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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mills scraps presidential spokesperson portfolio

Mahama Ayariga
Mahama Ayariga

Outgoing spokesperson for President John Mills, Mahama Ayariga says his position has been sacrificed because the president wants to revert to the old practice within the NDC's communication set-up.

Ayariga told Joy News' Dzifa Bampoe that the portfolio of a presidential spokesperson was the creation of the erstwhile New Patriotic Party government and only inherited by the new government.

He said the president has decided to revert to the communication structure under the Rawlings-led administration in which the Information Minister who is ultimately the spokesperson for government, becomes the mouthpiece for the president.

"The president will not have a new presidential spokesperson in the structure that we had previously. The Minister of Information will speak for government and for the presidency because you really cannot divorce presidency from government," he empahsised.

He explained that the communications directorate led by Koku Anyidoho will only superintend over communications issues at the presidency but will not speak for the president.

His comments come hours after the president announced a reshuffle which saw major shifts in government.

Prominent among the changes are Zita Okaikoi, formerly of the Information Ministry who now finds her way into the Tourism Ministry, with Hon John Tia, deputy Majority Leader becoming the substantive Information Minister.

Majority Leader Alban Bagbin is now in the executive as Works and Housing Minister. Mahama Ayariga has now been shifted to the Trade Ministry as a deputy to Hannah Tetteh.

Asked if he thought his new position was a demotion, Mr Ayariga burst out in laughter saying; "it is for me a wonderful learning experience in the scheme of things."

He stressed that he has for over three years worked directly under President Mills as a spokesperson; two years as spokesperson of then candidate Mills and served him in the same portfolio for a year as president.

He reckoned his new position will be a new learning curve in his life.

Asked why the Finance Ministry was left untouched, Mahama Ayariga said the President has absolute confidence in the performance in the three-man team headed by Dr Kwabena Duffuor and include Seth Terpker and Fiifi Kwetey.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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