It has been revealed by the presidency that the large sums of money dished out to journalists who attended a meeting called by the Chief of Staff was part of a Journalism for Development programme under the bail-out package the government recently received from the IMF. This was made known by a furious Julius Debrah who spoke at a press conference over the weekend to clear the government of suspicions of bribing journalists.
The chief of staff dismissed critics of the cash gifts as ‘ignorant’ and ‘cynical’ people who ‘criticise before checking their facts.’ He explained that under this IMF bail-out inspired programme, he was mandated to pay each journalist as much as Gh¢1,000 each time he calls a meeting.
The Journalism for Development programme, according to Mr Debrah, was supposed to get journalists actively involved in the Better Ghana Agenda. ‘We need them to disseminate far and wide the good works which the government hasn’t done.’
He also said that journalists were an essential component of the measures government is putting in place to resuscitate the falling cedi. It will be recalled that the governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Kofi Wampah, in July last year, claimed the cedi was depreciating because ‘people keep talking it down.’ In light of the diagnosis of economist Wampah, Mr Debrah said the government was working on innovative ways of solving the economic challenges the country was facing, and that it was ‘only people with treacherous intensions who are opposing this positive step the government has taken.’
He further disclosed that the journalists will be recruited to help the government solve the power crises. ‘Words have power,’ Mr Debrah boomed into the microphone, ‘and journalists work with words. The secret to ending Dumsor lies with them.’
During Q&A, someone asked how journalists could solve Dumsor. The former Minister of Local Government answered that light was first made by a mere word of mouth. Waxing biblical, Mr Debrah told his audience, ‘God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.’ He said he was convinced that our journalists are capable of replicating this feat.
He disclosed that the IMF bail-out package, which amounts to a little under $1 billion, also includes a Pastors for National Prosperity programme. He said the government was very impressed with the remarkable results of the prayers of Archbishop Duncan-Williams, who last year commanded the resurrection of the ailing cedi. ‘The programme will enlist other sympathetic pastors to help the government deliver the Better Ghana Agenda,’ Mr Debrah said.
Meanwhile, a small amount of money has been set aside for sacrifices to placate the dwarves who, according to Anita De Soso, have been stealing monies from the vaults of the Bank of Ghana.
‘What about the Old Evil Dwarves that Rawlings said are plaguing the government, and who he said need to be stopped?’ a journalist from Daily Guide asked.
Mr Debrah withered the poor journalists with a long and scorching look of contempt, and snarled, ‘Next question!’ Unconfirmed reports indicate that this journalist has been made to return the ‘soli’ that he received.
Editor’s note: The ‘Inside the News by Mpakoo’ column which appears every Monday exclusively on ghanabusinessnews.com is satire.