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At press conference, President Akuffo Addo extols achievements while failing to connect with Ghanaians


Presidential press conferences are often rituals used by ruling authorities to trumpet their achievements, set policy goals, take jabs at their political opponents and look voters straight in the eye and tell them everything will be okay. All in all, press conferences are glorified election campaigns, minus, of course,  the teeming crowds.

So, it was that on Wednesday the President, Mr. Nana Akuffo Addo convened a press conference with members of the Ghanaian media to take stock of his administration’s one year in office.

He was quick to remind the reporters and by extension, Ghanaians, how much his government has accomplished in a relatively short time. In fact, the President spent a better part of the conference painting a glossy picture, creating this beautiful image of an administration hard at work tending to the needs of Ghanaians.

Much like his predecessors, Mr. Addo used the media rendevous to embark on a shameless self-promotion, essentially going on an ego trip while telling the gathered media horde that he has revived the once anemic economy which he inherited from ex president John Mahama.

And, that he has kept Ghanaians safe from terrorists, established the office of special prosecutor to combat corruption and taking the fight to the underground and unconventional mining industry of galamsey.

Nana promised to tackle some pressing issues; create employment opportunities, and do something about the Gitmo 2 whose arrival in Ghana in 2016 created such consternation and anger among the NPP and its surrogates in the legal and media professions.

On corruption in his administration, the president was very protective of his cabinet members, curtly dismissing allegations of corruption leveled at some of them. “If you have any evidence of corruption against any of my appointees, bring it forward,” Mr. Addo implored Ghanaians.

Mr. Addo claimed so many things during the press conference, but one claim that stood out was his assertion that the national economy is doing well under his stewardship.And, to back up his claim, he trotted out some data, some big numbers to bamboozle the uninitiated, the ignorant and the gullible.

However, this claim when closely scrutinized is as absurd as it is inaccurate; it distorts the reality on the ground, which is that our young men and women want to work, and yet can’t seem to find any. The skeptics among us know that turning around an economy such as ours with its high unemployment numbers and other dismal economic metrics, is nearly almost impossible, at least not in one year.

While the economy maybe showing signs of recovery, it is still too early to declare it fit. It is underperforming as evidenced by the large numbers of young Ghanaians desperately looking for work. Nana is staking his presidency on reviving the economy, but it is going to take a lot of efforts on his part to win the battle and create economic opportunities for our young men and women.

The one gratifying aspect of the conference was to finally hear the President take a swipe at his party’s financed vigilante groups. He did not completely disown them which should not come as a surprise to many. Ghanaians want these violent groups disbanded and made illegal, but that is wishful thinking. Nana would never touch these groups — his own creation —-with a ten foot pole.

I had hoped that the press conference would have been a vehicle for the President to connect with Ghanaians, to be honest with them and tell them that the journey to prosperity will be a long, hard one and that every hand should be on deck. Instead, Nana devoted a considerable part of the conference extolling his achievements, protecting his appointees and building castles in the air. That was a missed opportunity.


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