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Feature Article of Friday, 3 August 2012

Columnist: Kalifah, Mo

Be Fair to the Rawlingses

Ever since the passing of former President Mills was announced last Tuesday former President Jerry Rawlings and his family have been receiving bad press for various reasons. And it looks as though some politicians and certain journalists were already preying on the vulnerabilities of the former first family waiting for a moment such as this. Admittedly former President Jerry Rawlings has had his own deficiencies as a public figure but it has been bizarrely disappointing that some elements together with the media are intent on inciting the Ghanaian public against the former president riding on the tide of this unfortunate incident. Why is it that the same people who castigated him for his interview comments could not find the same wisdom and space to condemn or confront the BBC for reporting that our former president died of throat cancer?
Besides what the late professor’s friend, Reverend Nii Amu Darko and the former president of the Ghana Bar Association, a renowned politician Mr. Sam Okudzeto said were worse. Why were theirs rather seemingly well accepted by politicians and same journalists? Certainly indeed as Mr. Rawlings’ office stated ‘there is a calculated attempt by certain individuals with the support of sections of the media, to pitch the former President against the family of the late President Mills with the intention to create public disaffection against President Rawlings’.
It reveals the intent of these individuals to discredit and render the former first family irrelevant in Ghana’s political space. Other than that there was no way the Rawlingses could have been described as irresponsible and social deviants by amateur politicians such as Nii Lantey Vanderpuije with such punctured credentials whose mission and proximity to the Castle is still difficult to explain.
It is understandable that every journalist wants to do a story on the former president as many have always sought to do. But in delicate times such as these they need to exercise higher professionalism judging between selfish discounted fame and jeopardising the serenity of Ghanaian sentiments. It does not help any political party or Ghana for that matter. So please be fair to the Rawlingses. We need space to mourn former President Mills and put our energies into building a nation, a nation long denied its place in history.
I am hopeful that Ghanaians would understand this divisive journalism and politicking and choose between believing in vigilante journalism and professionalism.
In any case all that is required of the media and all political elements is to conduct themselves in a manner that unites all the various political and ethnic schisms in the build up to the general elections.

Mo Kalifah
mokalifah@gmail.com

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