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The Stan Dogbe Phenomenon; Is President Mahama Weak And Helpless?

I have taken a lot of time in composing my thoughts and deliberating on whether it will be out of place to write this article under the heading above, since it may be used by some political actors for their own mischief. However, like the proverbial sore on the leg which needs to be treated with some crude methods in order to heal, lest it becomes gangrene, I have dared to bell the cat at the Flagstaff House and speak the mind of many members of the NDC who are silently grieving over the intolerably arrogant posture of Mr. Stan Xoese Dogbe, the man who has caused President Mahama so much embarrassment, while he still keeps his job.

It will be recalled that Stan Dogbe has been in the middle of what has become known as the “BROCHUREGATE SCANDAL” which was as a result of the designing, printing and distribution of the official brochure of Ghana’s 59th Independence Day Celebration which was laden with unpardonable grave errors, much to the embarrassment and disgrace of the nation. As a matter of fact, it has come to light that Stan Dogbe, the self-styled Head of Flagstaff House Communications Bureau, was the one who supervised this shoddy work.

The list of Stan Dogbe’s indiscreet and reckless behaviour around the President is endless. Due to the lack of space, I will attempt to remind Ghanaians of a few instances in which he has acted belligerently and sometimes without common sense. Not too long ago, Stan Dogbe launched a blistering attack on his Facebook wall against the respected Majority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Alban S. K. Bagbin for daring to speak about a few things which he was unhappy about in President Mahama’s government.

It is a fact that during the NDC’s days in opposition and not until after April 2006, Stanislav Xoese Dogbe, then working with Joy FM, did not see anything good about the NDC, and why Ghanaians, should vote the party to come into government. Now, I have been scratching my head to understand how such a character can become so powerful in President Mahama’s government to the extent of taking his belligerent demeanour to the doors of an experienced lawmaker like Alban Bagbin and virtually taking him to the cleaners. What was the result of the disrespectful meal dished out to Bagbin? Stan Dogbe went away scot-free!!!

In another encounter with Stan Dogbe, he was involved in a brawl with a journalist at the 37 Military Hospital, in which he smashed and destroyed the sophisticated recorder of the journalist in a Rambo-kick-boxing style much to the bewilderment of onlookers. Interestingly, Stan Dogbe himself is a journalist, yet his colleague was not spared his usual abrasive and confrontational character. What is even more surprising is that Stan carried out this disgraceful act in the presence of the Minister of Communications, Hon. Dr. Omane Boamah, who is supposed to be the Spokesperson of the President. A group of journalists petitioned President Mahama with regards to the abuse suffered by their colleague at the hands of Stand Dogbe. What was the outcome of that petition? Stan Dogbe once again, walked a free man!!

In another related development, Mr. Stan Dogbe was personally involved in arranging for a slightly rickety public transport vehicle popularly known as “tro-tro” to convey journalists from the Flagstaff House from Ho in the Volta Region, to Accra. The journalists had travelled to cover a Presidential assignment in Ho and were returning home when the slightly rickety vehicle was involved in a road accident which led to the loss of the life of a reporter from the Ghanaian Times Newspaper.

The Flagstaff House Communications Bureau which Stan Dogbe has forcibly headed for a while now, is a well-funded office and adequate budgetary allocations are made to cater for the needs of journalists who travel to cover the President’s engagements. It is therefore surprising that Stan Dogbe found it wise and prudent to transport the journalists in such a rickety vehicle which later cost the nation. How much would it cost to arrange for a decent bus to transport journalists from Ho to Accra? The country ended up paying more as a result of the various degrees of injuries sustained by the journalists as well as the loss of life. What happened to Stan Dogbe after that gory accident? He walked a free man!!

It gets even more bizarre when you consider how the sloppiness and hot-headed nature of Stan Dogbe led to the loss of some pages of the President’s speech at an ECOWAS Summit recently held in Accra. At a point in time, the President suddenly stopped in the delivery of his speech and announced that some pages of his address were missing. “Where is my speech…? I am missing certain pages in my speech…,” he said, at first to himself, and then to the audience.” However, the President managed to summarize and paraphrase the contents of the missing pages and finished his speech albeit abruptly.

Later investigations revealed that earlier on the day of the summit, Stan Dogbe took the only copy of the President’s speech from the President’s Aide de Camp or Bodyguard to run photocopies for journalists and the Heads of States who were present. It was during the process of running the photocopies that some of the pages carelessly got missing. I was shocked to my bone when I heard this explanation. Is Stan Dogbe that powerful enough to collect the President’s speech from his bodyguard, go to town and return it later? Apart from the embarrassment that the President suffered as a result of the missing pages, there were very serious security implications with the haphazard manner in which the President’s copy of the speech was handled. The Chief of Staff was said to have instituted an investigation into the matter. The outcome? Stan Dogbe walked a free man!!

At the recent commissioning of the beautiful Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange by President Mahama, Stan Dogbe frantically tried to prevent the National Executives of the NDC who had thronged the venue to lend support to the President, from even having a handshake with the President. A Deputy National Women Organizer, Hajia Fati Osman was almost at the verge of shedding tears as Stan Dogbe ordered her and other party officials to back off from coming close to the President. It was a very sad spectacle. Stan Dogbe’s penchant for throwing tantrums and showing disrespect for anybody and everybody knows no bounds. He has treated party elders, senior / leading party members, statesmen, Chief Executives of State Institutions and even dignitaries of the President with gross impudence. Many of these victims of Stan Dogbe’s impertinence have complained to the President on many occasions. The result? Stan Dogbe has even become more emboldened with insolence!

