Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
The Kwesi Botchwey report, which captures how the National Democratic Congress (NDC) embarrassingly lost the 2016 elections, states that the party offered 200 cars for grabs by journalists.
Interestingly, according to the report, only a few members of the then presidential press corps benefited from the car largesse.
“Only four out of the 34 members of the Presidential Press Corps were given vehicles from a pool of about 200 vehicles available for distribution to the press corps and others,” the report, which the NDC is keeping like a secret document but is leaking, reveals.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that the lucky recipients came from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and a Radio Gold reporter.
The presidential press corps was also described as a privilege club by President John Mahama’s trusted buddy, Stan Dogbe.
“Presidential press corps was told by Stan Dogbe that they were not part of the ‘system’ and that they were privileged to be part of the presidential press corps,” the report states.
According to the report, quarterly stipend meant for the press corps was not disclosed until August 30, 2016.
“President Mahama’s in-house communication team was squandering resources of the President meant for communication strategy,” it says.
It also highlights the maltreatment of the journalists assigned to the presidency.
“Ill-treatment of the media; no respect for the media,” the report added.
It is also emerging that it was Stan Dogbe, the trusted aide of John Dramani Mahama, who was writing stories and ‘pushing’ them to the pro-NDC media outlets, popularly called ‘rented press,’ for publication.
He is also said to have even gone to the extent of banning publications on the then second lady, Matilda Amissah-Authur, wife of Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Authur.
The 65-page Executive Summary of the 455-page report says on Page 27 that “Stan Dogbe writes stories and pushes them through NDC media,” adding on Page 28 that the powerful Mahama aide “literally banned publications on second lady.”
According to the report, the 13-member committee engaged some personnel in the media and that provided them “a window into the state of the party’s relations with the media,” which it claims was ‘ill-treated.’
“There was a disconnect between the media, party and the government communications machinery,” the report says on Page 26, adding, “There was a ‘breakdown of communication’ and the entire communication structure was put on social media.”
It points out, “NDC disrespected its own media,” and also holds that NDC was intolerant of the media.”
The report maintains that media houses that were allegedly ‘hostile’ to the NDC as a party were preferred ones that the Mahama government dealt with and neglected the party’s own media.
“NDC sponsored pro-NPP media who painted themselves as neutral,” the report says, adding, “NDC had no patience to build a neutral station.”
It adds, “NDC did not respect its media and the party respects those who openly attack them.
“There was lack of proper media coordination in the regions. President Mahama’s in-house communication team was squandering resources of the president meant for communication strategy.”
It indicates, for instance, that Bridge FM, reportedly owned by Kwabena Bobie Ansah - one of the NDC media personalities - was not operating because of electricity bill, although the report notes that the party used that station at Atimpoku on the Adomi Bridge to win the Asuaogyaman seat.
“Bridge FM is currently down because of GH¢50,000 electricity bill after it used it to campaign to win the Asuogyaman seat for the NDC,” the report observes on Page 28.
The poor treatment of journalists attached to the presidency as captured in the report, indicates that the former president, for reasons best known to him, never met the journalists who were involved in a fatal accident at Afienya on their way from Ho, where Mr Mahama had attended an EP Church programme.
The Botchwey report says that President Mahama “never met his own presidential press corps,” adding that “quarterly stipend meant for the press corps was not disclosed until August 20, 2015” - the very day the journalists were involved in the accident.
That gory accident on Thursday, August 20, 2015, claimed the life of Samuel Nuamah - who was the presidential correspondent for Ghanaian Times - while other reporters sustained various degrees of injury.
Samuel Nuamah left a young family of a wife and child behind.
Sources said some of the reporters who covered the former president appeared before the Kwesi Botchwey committee to vent out their frustrations for what they claimed to be maltreatment by John Mahama for failing to commiserate with them by meeting them after such traumatic incident.
Even a report on the cause of the accident was never disclosed to the public.
The report also singled out Stanislav Xoexe Dogbe, who was unofficial director of communications for ‘editing’ money given to journalists who covered the presidency.
According to the report, “Stan Dogbe ‘edited’ money meant for victims of the accident involving the Presidential Press Corps, from GH¢50,000 that was supposed to be given them to GH¢5,000 and others got GH¢10,000.”