When he was the spokesperson of Nana Akufo-Addo, I really admired him. He did not allow the media to carry the story to him and neither did he give room for speculation. The guy was always on the beat and very friendly with the media. He was sharp, articulate, unassuming and very versatile in communication.
Then the party came to power and he was made the Minister of Information. In one of my write-ups, I said President Nana Akufo- Addo made the right choice because I knew the calibre of the guy who was going to occupy that position. In this era of Information Technology, governments pay much premium on information because failure to do so will give political opponents the license to distort facts and figures. In other jurisdictions, the Ministry of Information comes third to the Ministry of Finance and Defence. Since you don’t light up a candle and put it under the bed, the position of a Minister of Information is so important that if that ministry fails, opponents of the government will seize the opportunity to misinform the populace to gain undue political advantage.
During the days of Osagyefo, the ministry was treated specially and resources were not lacking. Those were the days when mobile cinemas went round the nooks and crannies of the country, showing villagers what the CPP government was doing for them. You may call it a propaganda machinery but it did work to perfection. The other day, when I read one of the newspapers, quoting Mustapha Hamid telling Ghanaians in an interview that President Akufo would win the 2020 elections, I laughed. How can Nana Addo win the 2020 elections if all the good things that he has been doing are not being heralded so that the good people of this country will know the path that we are treading? At a point in time, Ghanaians will not need Mr. Hamid to tell them that Nana will win the 2020 elections because the sweetness of the pudding lies in the eating.
All over the country, the NPP communication machinery has virtually grounded to a halt and those who go on air to defend the government are making things worse as they rumble and beat about the bush with the same message being fed on the people on a daily basis. All you hear them talk about concerning the achievements of the NPP government are free SHS, School Feeding, Nursing and Teacher Trainee Allowance. They even find it difficult to explain the NABCO programme which is introduced to assuage the suffering of graduates who have been unemployed for more than five years after their graduation. As for ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, some of these so-called NPP communicators do not even understand how the programme is run thereby leaving the NDC communicators to seize the airwaves, spewing naked lies.
Some of the NPP communicators who landed positions in government when the NPP came to power are nowhere to be found. If even radio presenters call them on their cell phones for classification on certain serious issues, they refuse to pick their phones and if they pick at all, they give funny excuses. Regional and constituency communication directors are simply nowhere to be heard, leaving everything to serial callers who may know little about the topics on the table for discussion. Sometimes, they make things worse for the government as they beat about the bush.
I know Mustapha Hamid can do better but sadly when one is appointed as a minister, they all think Accra is synonymous with Ghana. The President has seen the wisdom to visit the regions on a working tour to see things for himself. What keeps the Minister of Information from getting out of his office at the ministries and hitting the grounds? The time has come for the minister to start visiting all the regions, meet with the regional and constituency communication directors, brainstorm together and find the way forward. To wait when election 2020 is around the corner is suicidal. Mustapha should create a desk at the Ministry of Information with a liaison officer in charge who will co-ordinate with communication directors and give them the necessary information to be disseminated to the general public.
In the run-up to the 2016 general elections, but for the sharp and biting communication skills of the NPP communication directors, the NDC would have won the propaganda war. They have started again and the NPP must as well get moving because the Akans say ‘if you start swimming in the river early, your eyes become red’ (Wo fri ntem bro nsuo a na wani ye kokoo). If you watch the various television stations that air the newspaper reviews and you hear the NPP communicators, you become relieved because they are up to the task but sadly when you listen to local radio stations during newspaper reviews, the efforts of NPP communicators are nothing good to write home about.
I don’t want Mustapha to fail because he is my own man and I have come to like him because he is a man of integrity and he is hard working. He has come a long way as a young politician and the sky is his limit. Mustapha used to be an ardent reader of this column but I wonder if he has enough time to read the column as he used to do because as a minister his schedule is so tight that he may have no time to read. Somebody out there should tell him to read this one. He cannot fly into the firmament, where angels dwell to see me for more information since he has no wings but he can contact me through Fortune Alimi, my editor.