The reportedly poor treatment of journalists who were attached to the presidency of John Dramani Mahama has been captured in the report of the Professor Kwesi Botchwey Committee that investigated why the National Democratic Congress (NDC) embarrassingly lost the December 7, 2016 general elections.
According to the report, former President John Dramani Mahama, 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 he had attended EP Church programme.
The Botchwey Report states that President Mahama “never met his own presidential press corps,” adding, “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 claimed the life of Samuel Nuamah, the presidential correspondent for Ghanaian Times, while other reporters sustained various degrees of injury.
Samuel Nuamah left a young family of a wife and a child behind.
Sources said some of the reporters who covered the former president appeared before the Kwesi Botchwey Committee to vent their frustrations over what they claimed to be maltreatment by John Mahama – failing to meet and commiserate with them after such a 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, the trusted aide of Mr. Mahama – who was unofficial director of communications- for ‘editing’ money given to journalists who covered the presidency.
According to the report, which the NDC is keeping like a state secret, “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.”
The report further said that “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.”
It said, “Only four out of 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.
“President Mahama’s in-house communications team was squandering resources of the President meant for communication strategy.”
According to the report, “Dr. Omane Boamah and Stan Dogbe were the President’s undoing,” adding, “The President was virtually naked with the two around him.”
Between Pages 26 and 27 of the 65-page Executive Summary out of the 455-page report, it recounts how the behaviour of Stan Dogbe, in particular, caused the then ruling party’s massive defeat.
“Doing away with Stan Dogbe and Omane Boamah could have earned the President one million votes so he didn’t have to look to Ashanti Region for the one million votes,” the supposedly confidential report – a copy of which is in possession of DAILY GUIDE, maintained.
“Omane Boamah and Stan Dogbe convinced the President that he was more popular than the NDC ticket,” the report stated, adding, “The two were also the shadow actors of the government.
“The President’s inner circles were so intolerant that when you criticize the President, you are condemned.”
The report recommended, “If John Mahama wants to come back he should purge himself of Stan Dogbe and co, adding,.. “will be surprised if President John Mahama decides to continue to keep Stan Dogbe, Dr. Omane Boamah, Joyce Bawa Mogtari and still have hope of winning elections.”
The report has described President Mahama as living like a “movies star” in the run-up to the crucial elections, which he lost massively to then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.