In December 2021, legendary sports commentator Kwabena Yeboah made some revelations about his connections to the two major political parties and how he has on more than one occasion turned down political appointments.
On the StarrChat program, Kwabena Yeboah told an interesting story of how he rejected appointments from the Kufuor and Mills governments.
He was offered ministerial roles by the two presidents in the sector that he is generally accepted as an authority – sports- but Kwabena Yeboah turned them down due to his view that ‘one needs not to occupy a political position to effect changes”.
“In Africa especially, many people do not trust politicians because it is mind-boggling those personalities you knew a few years ago, enter politics and within a space of two – three – four years become millionaires.
“So, a lot of people think that if you are offered that position, you intend to go there and make some money,” before adding that when then-President Kufuor offered him a deputy ministerial appointment, “I politely declined.”
He added: “President Mills also offered the position of deputy sports minister and again, I politely declined.”
For someone who turned down an appointment to contribute to a policy formulation and implementation capacity for the growth of Ghana sports, accepting political appointments especially one that falls outside the domain in which he cut his teeth is not something that one would have thought of.
Whiles, there is no record of such offerings under the Mahama government, the arrival of the Akufo-Addo administration appears to have re-worked the script when it comes to Kwabena Yeboah and political appointments.
In the first term of the Akufo-Addo government, he served as a board member of the Free Zones Board Authority.
On Thursday, January 27, 2022, he was sworn in as a board member of the Ghana Airports Company Limited, joining fellow journalist Paul Adom-Otchere who is the board chair of GACL.
Journalist with political appointment under Akufo-Addo
Kwabena Yeboah joins a growing list of media personalities who have been handed roles by President Akufo-Addo.
The list includes Elizabeth Ohene who heads the board of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Paul Adom-Otchere who is the board chair of the Ghana Airports Company, Kwaku Sakyi Addo is with the Minerals Development Fund and Kwame Sefa Kayi is a member of the board of the National Petroleum Authority.
The others are Francis Kofi Nunoo from the Ministry of Transport; and Group Captain Cervase Wienaa.
The power and influence of Kwabena Yeboah
In a recent edition of the popular “what don’t you know” quiz show, the quiz master posed a question that elicited interesting responses from the three participants.
The question was “who is the most popular sports commentator in Ghana’s history?” Among the three participants was the celebrated radio and television personality Giovanni Caleb.
Giovanni Caleb who is definitely not unaware of the historical influence and popularity of Kwabena Yeboah named Joe Lartey as his most celebrated Ghanaian sports commentator.
His choice was shocking and strange to the quiz master who repeated the question perhaps with the hope of a different response from Caleb.
But Caleb was adamant that as far as sports commentary is concerned none comes close to Joe Lartey.
The quiz master ruled that his answer was incorrect and tossed the question around to the other two contestants, of which one quickly mentioned Kwabena Yeboah’s name.
His answer was adjudged the right one and the acclamation from the audience was further validation of the decision by the quizmaster to flag as ‘offside’ the answer by Giovanni Caleb.
Such is the prestige and esteem with which most if not all Ghanaians hold the legendary Kwabena Yeboah.
To most people, Ghana has produced no better commentator than the great Kwabena Yeboah.
His remarkable exploits have seen him appear on the global stage as a commentator at the 2014 and 2018 World Cup tournaments. On the African continent, Kwabena Yeboah has run commentary on matches in the African Cup of Nations.
Here in Ghana, his record as the fine host of Sports Highlights on state broadcaster GTV and his overall authority with regards to sports issues are in no doubt. He is also the President of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana.
Author: Perez Erzoah-Kwaw