Politics of Saturday, 4 February 2012
Source: The Catalyst
An organisation calling itself The Centre for African Elections Media Monitoring Index, (CAEMMI), is blaming The Catalyst for inciting ethnicity in our politics. In a press release sent to selected media houses including Daily Democrat, a pro-NDC newspaper, the so-called elections media monitoring establishment without any fathomable basis, had chastised The Catalyst on 9th January 2012, for a publication the paper had done the same day, exposing NPP’s Kwabena Agyapong on a hate speech he made against the people of the Volta region. Interestingly enough, we were not sent a copy of the press statement.
At first,The Catalyst decided to ignore the obvious attention-seeking organisation and its ill-informed press release. But on second thought, we decided to set the record straight, and educate CAEMMI on the background to our story in reference, even if that will make the otherwise unheard-of organisation assume some dimension of attention regarding its existence.
First of all, it is important to note that our story headlined ‘Hate Speech, NPP’s Kwabena Agyapong says Voltarians are not human beings’ was not a fiction. The story emanated from the film documentary on the 2008 general elections by Jarreth Metz dubbed: ‘An African Election.’
The Catalyst was privileged to watch the full version of the film when it was first shown at the International Conference Centre on 31st December 2011 to selected media houses under the auspices of the Ministry of Information. We must say that we were indeed privileged to be part of the selected few since The Catalyst was the only newspaper invited from the so-called NDC press.
In a scene on the film, there was the much talked about misunderstanding that ensued between the reps of the NDC and NPP in the Electoral Commission (EC) strong room, following the attempt by the NPP to steal the mandate for its flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, by changing some results from the Ashanti region, which had already been captured by the EC but the faxed result sheets deliberated hidden from the EC chairman.
Kwabena Agyapong who was the NPP rep in the EC strong room was confronted by Mr Fifi Kwetey, Mr Rojo Metle-Nunoo, Mr Kobby Acheampong and Dr Tony Aidoo among others and all the NPP strongman had to say in defence was this ‘We will challenge the figures from Volta, there are no human beings there.’
What crime have we committed in publishing Kwabena Agyapong’s hate speech? And indeed that was a hate speech.
CAEMMI, in a press release on the day of the publication by The Catalyststated, “The Centre for African Elections Media Monitoring Index (CAEMMI) would like to urge the media not to allow their differences in political ideologies cloud their professional roles and resort to insults and tribal politics. We would entreat the Ghanaian Media to uphold regulatory standards as stipulated in GJA’s Guidelines on Elections Coverage, (4) page 81; ‘’views that promote social…and political conflict during an election year, should be avoided’’.
It did not end there. The self-acclaimed media elections monitoring group had the following to say about us.
The Media should also be guided by NMC’s Print Media Guidelines 11 (a) of page 11,’’ the press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative references to a person’s race, ethnicity and colour….” Similarly, headlines that depict tribal and ethnic tendencies like; ‘’Hate’ Speech,NPP’s Kwabena Agyepong Says Voltarians Are Not Human Beings’’ The Catalyst, Page 1, 9/1/12 must be avoided.
First of all, we do not believe that the people at CAEMMI read our story at all before jumping to the stated conclusion. If they did, then we doubt if they took their time to read and abreast themselves well enoughwith the facts before rushing to make their public pronouncement that sought to indict us.
For the information of CAEMMI and those who think like them, we stand by our headline that NPP’s Kwabena Agyapong by his pronouncement, made a hate speech against the people of the Volta region.
Hate speech, according todictionary.com, is "speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation."
Hate speech by the definition of usaeducationguides.com, is "A term for speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against someone based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. The term covers written as well as oral communication."
According to definitions.uslegal.com, "Hate speech is a communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like. Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial, ethnic and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women."
Now, we are not too sure what the problem of CAEMMI is. Is it because the group is unhappy that we published the hatred spewed by NPP’s Kwabena Agyapong against Voltarians or that CAEMMI does not believe the NPP guru made the detestable pronouncement about the good people of Volta?
We are very much surprised that an elections media monitoring organisation worth its name would choose to ignore the dangerous sentiment expressed by NPP’s Kwabena Agyapong and rather decide to pick on us as the ones who are at fault- a charge of culpability we humble refuse to accept.
In that piece, we also exposed how Kwabena Agyapong and the rest of the tribal bigots in the NPP have made the Volta region the guinea pig for their hateful political experiments anytime their electoral machinations elsewhere are exposed. Indeed, the situation which triggered Kwabena Agyapong’s hate speech against the Volta region was a funny move by the NPP to rig the second round of the presidential elections in 2008, using changed results from six constituencies in Ashanti. The NPP actually succeeded in smuggling three of the cooked figures into the EC’s system without the knowledge of the EC chairman, as at the time they were found out.
Let nobody make a mistake. The NDC has constantly criticised the NPP for electoral malpractices in Ashanti, its stronghold. For example, in the 2008 elections, thirteen (13) constituencies in Ashanti recorded voter turnouts above 100%. In actual fact one constituency had a record 139% voter turnout. Of course the NDC has huge problems with this kind of unacceptable occurrence. But not once in the expression of their displeasure has any NDC person ever said that Ashantis are not human beings.
On the other hand, never has it been recorded in any election in Ghana that any constituency in the Volta region recorded a 100% voter turnout-NEVER. But the NPP, and of course with the support of all manner of groups some with doubtful identities and incredibility, is quick to jump onto the rooftops with loud noises in creating the impression as though the electoral ‘sins’ they commit in their strongholds can be equated by the ‘ananse’ stories they tell about the Volta region.
Not only that, but persons like Kwabena Agyapong had the guts to say that there are no human beings in Volta. And when we told the story about the venomous speech to the Ghanaian people, a certain CAEMMI is crying foul?
CAEMMI, if they truly exist, should have been in this country when Nana Akufo-Addo made the very dangerous ‘all-die-be-die’ speech, calling on the ‘majority ethnic Akans’ to spill blood in the 2012 elections for him to become President. The NPP flagbearer emphasised his point by given the example of NPP’s violence orchestrations and actual perpetuations at the Atiwa bye-election, which they turned to blame on the NDC.
CAEMMI was supposed to have been in Ghana when NPP chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, drove home the ethnic political agenda of his party in 2012 by saying Ghanaian-Akans are going to emulate the example of their counterparts in Ivory Coast and unleash violence in the elections to take their birthright- political power.
CAEMMI was supposed to be in this country when the former chairman of the NPP, Peter Mac Manu, said repeatedly on air that the NPP will arm its supporters with guns and other deadly weapons to fight the NDC in the 2012 elections.
For CAEMMI to choose to condemn us for exposing the ethnic agenda of the NPP in the forthcoming elections is quite intriguing.
Let CAEMMI come again. If they want to have the respect of some of us, then they should come with clean hands in asking for equity.