In his rather contemptuous and belated response over the “BROCHUREGATE SCANDAL”, Stan Dogbe bragged about how he is indispensable to the President in the discharge of his duties. Hear him, “…I have brought and will continue to bring my enormous communications experience, protocol and event management expertise, branding finesse, political strategy and execution capabilities to the benefit of President Mahama and the Government of Ghana…”, he wrote in a statement.

Stan Dogbe himself has confirmed the widely acclaimed rumour that he is now the anchor man of the President who handles his travels, communications, schedules, protocols, security and political strategy. Is it any wonder that one of the weakest links of President Mahama’s administration is in the area of communication and political direction? Indeed, the President must be naked if Stan Dogbe is in charge of his political strategies and protocol arrangements. I am wondering how one man whose only known academic and professional expertise in in the area of journalism, can all of a sudden become a security, protocol and political guru and advisor to President Mahama.

Has the NDC degenerated so poorly in harnessing its human resource that no other knowledgeable person in the party can offer advice to the President on political strategies except Stan Dogbe? Where are the likes of Totobi Quakyi, Alhaji Iddrissu Mahama, Ato Ahwoi, Captatin Kojo Tsikata and other experienced minds who stood as pillars of strength and wisdom in previous NDC regimes?

Stan Xoese Dogbe has succeeded in axing almost everybody around the President and now plays many official and domestic roles for the President. The recent so called shake-up at the Flagstaff House which saw the likes of Dr. Raymond Atuguba and Ben Dotse Malor exiting their respective roles as Executive Secretary and Director of Communications at the Presidency was only as a result of the incorrigible and horrible human and working relations which Stan Dogbe exhibited towards these gentlemen. I can say without any fear of contradiction, that Stan Dogbe frustrated these former appointees in the discharge of their duties to the point where they decided to resign. In fact, Dr. Raymond Atuguba was the first to threaten to resign a after a few months of assumption of office and his reason was simple – Stan Dogbe will just not allow him to do his job. Hence, many people were not in the least surprised when Stan automatically and forcibly occupied Ben Dotse Malor’s office and position immediately he left the Flagstaff House.

President Mahama must bear in mind that there are very serious complains about Stan Dogbe from all quarters of the party and government, with many people deciding to be mute and just observe since there is every indication that Stan Dogbe has the ears and full confidence of the President and the First Lady. In actual fact, Stan Dogbe is known to be very boastful of this fact and he flaunts it in the faces of his victims with brazen haughtiness. According to him, he can virtually do anything and get away with it since the first family fully supports him.

The intrusive character of Stan Dogbe has now been extended to the State Protocol Department (SPD). Since the days of Kwame Nkrumah, it is the SPD led by its Director that handles protocol functions during national events, presidential engagements/meetings and presidential travels. The immediate past Director of State Protocol, Ambassador Kwame Tenkorang was removed by President Mahama and sent off to another country as Ambassador because of the incessant complaints against him by Stan Dogbe.

Ambassador Tenkorang who is a very calm but firm person, stood his grounds and handled all protocol logistics and resources as far as the President’s travels were concerned and refused to allow Stan Dogbe to dictate to him or sabotage him. A new Director of State Protocol has been appointed and he is already going through hell working with Stan Dogbe since most of his core functions and duties related to the President’s engagements and travels have been forcibly taken over by Stan. All protocol logistics and resources earmarked for the President’s travels are now being handled by Stan Dogbe and not the Director of State Protocol. If indeed Stan Dogbe is or was the Head of the Flagstaff House Communication Bureau, what is his business in handling presidential travels and protocols?

I am not naïve to think that President John Mahama will sack Stan Dogbe after I write this article – NO! I know that nothing will happen. In fact, Stan Dogbe will actually be given more Presidential protocol, security, branding and political strategy jobs to be executed. However, President Mahama must be aware of the consequences of his unwillingness to clip Stan Dogbe’s wings even if his actions result in embarrassing the President both locally and internationally.

There is an adage in Dagbaani which says that “until the rotten tooth is pulled out, the mouth must learn to chew with caution”. Stan Dogbe is that unfortunate rotten tooth in President John Mahama’s mouth and the saddest part of this narrative is that, this rotten tooth can be found on the President’s front teeth. To make matters worse, President Mahama has not learnt and is not learning to chew with caution.

In fact, he himself has risen to the defence of Stan Dogbe on many occasions despite the gentleman’s incredulous character. What special qualities does Stan Dogbe have which makes him perform so faultlessly in the eyes of the President? Is the President oblivious of the chaos that is being created around him by Stan Dogbe? Why is President Mahama so weak and helpless when it comes to dealing with Stan Dogbe? Your guess may be as good as mine.

The political and electoral consequences of Stan Dogbe’s incurable arrogance will be very devastating against President Mahama if he (the President) does not check his darling boy’s incurable misconduct. Many members of the NDC even in our strongholds are developing lukewarm attitudes and the Ghanaian voter will always punish a government dominated by arrogance such as Stan Dogbe exhibits. If President John Mahama has ears, let him hear!

Alhaji Bashiru Mohammed Yahaya
NDC Activist and Member of the United Cardres Front, Tamale.

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