It is the sign of the times that the government’s own brochure for the celebration of 59 years of nationhood failed to recognise Mr. John Dramani Mahama as leader of this nation, and instead, conferred the title of President of the Republic of Ghana on Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan Head of State who was invited as Guest of Honour at this year’s Independence Day celebration.
My understanding is that the title ‘President of the Republic of Ghana’ conferred on the Kenyan Head of State in Ghana is attracting huge reviews in East Africa, with the opposition in Kenya asking Mr. Kenyatta to return to Ghana and leave Kenyans alone. In Ghana, an attempt at a retraction and apology has rather muddied the waters. According to state-run Daily Graphic, Mr. Francis Kwarteng Arthur, Acting Director of the Information Services Department (ISD), issued a statement of apology to President Mahama for the error.
Like many things Ghanaian, the apology targeted only the Head of State. The people of Ghana, in whose name the whole exercise was organised, apparently did not matter. But that is even beside the point. Yesterday, workers of the department were up in arms against their Acting Director. Apparently, the ISD was not involved in any way with the brochure. How the Director came to issue an apology in the name of an organisation that had no hand in the error, tells much about the bizarre happenings in the art of governance in this lovely country, formerly called the Gold Coast.
I am told that following pressure from staff, the Acting Director of the Information Services Department is singing a new tune. He says his apology was not rendered in the name of the ISD, which knew next to nothing about the compilation and printing of the anniversary brochure. Mr. Arthur is now submitting that he rendered the apology as Chairman of the Publicity Sub-Committee of the anniversary celebration, which clearly is an after-thought. If it were so, why did the Chairman of the Publicity Sub-Committee apologise to the President on the letter-head of the Information Services Department?
That is not the only mystery associated with the apology. The workers are surmising that the letter-head their Director used was not an authentic ISD letter head. Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth: “Unnatural deeds begat unnatural troubles.” The Acting Director is carrying the can that should have passed over his head. But why would a mature man with wife and children willingly put someone else’s problem on his head? The answer lies in the kind of power play at Government House, I dare state.
One interesting proverb in the Queens language sums up the posture of Stan Dogbe and his bullying tactics on display. “Those the gods want to destroy, they first make mad.” No one is on the street advertising his or her nature over this matter yet. But the goings on behind the scenes seem to suggest that the centre cannot hold.
Yesterday, media personnel probing further into the Independence Day gaffe contacted Commander Steve Obimpeh (rtd), Chairman of the Planning Committee of the 59th Independence Anniversary. The retired naval officer navigated his words carefully before bursting out. “Go and ask Stan Dogbe.”
Apparently, Mr. Stanislav Xiose Dogbe, who left Joy FM in rather bizarre circumstances, is asserting his authority as the Lord of the Manor at Government House. Not too long ago, he was fingered as the personality at the Jubilee House who hired that rickety bus for the Presidential Corps that was involved in that nasty, but avoidable, accident in the Shai Hills area. The accident claimed the life of Times Presidential Correspondent Samuel Nuamah.
May the soul of Samuel rest in perfect peace. For me, as a journalist, the tragedy of the Presidential Corps drama at Shai Hills was how the poor journalist lost his precious life without the police unraveling the mystery surrounding the accident. The loss of a life is not a joking matter. But it is beginning to register that in this country who the culprit is could be more important than the subject matter.
As you read this piece, the police have not been able to establish the cause of the accident. We are told that the men and women in the black uniform have failed in all their attempts to locate the bus, described by officials at the National Road Safety Commission as not road worthy. Once again, like many things Ghanaian, the police have failed to follow up on the many leads available. The personality mentioned in the saga of the accident, and Samuel Nuamah’s death, is almighty Stan Dogbe. Apparently, it is Mr. Dogbe who hired the bus. As a matter of fact, the rumour mills continue to churn out information that he might be the owner of that rickety bus.
The inference is that the man, whose departure from Multi Media Group is still a subject of enquiry, is beginning to grow larger than life. It is on record that sometime in the history of the National Democratic Congress Mark II administration, Mr. Dogbe was involved in an altercation with a Ghana Broadcasting Corporation newsman. It is whispered in private that the GBC reporter recorded something the Presidential staffer did not like. The man, who is responsible for the building of the public image of President Mahama, seized the recorder and smashed it on the ground, breaking it instantly.
It tells much about the reputation of Mr. Dogbe that the GBC has not raised a finger over this matter. The President of the Ghana Journalists Association, who operates from GBC as Director of Radio, has been tight-lipped on the issue. I bet Mr. Dogbe is gaining the reputation as ‘he who must be obeyed.’
On Sunday, Mr. Dogbe, was at it again. At the Independence Day parade in Accra, television cameras captured newsmen covering the 59th anniversary of Ghana’s independence crammed into a tipper truck meant to carry sand and stones from various quarry sites in the country. Make no mistake; the truck was parked right at the centre of the Black Star Square, where newsmen and women were put into considerable difficulties climbing a ladder to get to their assigned positions to bring the story of the happenings of the parade to Ghanaians wherever they might have been.
How newsmen were gathered in a truck meant to carry sand and stones could only be the machination of almighty Stan Dogbe. I have been trying to reach the President of the Ghana Journalists Association for an official explanation as to why the GJA should accept the condition imposed on Ghanaian journalists on Sunday without success. I have expressed my disgust in a text message to Dr. Edward Omane-Boamah, Minister of Communications, who officially speaks for the President. I bet the Minister struggled for an explanation.
His reply only read ‘Uncle, Uncle, Uncle!’ I assure the authorities at Jubilee House that if they cannot bring Mr. Dogbe to order, I will lead a campaign for news personnel to boycott all state functions in which the Presidential Staffer is involved in the organisation. Every dog has its day. Stan Dogbe cannot continue to treat newsmen as if they do not matter in nation building. I end by quoting one of my favourite wise cracks.
“The day the monkey is destined to die, all branches become slippery.”
I shall return!
Ebo Quansah/The Chronicle