If I had been at the presidential media encounter, the question I would have asked the president is “Mr. President, are you out of steam?” in other words “Oman panyin, borkor dier”?
It would be recalled that during one of Nana Addo’s presidential campaign tours, he was caught on camera sipping a paper pack of Kalyppo fruit juice, arguably to regain steam to continue on his campaign. That famous picture led to a Kalyppo frenzy that went viral and earned him the tag “Nana Kalyppo”.
Now he is president, and recently he was caught on camera again drinking a bigger paper pack fruit juice called Happy Delight. That may suggest that working as president is more stressful for Nana Addo than being on the campaign trail, because he seem to be drinking more sugary juice to keep him going as president than he did as a presidential candidate.
Fast forward to today. Halfway into his four-year term, the president held his third media encounter, where he presented himself to the media primarily to answer begging questions on policies and programs he has either implemented or failed to execute within the two years.
Selected journalists were invited to the event, scheduled to start at 5:00pm, but it started later than the scheduled time. The president then took a significant 40 minutes of the short time left to make a presentation to the journalists, at the end of which he said he was going to take questions only till 7pm.
It was surprising to hear the president place a limit on how long journalists could go with their questions. Even though the Information Minister promised to allow 70 questions from journalists, the president vetoed the arrangement and allowed just 15 questions. He even stole some of the short time left to ask his own questions to his ministers, and the overly elaborated some responses to while away more time. Indeed, this is president must either be really in a hurry or must be losing steam too early, too fast.
Now here is a BettyBlueMenz Perspective. Before I come to my perspective on whether the president is losing steam or not, let me speak to two key issues that caught my attention in his presentation; his unfortunate comparison of drones with akonfem (guinea fowl), and his claim that there is abundance of food in the country and yet people are complaining of scarcity.
I agree with Bodi MP, Samson Ahi when he said the president’s comparison of the controversial drones issue with the infamous akonfem issue only trivialized the whole media encounter. I think our presidents needed to have been a bit more circumspect and presidential in that regard.
Food in abundance? That is probably half of the story. The other half is that bad roads are making it difficult to move food from the farms to the markets, and that is causing a glot on the farms and scarcity on the markets. As a result, food prices are still high. I was personally at the market and I found that prices are exorbitant to say the least.
So the president cannot use half truths to pat himself on the back. Indeed, half truths are lies. Mr. President stop lying to yourself. Food is not as affordable as you want us to believe. Our reality is obviously not your reality.
There is even a third side to the story, which is that Ghanaians are complaining that there is no money in their pockets and yet the president is praising himself for improving the economy. The least said about that, the better.
Now let’s talk about his steam. The general verdict on the media encounter was that the president only paraded himself in front of the media like a contestant in a beauty pageant but did not address the thorny issues Ghanaians wanted him to.
Some journalists like Manasseh Azure Awuni have described the encounter as the worst of all, while some Ghanaians also took to social media to vent their disappointment at the body posture of the president during the encounter.
It is too early for the president to be showing signs of losing steam because year three and particularly the election year, would require him to answer many more questions than year two. I would advise that he better vims up for the two years left because the seat will get hotter as he nears the next election and the demand on him for accountability would be greater.
It is also important for the president not to fuel the rumor that, if he wins the 2020 elections, he intends to hand over power to his veep before his second term is completed. I hope what happened at the media encounter is not a sign of things to come.
I rest my case here…