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Opinions of Monday, 8 September 2003

Columnist: Asibey, Akwasi

Beyond Mere Propaganda: A Reply to "Kojo Opoku"

The new political dispensation in Ghana, which seeks to deepen democratic governance in our country, has given rise to an unprecedented level of freedom of expression among Ghanaians living abroad as well as those at home. This is healthy. I believe that when citizens remain engaged in the political process, it helps in holding the feet of our politicians to fire or accountable so to speak.

In our eagerness to participate in the political process some of us ignore the basic tenet of a healthy political debate, which is that, whatever information we put in the public domain must be above board. It must be able to withstand public scrutiny. It must be reliable and credible. We should not oppose those we disagree with philosophically by resorting to innuendos and half-truths. In doing so, we portray our own intellectual laziness and political ignorance.

On Tuesday, 2nd September 2003, one ‘Kojo Opoku’, which we suspect is a pseudonym, posted an article on Ghana web entitled, “President Kufour: Konongo Kaya Playing Kokofu Football” that sought to rubbish the achievements of President Kufour as well as to question his integrity. I respect the writer’s God-given right to express himself but when he raises issues that put into question the life-long achievements of a fellow Ghanaian, who happens to be in public office, he must do so with intelligence. It offends my sensibilities to read articles that are mischievously calculated to undermine the integrity of an office holder, using lies.

Some of the issues raised are mere propaganda written for the credulous reader. And those should not be dignified with any response. But other accusations are serious in nature and should engage our attention.

Without any documentary proof, ‘Opoku’ made an outlandish claim that President Kufour was a failed businessman because he set up a brick factory, which collapsed. Even if his venture into business did not work, shouldn’t we applaud him for attempting to make an honest living?

There is information in the public domain to indicate that President Kufour joined the then PNDC as part of a well-orchestrated plan by political elites who had been sidelined by the 31st December 1981 coup to steer the then government into adopting sensible policies. It is believed that Dr. Obed Asamoah and Ibrahim Mahama were part of this plan. The two gentlemen stayed with the PNDC government but President Kufour resigned after the murder of the judges. Shouldn’t he be applauded for this principled position and display of good judgment and integrity?

The writer portrays his extreme ignorance about international diplomacy by thinking that every trip the President makes should automatically lead to a flood of foreign investment into the country. The good will generated by such visits should have short-, medium- and long-term benefits some of which should not and cannot be quantified. ‘Opoku’ is at his unpatriotic best and true to form he cites the decision by the Kufour administration to reject the Malaysian Telecom company deal with Ghana Telecom as a sign of incompetence. We should applaud Kufour’s government for the courage to throw away a deal that sought to milk our economy dry. Had he checked with employees of Ghana Telecom, they would have told him that Malaysian Telecom saw Ghana Telecom as a gravy train. Why was ‘Opoku’ silent about the recent deals with Alcatel of Shangai to modernise the existing telecommunications infrastructure in the country? For those of us who have worked in international organizations, we see the agreement with Telenor of Norway as a standard package. We should rather focus on whether or not the tenets of the contract are being achieved.

To reflect his policy of inclusion and diversity, President Kufour has appointed hundreds of Ghanaians into various positions. These people come from various ethnic backgrounds and regions. There is not a single region in our country that does not have a representative in the government. And yet detractors of the government persistently and stupidly stick to their claim that the Kufour administration plays favourites. Using the writer’s own list, which is extremely distorted and factually incorrect, 14 members of his immediate family are serving in various positions in the administration. Of say a hundred appointments made, there are 14 Kufour relatives, which represent a mere 14 per cent of those appointed into key posts. So where is the nepotism?

In every government there is a core group of people who have the ears of the President. This is nothing new and is practised in even advanced democracies. And when you factor in the fact that we live in a coup prone country, it will be na?ve for the President not to surround himself with people who can protect his government. Indeed, President Kufour has been, contrarily to popular perception, astute in dealing with matters of national security. And we should thank God for that because there are characters out there who could seize on any slight opportunity to destablise the country!

What we have embarked on is a long process of consolidating democratic governance in our coup prone country. And it takes a president who is savvy about security matters to achieve this goal. Had President Limann done so, we would not have gone through 20 years of economic and political misadventure and Ghana would have been a much better place than it is at the moment.

May God bless our country!


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.