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Al-Hajj Peddles Lies

Source : Ghanaweb featured article writer Rodney Kyei.

A newspaper that peddles pure lies about the Mahama administration time and time
again, has to be called to account for debasing journalism, by the journalists’
Association and the public. The fact that Al Hajj continues to publish lies all
intended to sow conflict within the ranks of the NDC and the executive branch of
government, exposes its nefarious mission. It raises the question, who are the
mischief makers paying the paper to do this? As the saying goes; “Follow the money!”

Three weeks ago the paper pushed a political hitjob on the First Lady, Her
Excellency Lordina Mahama, for supposedly wielding undue influence on the
President’s actions and appointments. What were the sources of these accusations? Al
Hajj did not cite a single piece of evidence except rumored “grumbling” from unnamed
political actors who claim to lack access to the President. Without compunction the
paper turned itself into the mouthpiece of persons who want to bend the President’s
ear to their own personal interests, by dragging through the mud, our First Lady
whose tireless advocacy for critical humanitarian causes has rapidly been garnering
international recognition from renowned organizations like the Organization of
African First Ladies Against AIDS (OAFLA), Susan G Komen (Breast Cancer),Project
C.U.R.E. (Epilepsy), MedCare, Autism Speaks, the Bush Institute and others.
Then two weeks ago, Al Hajj again published lies about personnel change among high
ranking presidential staff. None of it was true, and it was a lie with potential
grave consequences for the efficient running of the Office of the President of the
Republic of Ghana. Did Al Hajj retract or correct that story as any responsible
ethical media institution would do? No.

Again, Al Hajj makes baseless accusations this past week that the Vice President has
been sidelined, repeating the same vile track of pitting presidential staff against
the Vice President. The tactic is a vicious example of pure gutter journalism. The
intent of the three back to back fake stories about the President’s wife and staff
is clear. It is to damage the Executive Branch of the Government of Ghana, by
fabricating internal crisis where none exists within the running of His Excellency
John Mahama’s presidency.

Just when the Mahama administration is firing up efforts to enact its ambitious
agenda to rejuvenate Ghana’s economy, revamp revenue collection, upgrade
infrastructure, and catalyze 21st Century Education reforms, Al Hajj has turned
itself into the spear of shady forces who are disgruntled about a revitalized and
forward-moving NDC party that has left them in the dust and no longer beholden to
their influence. And so, as happens with all regressive factions they resort to
infantile actions to burn the house down. They will NOT succeed. We are moving
FORWARD.

However, just in case Al Hajj newspaper is ignorant of facts, then it needs to go
back to consult the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to learn some basic
things about how the Office of the Presidency functions as well as the nature of the
Constitutionally defined roles of the President, Vice president, and Presidential
staff.

It is the President who is constitutionally accountable for ALL governing decisions.
The Vice President, the Cabinet & all presidential staffers serve at the sole
discretion of the President performing duties assigned them. Article 57, sections 1
and 2, as well as Article 58 Sections 1-5 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic
of Ghana clearly state:
57:
(1) There shall be a President of the Republic of Ghana who shall be the Head of
State and Head of Government and Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana.
(2) The President shall take precedence over all other persons in Ghana; and in
descending order, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief
Justice, shall take precedence over all other persons in Ghana.
58:
(1) The executive authority of Ghana shall vest in the President and shall be
exercised in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(2) The executive authority of Ghana shall extend to the execution and maintenance
of this Constitution and all laws made under or continued in force by this
Constitution.
(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the functions conferred on the
President by clause (1) of this article may be exercised by him either directly or
through officers subordinate to him.
(4) Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution or by a law not inconsistent
with this Constitution, all executive acts of Government shall be expressed to be
taken in the name of the President.
(5) A constitutional or statutory instrument or any other instrument made, issued or
executed in the name of the President shall be authenticated by the signature of a
Minister and the validity of any such instrument so authenticated shall not be
called in question on the ground that it is not made, issued or executed by the
President.

Furthermore, Articles 70 through 79 of the Constitution also vest in the President,
the power to make appointments to various statutory public institutions, and boards
with the consultation and advice of relevant bodies and personnel. The key words
here are CONSULTATION and ADVICE. All final decisions are the President’s.
Such is the power of the Office of President in the Constitution we all adopted in
1992. In turn, the President’s responsibility for the above enumerated powers
invested in him, therefore makes him fully accountable to the Ghanaian electorate
for what he and his administration do with that sacred authority during his tenure
and when his term in office comes up for review. This clear delineation of power and
responsibility for it makes us avoid muddying accountability.

When President Mahama served as Vice President to President Atta Mills, he carried
out tasks assigned him without complaint and without fail, no matter the complexity
of the assignment. Neither he nor anybody in the press questioned the authority of
the duly elected President Mills who delegated those assignments to him. That was as
it should be, as defined in our Constitution. So what is Al Hajj insinuating now?
The paper wants to re-write Ghana’s Constitution or what?

Al Hajj also shows that it is grossly ignorant about the differences between the
functions of the Vice President and those of the Chief of Staff. The Vice President
is the second highest elected office of the land, next in line to succeed the
President if the situation demands it, and while in office, serves to represent the
President in various capacities as stipulated in Article 59, Sections 1-6 in the
Constitution. The Chief of Staff is an unelected position, but a role stipulated by
an Act of Parliament, the Presidential Office Act (No. 463 of 1993), that is charged
with running the Office of the Presidency. As the title of the position clearly
states, the Chief of Staff’s job is directly delegated to him by the President to
make sure everything and personnel that the President needs to execute his agenda
and daily schedule is ready and on target. The Chief of Staff’s actions all depend
on the President’s final approval, without exception.

So, the Vice President’s and Chief of Staff’s functions are NOT on the same
wavelength, and the persons serving in those respective roles clearly understand
those differences. All those who serve in the Mahama administration clearly know
that they serve the country at the behest of the President. Period!

The mischief that Al Hajj is cooking up pushing successive lies about the First
Lady, Vice President, and Presidential staff, is intended to do one thing and one
thing only: Sow intra-party discord and delegitimize President Mahama’s authority as
President. The paper’s disgraceful and unethical mission is so transparent you can
drive two Tata trucks through it.

Who is paying Al Hajj to drive such virulent narratives?

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