IMANI, Ghana’s President, and President’s Spokesperson on AIR!

Tuesday, September 16, 2009

President Milss(R), Kofi Bentil(M), Mohammed Ayariga(R)On Monday September 14 2009, majority of Ghanaians who listened to Ghana’s President’s spokesperson, Mr.Mahama Ayariga venomously reacting to a harmless suggestion of ministerial reshuffle by  Mr. Kofi  Bentil, IMANI’s Senior Fellow,  no doubt confirmed that truly, a relook at some of President’s team is long overdue.

And that was the crux of Mr. Bentil’s response to a question by Joy FM’s (Ghana’s biggest  and most influential radio station) anchor, Evans Mensah, on why the President would be making references to a possible reshuffling of his men.

Perhaps Mahama Ayariga must have been worried about the President’s apparent reference to a not-perfect communication team, perhaps informed by the multiplicity of superfluous functional errors between Mr. Ayariga’s role and that of the head of communications at the office of the President.  Besides, we have the Minister of Information, with two deputies.

It is instructive to know that that the Majority Leader in Parliament, a member of the ruling government was the first to call for a reshuffle.  But that is the president’s calling, and Mr. Ayariga should direct his invectives at his own, else he runs the risk of making the President unpopular by what was astonishingly  the rudest of reactions to come from a Presidential spokesperson.

We are aware that an honourable member such as Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, deputy minister of information, has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that he has the muscle and the temperament to steer the affairs of the Ministry of Information.   Mr. Ablakwa’s work would be far more effective if officers such as Mr. Ayariga thoroughly reflected on comments made by important persons and the lay public before commenting on behalf of the President.

We were content that as a result of the confusion created by Mr. Ayariga’s fumes over the President’s honest comments about some of his men, the President personally called JOY FM and asked that his entire speech be replayed on air.  That wish was respectfully granted.   We at IMANI also requested JOY FM to replay Mr. Bentil’s reaction, and that request was granted as well.   Protesting public phone calls to JOY FM were enough reasons not to replay Mr. Ayariga’s invectives.

It is important for Mr. Ayarigah to know that IMANI is very interested in the development of this country just as President Mills is.  As we aspire to set acceptable national and subscribe to international standards, we hope that politicians will act professionally devoid of the usual attrition that characterises African politics.  IMANi is above personalising issues, reason why we have been very decorous and respectful to all Ministers and government agents any time we have discussions with them in the media.

We also have been unbiased in our assessment of key policies of governments.   And for this reason, our views are being sought by several government agencies, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the National Development Planning Commission, the World Bank,IMF, ADB, and key foreign missions in Ghana, to mention a few.  Internationally, our work has been cited in the U.K. House of Commons debate on aid and development in Africa and by South Africa’s Supreme Court Judge on patents and Intellectual property.

IMANI principals have shared panel with respected academics such as, Martin Wolf, Deepak Lal and former Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Estonia, Czech Republic and debated sitting Presidents such as Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania on colonialism and globalization.

IMANI principals are frequent commentators in print and broadcast media about Africa development issues, including several appearances on BBC, CBC, Swiss and Swedish National TV, Austrian National Radio and varied local Ghanaian media, and has been published or quoted severally in London’s Daily Telegraph,  The Wall Street Journal (all three versions), Bangkok Post, Washington Times, The Asian Times,El Mercurio (Chile), La Republica (Costa Rica),the Ottawa Citizen, the San Francisco Chronicle, 10 major African print media to name a few

Even though we are running on a shoe string budget, we will continue to be dedicated to educating society on the benefits of a free economy and fostering public awareness of important policy issues concerning business, government and civil society. And through seminars, publications and articles,   we will continue to seek to promote enlightened inquiry based on sound values and scholarship, the primary reason we were named the 6th most influential think tank in Africa by the Foreign Policy Magazine, the very magazine that recently rated Ghana as the most stable country in Africa.

We are proud to be of Ghanaian origin and we would serve this country to the best of our ability, tantrums, threats, invectives notwithstanding.