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Opinions of Monday, 24 April 2017

Columnist: Frederick Keli Kofi Tse

Provocative conscience: Newsfile lesson for Kwesi Botchwey Committee

One controversial word that has been introduced onto the political landscape in recent times is the word ‘substandard’. This time, it is not from a politician but from a seasoned journalist.

Although the editorial team of Newsfile apologized for the use of the word ‘substandard’, it was a great decision by the team to disallow some faces from appearing on the program. The attacks on Samson to me were unfortunate and smack of a government which has become arrogant too soon. Activists of the NDC on the other hand, went on a teasing spree as the phrase went viral.

The kind of persons that represent government on radio and TV programs tell the seriousness or otherwise of government on the topics for discussion and government’s general regard for the entire citizenry. So the Newsfile team was right to turn away party boys who were sent to represent the government in a discussion of its 100 days instead of the minister for information or any of his deputies.

And this is a lesson to the NDC. Last year’s election campaigns were generally influenced by the media and like it or not, the media will continue to be the driver of policies and political messages. The media which you thought worked against your party in the last elections are the same guys who continue to hold this government accountable.

Some false steps by the current government in its first 100 days tell me I was wrong in my prediction that the NPP will last longer than eight years in government. However, your chance of annexing power from the NPP sooner or later depends on those who represent you in key areas of the party’s structure. The choice of a credible presidential candidate and party communicators will win you the next or coming but next general elections.

A choice of a presidential candidate sends certain signals to the people such as the vision of the party. It also communicates to the voting populace whether you have the requisite human resource base to run this country effectively.

The Professor Botchwey Committee should muster courage to advise some persons in the party to take backstage and do background work while it recruits credible new and old faces into the party’s communication structure. For your information, some faces are annoying and their message, simply unbelievable.

I have opined in my postmortem that 170 lies told by Dr. Bawumia are more believable than 170 truths told by the ‘babies with sharp teeth’. (See You know them so don’t ask me to mention names. With even my limited knowledge in finance and economics, I know Dr. Bawumia churns out loads of half-truths but the one thing that continues to work for him is his experience as a reputed economist. Governance of a country with our kind of challenges must be entrusted in the hands of people of experience, not party boys whose only asset base is a stock of vocabulary, quotable quotes and untested certificates.

You need people with some level of professional expertise to be speaking on behalf of your party because in the run up to the December 7 elections, one common perception that affected the party’s fortune was that the NDC does not have the men.

Presidential candidate

I am not an anti Mahama polemic but my nosiness as a writer keeps me discussing him and how weaker the lame horse is unfolding. Growing calls for Mr. Mahama’s come back is worrying. Forget about Kweku Baako; there is no use considering his opinion on your next candidate when he wouldn’t vote for that candidate even if you present the best candidate and policies at the polls.

A come back of Mahama will be an anticlimax of political success. You cannot attend school from kindergarten through secondary school to the university and instead of passing with a distinction, you trailed majority of courses and expect your parents to be happy that you are going to repeat the process. No!

A return of Mr. Mahama for the NDC will be an antithesis of a progressive political party. This is what I mean, the choice of a presidential candidate cannot only be based on one’s popularity but a serious political party will put up a candidate whose baggage is light to avoid punches and damning allegations. But Mahama’s baggage is too much for the NDC to carry if it wants to win power sooner or later.

Also should Mahama performs abysmally again and fails to run in 2024 for any reason, the party would have to go on a frantic search for his successor. By that time other parties might have fully marketed their candidates.

That said I also do not think Ghanaians are going to easily believe president Mahama’s messages, as the message of his new government will not come without slides of his last performance as president.

Former President Mahama should go on and make Ghana proud with his international assignments and remain a statesman for the country and his party. He and his followers should look at what others in his party can also contribute to this country. And as a great communicator with a fine personality, he should help the next candidate on the campaign trail.

The NDC needs a new candidate, who is articulate credible and media friendly; who will put the government on its toes.

By: Frederick Keli Kofi Tse