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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Columnist: Gloria Akpene Nyarku-Acquah

A sham of a media encounter; the missing creative arts link

I watched with great expectation as the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo delivered his speech detailing the achievement of his government in the last 12 months. I was expectant as a creative arts reporter and presenter that my sector of interest will at least be mentioned by the President especially after news broke that for the first time that the sector has been considered worthy of an invitation.

This is certainly incongruous with the much-touted love Mr President had professed for the sector previously. The contributions of major players in the sector to the development of this great country are known even to the least perceptive observer. Permit me, Mr President, to point it out that in your campaign for this honourable office you did not only seek support from these players in the sector but also employed their useful talent at your major events.

I need not quote the sweet words in your manifesto to buttress this point but if for nothing at all a recent KPMG/Musician Union of Ghana study suggested that music alone contributes about 1% to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. In my humble opinion, this sector cannot be that negligible not to warrant a whisper.

Let’s face it the young folk in the Arts are getting frustrated by the day. They are wondering if you or any other government officials see or appreciate their contributions. The old folks have grown weary, many of them cannot fend for themselves. Some I hear are cursing their stars. They wish they had chosen other occupations. I guess they also monitored to see if their sector will be given some space as social media buzzed with the invitation of Arnold Asamoah Baidoo and Francis Doku (both well known in the field).

It was an opportunity for you Sir to give these creative people hope. Also because your daughter, Gyankroma has been in the news for allegedly neglecting her post at the Creative Arts Council set up by the Honourable Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku.

Mister President, did i hear you say you are relying on the private sector to produce jobs because the public sector cannot bear the burden? Hmmm the Tourism and Arts sector is mostly private sector driven. I heard the 2010 census declared over 7,000 people musicians. I know the apologist will say the invitation in itself is honourable, well for some of us this argument is at best tokenist.

Why invite us to be spectators when you, Mr President demands that we shun that practice and be Citizens. Again I pray no apologist proffers the time argument I know you will not tolerate such lazy thinking.

I can only plead with you that you at least go by the medieval adage underpinning democracy which dictates that ‘what touches all ought to be considered and approved by all’ next time by giving thorough meaning to representative democracy.