General News of Mon, 29 Jan 201819
Government fires Mahama over anti-free SHS
Government has blasted former President John Dramani Mahama for what it describes as “baseless allegations against the government and person of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”
According to a statement signed by Mustapha Abdul Hamid, Minister of Information, President Akufo-Addo “is busy fixing the mess and rot the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration left behind” for the current government and does not have the luxury of time to indulge in “orchestrations of lies and propaganda.”
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government was reacting to a statement released by Joyce Bawa Mogtari, spokesperson for former President Mahama, following publications about how the former head of state allegedly contracted the Africawatch magazine to publish damning reports on the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy currently under implementation.
Africawatch has denied publishing any report on the free SHS.
Following media publications about the Africawatch’s alleged engagement to downplay the policy, Mrs. Bawa-Mogtari, issued a press statement and accused President Akufo-Addo of “spreading untruths and general smear campaign against the former president.”
According to the statement, “Neither President John Mahama nor his office has any interest in or working relationship with the Africawatch magazine”.
The statement said that the allegations against the former president were attempts to “sway the attention and interest of the Ghanaian people from the dangerous developments of corruption, insecurity, hardships and poor governance by President Nana Akufo-Addo.”
The magazine denied any knowledge of the said publication and said it was not working for the former president.
In a statement signed by its Editor, Steve Mallory, Africawatch claimed, “No Special Report on Ghana’s Free SHS programme has been published by Africawatch, and no such story was ever planned. These allegations are a total fabrication and a figment of the imagination of those behind this hate campaign.
“We must also state that we have no ties to former President John Mahama, nor has he commissioned us to do any Special Report on Ghana’s free SHS programme, as has been claimed by sections of the media in Accra.”
Government fires back
However, the NPP government did not take kindly to the statement released by the office of Mr. Mahama to the effect that the government is hiring media houses to peddle falsehood about the former president.
The Information Minister said that the government does not sponsor any newspaper in the country.
He said the newspapers have existed for many years and their ownerships and general stance on political issues are well-known, predating the President Akufo-Addo’s government.
“To proceed on that false premise to attack the president is disingenuous. To specifically allege that President Akufo-Addo is ‘orchestrating attacks’ on the person of the former president ‘based on lies and pedestrian propaganda’ without proof or evidence is unbefitting of a spokesperson of a former president,” he said.
Mr Hamid indicated that President Akufo-Addo holds all former Presidents of the Republic in high regard, and will continue to treat all of them with dignity and respect, as he has consistently demonstrated since assuming the office of president.