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Opinions of Monday, 14 February 2011

Columnist: Aidoo, Ato

A Diary of Politics and Skewed Journalism in Ghana

By Ato Aidoo

The basic truth about journalism is that it also extends common courtesies while sustaining a belief, but it has no room for the cynical observer. This is why one of such observers- Kwesi Pratt Jnr, a “rent-a-quote journalist”, who has now become an anti-women dinosaur and self-styled kingmaker comes for mention.
The other truth is that, with or without Kwesi Pratt’s daily “sermons” on radio and television, any political party can win elections in Ghana. If Ghana’s former First Lady, Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has a presidential ambition, who can stop her? In Pratt’s show of arrogance and righteousness, he declared- “I will make sure the former first Lady does not become the president of Ghana”. What an exhibition of power by a mortal soul!

In fact, the ruling party in Ghana has its internal problems and bad history, but it irritates an ordinary mind how a journalist of Kwesi Pratt’s caliber would declare “war” on Ghana’s former First Lady through an anti-feminist and self-serving posture.

Has Kwesi Pratt abandoned his socialist inclination, and joined the ruling political party in Ghana? The truth must also be told, that Pratt is a stomach-journalist, as he typifies a “mouse that blows air on the feet while feasting on it”. He is not credible, and benefits from an imbalance journalistic style. Did Ghanaians notice his “kokonsa” trip to Cote D’Ivoire recently?

Mr. Pratt has no justification to condemn others, his closet maneuverings and hero worshipping cannot go unnoticed. Yes, it is true we have an underperforming government; and any candidate from the ruling party would find it difficult to galvanize more votes to win the next presidential election in Ghana.

But it’s preposterous, that loquacious Kwesi Pratt would publicly declare an intention to make Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings unpopular in Ghana, and within a political movement founded by her husband. This statement only confirms Pratt’s “make-believe” worth in Ghana’s political landscape. Has Pratt suddenly become the kingmaker in Ghana? There are many things that withdraw attraction to the governing party in Ghana. However, Pratt’s pontification is, indeed, annoying.
I agree with the pressure group- Friends of Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (FONKAR), that who is Kwesi Pratt? The answer lies in the fact that - “Kwesi Pratt has always been Kwesi Pratt”. Amongst the most cerebral journalists in Ghana; Pratt is not one of them. As Americans put it “he has been around for a while”, but politically and journalistically, he is territorial, even static.

The celebration of journalism points to unbiased assessment, of humility and fairness to all manner of people, regardless of race, gender, beliefs, age, and ethnicity, but Pratt represents a deviation from these principles. He is a paid “journalistic hatchet-man”, and posterity would reveal his sponsors.

Between Pratt and FONKAR, Ghanaians should believe the latter, having revealed that Mr. Pratt even went to the United Kingdom to solicit funds for his political stable, only to keep part of the money. But for FONKAR’s alert, the Ghanaian people would not have known that this man, who parades as a champion of morality, and non-corruptible acts was involved in a scandal.

Thanks to FONKAR, Pratt had to explain the circumstances, though unconvincingly, a fact hidden for years. Every lie qualifies as an untruth, and Pratt cannot continue to deceive the good and discerning people of our homeland.

The fortunes of the ruling government in future elections in Ghana are glaringly shaky - the problems facing our people, price increases, high unemployment, intolerance, and broken electoral promises. Mr. Pratt cannot prevent an exit, having abandoned the development and growth of central structures in a political party (Convention People’s Party) which he claims has an unmatched record in Ghana’s democratic history.

When the people’s expectations are curtailed by the performance of a government, the likes of Pratt, and paid communication agents cannot extinguish the desire for constructive change, in spite of the window-dressing to appease a disenchanted majority who still believe “bread and butter” issues are still relevant than just a political talk.
It is unacceptable to determine choices, or consciously truncate an individual’s desire to seek higher political office, especially when it is not diabolical, but guided by regulations and procedure. Pratt has been unfair to Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, and this despicable act must be condemned by those who love democracy. Ghanaians should reject his shenanigan to prevent being fooled.

We cannot condemn, but recognize people’s anger toward an obstruction of movement values, and how it relates to government laxity, name-calling, untruth, and suppression of competition in a democratic environment. This defies the basis for modern political thinking. They do not work, no matter how hard power and journalists are used to prevent others from expressing a desire to compete, and the freedom to choose.

The unfolding saga and a solution rest at the front door of Ghana’s government.
As Bill Clinton, the former president of the Unites States once said “in our hearts, we should treat all people with fairness and dignity, even if we disagree with them, regardless of their race, religion, or gender”.

Nothing can be more dangerous than being silent on how our homeland is gradually being turned into an abyss of political intolerance, and instant kingmakers.

-Author, formerly of features desk, Daily Graphic, Accra, Ghana.

Source: Aidoo, Ato