Mahama supports dialogue on economy

Former President John Dramani Mahama has advised the government to rally the citizens in efforts to surmount the economic challenges facing the country.
He noted that in circumstances such as the current economic crisis, the support of everyone was important, stressing that the government had to let the people know what sacrifices they needed to make and why those sacrifices were necessary.

“If your ship is sinking and ships are passing by and asking if you have any trouble and you deny it and say that everything is fine, you will sink and that is what has happened. We all need to come on board and see how best to salvage the situation,” he stated.


Mr Mahama gave the advice during a courtesy call on him by the National Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) last Friday.

The purpose of the visit was to introduce the new executive of the association to the former President, solicit his support, guidance and advice in order to make the association better, and also to invite him to the upcoming GJA Awards.

The GJA delegation was led by the President, Albert Kwabena Dwumfuor, who took time to share with the former President the association’s vision to re-brand and transform.

The other GJA executive were its Vice-President, Linda Asante Agyei; the National Organiser, Dominic Hlordzi; the General Secretary, Kofi Yeboah; the Treasurer, Audrey Dekalu, and the Public Relations Officer, Rebecca Ekpe.

Similar calls

In August, this year, the former President made a similar call for a national dialogue after some credit rating agencies downgraded the country’s economic outlook and its ability to borrow.

Apart from Mr Mahama, the immediate past Country Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dr Albert Touna-Mama, and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) had also called for a national dialogue.


Mr Mahama noted that in order for the government to get the needed support to bring the economy back on track, it had to be transparent about the underlying issues.

“The first step is to come clean and tell us the state of the economy; you must put everything on the table, and that’s why I call for a national dialogue.

“I say bring the best brains together; I’ve been President before and it served me well. We were able to come up with a good document which we eventually took to the International Monetary Fund,” the former President stated.

Calling on the government to act as quickly as possible, Mr Mahama explained that with “the slippery slope down which we’re going, if action is not taken quickly, we won’t end well.”


Vigilant

Mr Mahama urged the media to be vigilant in the face of the current state of the country.

“It’s the role of all journalists to be more vigilant at this time when the country is facing economic challenges. The current state of our economy is terrible; we have never in all our history been in a place like this,” he said.


The former President added that the current status of the media on the Press Performance Index was a matter of concern.

“Our performance has been so poor; this shows that we have a problem,” he stated.

Media harassment

Mr Mahama expressed concern about President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s attitude towards media practice.

“For a President who says he prefers a reckless media to a docile one, yet this same recklessness is why the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) officers pick people up and detain them, is not acceptable,” he stated.

Subsequently, Mr Mahama charged the association, as the mouthpiece of the media, to speak up and make sure journalists operate in an atmosphere free of oppression.

“There have been some cases of harassment of media people for what they do and one of your own paid the ultimate price, the assassination of Ahmed Hussein-Suale. As of now the people who perpetrated the act have not been apprehended. You must not sleep on it, continue to fight to bring them to book,” Mr Mahama charged the GJA.

Congratulations

Former President Mahama congratulated the new GJA Executive on their election and expressed his confidence in their ability to deliver.

“Let me thank you for the honour of calling on us and to congratulate Albert and your team on your election as the new executive. I also want to commend you for the new initiatives you have announced. Many of us watchers of the media were getting a bit concerned with the delay in democratisation within the organisation and you being the watchdog of our democracy, if you yourselves could not get it right, then there were concerns.

“There was a lot of concern expressed about it. But I’m happy that your elections finally took place and new executives have been put in place,” he said.

In the company of the former President were the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu Ampofo; the Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Dr Peter Boamah Otokunor; a former Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Julius Debrah; the NDC National Communications Officer; Sammy Gyamfi, and aides to the former President, Joyce Bawa Mogtari and Stan Dogbe.

Passion

Briefing Mr Mahama, the GJA President said the association was aware of how passionate the former President had been when it came to the media in the country, adding that Mr Mahama’s contributions towards expanding the frontiers of the media were worth mentioning.

“And as a practitioner yourself, we deem it prudent to pay you this important courtesy call to introduce the new leadership of the association and to re-engage you as our member. Your support and promotion of press freedom is non-negotiable.

“As a communication expert, we are here to share with you some of our key visions and commitments so as to get your guidance and support in achieving them.

We can’t do it all alone, and that is why we are calling on you,” Mr Dwumfuor said.

The GJA president further stated: “We are also looking at re-branding and transforming the association. In the past, we were seen to be more reactive than proactive. We have exhibited this for years, and this time around, there is a need for us to give the association a new face. In so doing, we just upon assumption of office, put together an awards review committee to look at how to review the over 25-year-old award scheme to make it more appealing and attractive to members and other stakeholders.”

Source: graphiconline

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