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Opinions of Thursday, 24 October 2019

Columnist: Wisdom Eli Kojo Hammond

Ursula's 'witches' comment, superstitious and not leadership

For a minister of communication to describe divergent views and critics of the New Patriotic Party as witches who deserve to be exorcised means we all need to be trained to communicate well no matter our status, affiliation and position in public. It looks as though, "witches run shift in Ghana politics. When you are in power, your witchcraft is submerged by power when you go into opposition; you become a fully fledged witch.

Mistakes are not the preserve of the poor, marginalized and holders of opposing views but a trap of those in leadership who fail to see beyond a simple ill thought of comment and its implications. Everyone Ghanaian including you my reader and I, the writer need communication schooling, leadership training , world-class use and understanding of emotional intelligence in leadership and skills to better understand multiparty democracy which is basically a battle of divergent ideas.

The minister of communication spoke her mind and "feeling" however, she might have lost it all by tagging critics as witches. Who am I a layman to say she that tagging was unprofessional and unscientific coming from a leader of her Caliber.

It's looks as though it is a crime to criticize happenings in Ghana today. Typical of the Ghanaian, critics are enemies even if what they criticize is a wrong action, step or decision of government. When did it become a crime to criticize a leader or a political party? Is my respected minister and the NPP jittery? Stay calm and perform your duties leave the measuring of how well you have performed as a government to the good people of Ghana.

Ghanaians do not need to be forced to see the works of the ruling NPP if it is really impacting their lives positively. The master drummer cannot force the onlooker to tap their feet to his rhythmic combinations of beats, the footsteps and the head nodding of onlookers will tell.

For those who refuse to see it, you cannot call them witches, becoming emphatic will help see things from their point of view at least and then you can take the needed action to help yourself and them. There is nothing wrong with others criticizing you if you can see the positive side of such criticizing. Leaders must learn to face criticism. Ghana's multi party democracy allows for opposing views unless the NPP intend to turn Ghana into a one party state where criticizing government even if it makes so much logic and sense becomes a crime.

The fact is that, faithful of the NPP cannot deny the fact that there have been instances when they objected to an action or decision by the party within its circles. The minister of communication can also not say, she has not criticized the NDC in the past. Her criticisms have been well documented. "Clueless, purposeless “are some of the words she used to describe the NDC under Mahama, was she a "witch “those days? No, she was expressing her opinion because of her believes and political affiliations.

Was she a witch prior to the 2016 general elections?

So far us Ghana is a multiparty democracy practicing country every party, its ideology and understanding play a critical role in how they see things. The minister of communication, hon. Ursula cannot force people to see what she sees as far as Politics and ideologies differ.

Hon. Communication Minister, as a leader, you must come to terms with the realities of the times, we are heading towards another election. Please don't criticize other political parties if you don't want you be criticized. Remember, you cannot always be right and you cannot have everyone supporting and believing in the successes of the ruling NPP.

In your comment, you called on the NPP faithful to tell Ghanaians what the NPP has done. Have we forgotten that, our politics has become an avenue to ridicule the success of others?

From a leadership perspective, frustration is clearly visible in that "witches" tagging of critics of the government. There is the need to shake it off and focus on your work.

If someone voted for the NPP but is criticizing government, because he or she feels or believes the government has failed in dealing with a particular issue, such a person is a "witch" per the interpretation of the minister of communication.

The minister of communication must have a strategy in place to communicate the works of her government rather than think criticizing is "witchcraft".

When it rains and the ground is wet, not everyone is excited about it.

Others pray for a sunny day the day others pray for a rainy day. Not everyone will agree with you on all matters and so the minister must come to terms with the reality. We cannot all see what she is seeing. When everyone is thinking alike, no one is thinking.

It is looking as though, the ruling NPP hates to be criticized, it sees itself as the world of knowledge and truth. Its leadership and rank and file members if sincere with themselves will agree to this but as usual, they wouldn't but rather rain insults for this content as well.

The question should be how the party and government can deploy an effective integrated marketing communication to project every success, developmental project and explain how it will benefit the ordinary Ghanaian in the long run.

Short run success stories die young. How will for example the Free SHS introduced by government continue to help the ordinary and how do we communicate this until it is positioned in the minds of people? Upon the free SHS, Ghanaians are still suffering. What have they used the savings for? The truth is there is no free lunch anywhere. Ghanaian only sees that a government policy is benefiting them if they experience a direct benefit.

Madam Minister of communication, great leaders learn to manage criticism and invent ways of harnessing positive fall outs from them towards greater success. This is a sure way of winning such persons to your fold and not tagging them as witches.

To think that Ghanaians who are complaining today are witches is a poor observation and porous communication from the minister of communication. I am a layman, I speak what I see and feel and I might be wrong. Tagging me a witch will not hide the truth but tell the world how intolerant you have become as a result of your positional power.

One good thing we can take away from her comments is that, she charged the NPP youth to trumpet the success of the Nana Addo led government. Asking them to talk about the Free SHS, National ID, Digital Address system. But how are these translating into everyday lives of many ordinary people? Let us add this to the message, don’t tell them people let them tell the world.
I am tempted to believe that in her estimation, citizens must pretend there are no problems or if they are , we should ignore the PDS, government contracts for sale, just a few to mention focus on only the achievements.

Did the NPP give the NDC that same chance going into the 2016 elections? Instead of insulting the intelligence of Ghanaians who are either on the other side of the Political divide, let us use the ministry of communication to communicate professionally devoid of “witches” tagging.

Our leaders must radiate high levels of emotional intelligence in communicating with the ordinary people. Leaders must guard their tongue, emotions and views that will not advance growth and Goodwill.

When people express their opinions and enjoy their freedom of expression, they are not less humans because they have no political or positional power.

A society that allows opposing views and taps the good in criticism is always forward looking and successful than one that mocks others for sharing their views and divergent opinions. Such minds are closed to suggestions.

Leaders who spit comments like this do not bring the needed progress. The minister must not allow pertinence to overtake her. Communicate with us and hear us express ourselves. This way, you can learn to touch our soft spots and make us your followers.

Every leader today must master emotional intelligence inside out, know the limits for dirty politics and its associated implications. As a leader if you are pissed off, find better ways of dealing with it if you are holding a leadership position.

Leaders don't complain, it is followers who do that, leaders fix the complains and are problem solvers. Leaders don't insult, they resolve issues. Good leaders don't see their critics as enemies they see them as partners to perfecting and improving systems. Good leaders draw positive energy from every negatively charged atmosphere for growth.

Your success must be loud enough as a party to become deafening without you telling the citizenry. If people are not seeing the success, it never merits the tag "witches". Drop that attitude and carry us all with you to the altitude.

Good leaders are gems with the heart to take the craziest criticism.

Opposing views don't call for insults; multiparty democracy does not make the opposition or the citizens who are not seeing your "good deeds" witches.
Let us show effortless leadership. If you are in leadership position, never belittle those who put you there. For they will not keep you there forever.

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