The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) says although the President demonstrated knowledge about topical issues during Wednesday’s encounter with the press, he performed poorly on his answers to two key questions.
“The low points on the President’s performance were on his responses to the question on vigilantism. For example, the President’s reference to how overwhelmed the security agencies are in dealing with the problem of vigilante groups cannot be justified. Indeed, the problem is one of lack of political will and not limited capacity on the part of the security agencies to deal with the problem.
“The worst moment in the president’s responses was his attempt to discount or dismiss the on-going bi-partisan investigations into what has become known as the “cash for seat” saga. Indeed, the President’s comment devalues the on-going work of the bi-partisan committee. This is especially so because the President in his introductory remarks took pride in the fact that under the first year of his administration, a number of bi-partisan investigative committees have been set up to investigate allegations of wrongdoing,” the Foundation said in an analytical report released Wednesday.
Nana Akufo-Addo yesterday hosted hundreds of journalists for a question-and-answer session to mark one year of his administration.
The Presidential Media Encounter which is the second for the current administration will be held every six months – according to government – to allow the press to interact with the President directly, and also provide a feedback channel for the government.
Commenting on Wednesday’s encounter held at the Flagstaff House, the Media Foundation for West Africa, a media development and freedom of expression advocacy organisation, noted that overall, the President was composed and in cases where the President did not have an idea or could not respond to a question, he demonstrated honesty.
“For example, he made it clear that the 2014 World Cup Committee White Paper was not on his radar. He also admitted the inability of his administration to meet the deadlines on the issuance of the National ID and the rollout of the mobile interoperability system. In some instances, he relied on his sector ministers to deal with specific questions relating to specific sectors, which we deem a good strategy,” the Foundation noted.
Format of event
The event was generally well organised, says the Foundation.
“The President was…articulate and created an atmosphere of conviviality throughout the event. The President’s introductory address was, however, too long and tended to focus nearly exclusively on the achievements of the government with almost no focus on failures, missed targets and challenges,” the Foundation said in the report.
The report also observed that: “The procedure on selecting those to ask questions could have been better-coordinated right from the beginning. For example, an expectation was created that there would be an opportunity for journalists from each of the regions to ask a question but it did not turn out so. However, the effort to ensure gender balance in the filing of questions is commendable.”