Politics of Mon, 19 Mar 20183
Mahama was very influential as Veep, he was never disrespected - Koku Anyidoho
Contrary to widely speculated assertions that Former President Mills' Vice President, John Mahama, was sidelined and isolated from the thick of affairs at the Presidency, then Director of Communications claims Mahama was highly influential at the seat of government.
He noted that Former President Mahama's authority and respect was intact and he was given due regard under Mills' presidency.
Koku Anyidoho discounted the notion of Mahama being sidelined insisting that he chaired all cabinet meetings as constitutionally mandated of him and contributed to decisions that were made.
The NDC Deputy General Secretary disclosed that as second in command, then Vice President Mahama's influence was so strong, his voice wasn't ignored.
Buttressing his claims, Koku Anyidoho recounted how the intervention of John Mahama halted an agenda pursued by himself and other sports enthusiast within the setup key among them being Nii Lante Vanderpuye (former Sports Minister who clashed frequently with GFA), Kojo Bonsu and Kojo Twum Boafo, then close to the circle of power to institute probe into how the GFA was being run without proper accountability by convincing the President to call them to order.
"There was a typical issue that had to do with Kwesi Nyantakyi and the GFA. And some of us sports enthusiasts like Nii Lante, Kojo Bonsu, Kojo Twum Boafo at the time... we thought that Kwesi Nyantakyi was doing something wrong and having come into power we needed to go into the FA as a government but I think somehow Kwesi Nyantakyi found his way to the Vice President John Mahama and the Vice President had a chat with President Mills. So the president asked us his boys to slow down on Nyantakyi”, he revealed.
It has been reported that Koku Anyidoho and then President Mahama have an acrimonious relationship stemming from the manner in which the then Director of Communications treated John Mahama when he was Vice President.
It's perceived that Koku's powers then, was linked to the relationship he had with then President Mills to the extent that he was alleged to be the only one with unfettered access to the President.
But in an interview with Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng, Koku Anyidoho described such allegations of him bulldozing his way around the Flagstaff House during the Mills administration to the extent that then Vice President and later President, John Mahama had limited access to his boss as rumours and falsehood.
He dismissed suggestions that he had so much power and clout at the seat of government, far more than the Vice President had and that John Mahama was sidelined in the process of decision making.
Then the Director of Communications, Koku Anyidoho says he is often taken aback when people accuse him of creating an atmosphere that wasn't conducive for the Vice President at the time to operate.
Responding to questions about whether he barred John Mahama from having access to then President Mills, the Deputy General Secretary rebutted "Falsehood, its rumour. Anybody who knows how the castle is configured, the president is on the top floor, the same floor as the Vice President. There is a dedicated corridor between the President and Vice President. They are the only ones who use it, nobody else is allowed to use that corridor. So the Vice President will walk directly to the President's office. My office was beneath that level. Even me, when I'm going to the president, I have to go through the ADC, I didn’t have unfettered access to the president. So I'm beneath them, they are on that floor, how come I was able to stop the Vice President from seeing his president?"
"I don’t think it is proper for you to say that I was more important than the Vice President, absolutely ridiculous. It’s ridiculous, I don’t know where they got that information from, how could I be more powerful than the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana?" he fumed as he rubbishes claims that he had more influence than then President Mahama.
He was emphatic that at no point did anyone within the Presidency including himself disrespect John Mahama, who was then Vice President.
He said that at the time the Vice President had security men and bodyguards who were always on the lookout for him and stressed that John Mahama had his own influence within the Flagstaff House.
Citing one of the popular rumours spread about his relationship with Mahama at the time he was Communication Director at the Presidency, Koku Anyidoho remarked "I heard all kinds of things, some were saying that I used to hold the shirt of the Vice President to his neck. Is it possible? At no point in time did the vice president walk around without bodyguards and security and their first mandate is to protect him so how dare me attempt to hold the shirt of the vice president and I will not be beaten. Nobody disrespected the vice president at the time, he had his own influence."
The NDC's deputy General Secretary revealed that constant motivation from the President at the time, John Evans Atta-Mills spurred him on to do his work.
He revealed how Atta-Mills used to boost his morale by telling him how pleased he was with the work he was doing and advised him to ignore the rumours and distractions and remain focused.
"It was just rumour, it was just falsehood but you see at that time president Mills will tell me Koku stay focused, stay focused, I am the president and I'm the one you are working for, as long as I'm happy with what you are doing stay focused" he told host of Ghanaweb's '21minutes with KKB' Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng.