa to be chosen for the 2005 Millennium Challenge Account scheme; criteria for selection included proof that a government had acted justly and was actively fighting corruption.

Inflation under the current government has decreased from about 50 percent in 2000 to 16 percent today. Ghana is now home to the three biggest mining companies in the world ? Anglo gold, Newmont, and Goldfields ? and foreign investment continues to pour in. International companies would not be investing in the Ghanaian economy unless there was international confidence in the country, Mr. Agyepong insisted.

The Aluminium Company of America has just this week announced a new million dollar investment deal to provide electricity in Ghana. Why, then, these indications that domestic confidence in a firm National Plan is less than buoyant?

Mr. Agyepong is insistent that such views are not representative of the country at large, but rather the manipulations of NPP opponents who are using the opportunity for their own political expediency. Certain people are working to purposefully create an atmosphere of uncertainty, Mr. Agyepong told this paper.

He did, however concede that voters may have reason to question the national plan and direction of the Government if its successes are not made public. His message to those who have expressed their concern would be "a reassurance for the people of Ghana that their concerns are being addressed.

"The Government is doing its best, but is takes time to build an economy, to lay foundations and to build confidence in that economy."

The fact that general concerns about a lack of information have been expressed is indication of problem, nonetheless. Mr. Agyepong agreed that the Government needs to do more to publicise its success ? but felt that lack of communication, rather than lack of progress or strategy, was to blame. "More needs to be done to dispel the confusion, "he said."

WE REPEAT. THE JOY FM RADIO PROGRAMME ON THE BASIS OF WHICH THIS INTERVIEW WAS PUBLISHED BY THE STATESMAN NEVER TOOK PLACE!!!!!

Source: Palaver
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