On the Run: Okudzeto-Ablakwa is butt-naked exposed!

Sat, 1 Dec 2018 Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

He has more than met his match. I mean, it well appears that Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, the former Mahama Deputy Education Minister and the main opposition National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for North-Tongu Constituency, in the Volta Region, does not know what he is talking about vis-a-vis the critical matter of the present size of the Akufo-Addo Presidential Staff. Which clearly shows how blisteringly ignorant and abjectly politically illiterate this “Baby with Sharp Teeth” may be. But even more pertinently and delectably, Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa may have more than met his match in the personality of Mr. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, the substantive Akufo-Addo Information Minister. The latter tells us that what has been mistakenly characterized as the Presidential Staff at the Presidency, that is, the Jubilee House, is actually part of a more expansive and elaborate executive category called the Office of Governance Machinery (OGM) – (See “Gov’t Denies Increasing Presidential Staffers from 998 to 1,614” Modernghana.com 11/25/18).

Now, it gets a bit tricky because Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah also informs us that the number of staff appointees of the OGM is already 1,697, which President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo actually intends to reduce by 83 in the coming 2019 fiscal year. That will, of course, bring down the number of OGM staffers to 1,614, precisely the number of Staffers that Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa has been desperately trying to make a national issue out of through his usual cheap propaganda ploy. What the foregoing means is that the North-Tongu NDC-MP does not know what he is talking about, else he would not be vacuously raising questions about a staffing figure which, according to Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah, already exists, and which is actually slated to be scaled down by at least 5-percent next year. And to think of the fact that Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa was once a Deputy Information Minister to the late President John Evans Atta-Mills makes matters even more amazing, to speak much less about the downright scandalous.

Which also makes the former popular Multimedia personality the far more credible in this debate, especially when the Akyem-Ofoase-Ayirebi Constituency’s New Patriotic Party MP back-handedly denies that there is any scheduled or intended increase by President Akufo-Addo in the number of his Presidential Staff from a purported 998 to over 1,600, according to Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa. What this means is that the Information Minister is, after all, justified in his call for the North-Tongu NDC-MP to be interrogated over how he arrived at his clearly nonexistent figure. In simple English, Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah is categorically calling Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa a congenital liar and a political scam-artist of apocalyptic proportions. If so, then the next most logical step is for critical-thinking sleuthing journalists to interrogate the fact of whether, indeed, there exists a Presidential Staff of the magnitude or strength of some 998 employees that the opposition parliamentary spokesperson on foreign policy is bitching about.

Such interrogation is necessary because the same figure came up in a controversy over an allegedly bloated Akufo-Addo government last year. At the time, as I vividly recall, the-now Dr. Mustapha Hamid, the extant Information Minister, publicly admitted to the existence of such a figure but pointed to the fact that at least some 600 or two-thirds of that figure had been inherited from the previous Mahama regime. It is also very disturbing when NPP Communications operatives like Mr. Andrew Egyapa Mercer, the MP for Sekondi, in the Western Region, cannot either convincingly explain or confidently deny the fact of whether, indeed, the Office of Governance Machinery is 1,697-employee strong or whether the Presidential Staff is really composed of some 998 civil and/or public servants. This fuzzy stance towards the exact human-resource magnitude of our governance apparatus, on the part of executive and legislative operatives who ought to know this subject, is nothing short of puzzling.

In other words, it does not look good on the part of both the pathologically cynical and perennially mendacious propagandists of the National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Opposition and the latter’s counterparts among the ranks of the ruling New Patriotic Party. But it is also equally crystal clear why our beloved country is so seemingly intractably bogged down by the sort of basic development problems that Ghana is facing presently. In other words, if the proverbial movers-and-shakers of our ship-of-state cannot be readily counted upon to have the staffing strength of our governance machinery at their fingertips, then it would, indeed, be tantamount to asking too much to expect even the most basic of our socioeconomic problems to be resolved in the offing.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.