There was a near physical attack on Deputy Minister of Communications, George Andah, by members of the pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) Coalition for Democratic Governance (CDG).
The coalition organized a press conference yesterday at the Ghana International Press Centre, seeking to discredit Ghana Post’s recently launched Global Positioning System (GPS) – a $2.5 digital property addressing system for Ghana.
A member of the coalition who claimed to be a GPS expert, Kingsley Mortey, had made a presentation to journalists on the Ghana Post GPS, saying emphatically that the GPS is not unique to Ghana as Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia had indicated.
According to Mr. Mortey, the GPS belonged to the US military and that it’s precision was not accurate and that it was subject to manipulation by the US.
The coalition had echoed ex-President Mahama’s claim that the GPS is a “419,” to wit: a scam, saying that the whole deal smacks of a grand collusion between the company and some government appointees to “create, loot, and share.”
It accused the company contracted to build the App – Vokacom – an indigenous Ghanaian Information Technology (IT) firm, of allegedly not honouring its tax obligations to the state to the tune of $3 million, indicating that it was needless to invest $2.5 million in creating the digital addressing system because for the members of the coalition, it is already available for free on Google and the Asaase App. Interestingly, Asaase App was developed by Vokacom.
But when members of the coalition finished the talking and invited the media and other individuals present to make comments or ask questions, the deputy minister, who was at the event to listen to what the pro-NDC activists had to say, mounted the podium to clarify some issues the coalition had raised as far as the GPS was concerned.
Initially, Mr. Andah was given the opportunity to speak to the issues, but as he seemingly started exposing ‘flaws’ in the arguments put forward by the coalition, the whole confusion started.
Mr. Andah had pointed out that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has solutions for Ghana’s national digital addressing system and that the Ghana Post GPS was developed to enable the country to be able to give every property a digital address.
Some members of the coalition, including its chief convener, Ebenezer Kofi Hayford, a failed 2016 NDC parliamentary aspirant for Ayawaso West Wuagon who lost to Delali Emmanuel Kwasi Brempong, had angrily attempted to rush on him (Andah) to get him off the podium in a bid to stop him from further clarifying the issues that had been raised, even though the coalition had earlier challenged the government to speak to the issues.
Samuel Gyamfi, Public Relations Officer of Exton Cubic – a mining company owned by Ibrahim Mahama, younger brother of former President John Mahama – who is a member and also spokesperson of the coalition, became seriously mad with the deputy minister and attempted moving to physically get him off the podium, when NDC Communications Officer, Solomon Nkansah, stopped him from doing so.
Even though Mr. Gyamfi failed in pushing the deputy minister off the podium, he succeeded in screaming on top of his voice, telling Mr Andah, “You have only five minutes to end!”
What seemed more embarrassing for the coalition members was when the media followed the deputy minister and his team – made up of Managing Director of Ghana Post Company Limited – out of the Press Center for an interview.
At that moment, Mr. Mortey was left alone talking about GPS in the conference hall while the media were seeking further explanation from the deputy minister, forcing other members of the coalition to come out shouting at the journalists. “It is our platform. We paid for it not him,” he shouted.
But the journalists were unperturbed and continued with their interview and immediately after that, the event came to an abrupt end as the organizers became furious with the journalists for ‘abandoning’ them in favour of Mr George Andah.