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Communication must border on truth, decency and style
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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Columnist: Newton-Offei, Justice Abeeku

Communication must border on truth, decency and style

Following Kojo Owusu-Afriyie’s (sir john) appearance before the Supreme Court to answer contempt charges against him, the insipid propaganda machine of NDC has been working round the clock and churning loads of misguided information into the public domain. Listening to NDC propagandists speak on what transpired in the court room when Sir John made appearance, the impression is being created that, all that was said by Justice William Atuguba was directed at only Sir John and NPP. You listen to NDC propagandists speak and it is like they are the apostles of decorum in the area of political communication.

I listened to Justice William Atuguba speak on that day, and I saw him as a patriot who will never exchange the peace and cohesion of our dear nation for anything on this planet. The passion with which he spoke and the tone of his voice left me with no doubt that, indeed, the man had, over the years, followed how communicators of political parties, through reckless pronouncements, have always pushed our dear nation to the brink of civil strife during every electioneering cycle. He was extremely worried about how less than one percent of Ghana’s total population of over 24million people holds the whole nation to ransom, during every 4year election period. He also complained about how it has now become part and parcel of Ghanaian norm for prayers and fasting to be declared across the nation for peaceful elections, whenever we are going to elect political leaders (president and parliamentarians). He said election is about ordinary citizens engaging in normal exercise of choosing who to entrust their fate to serve so he doesn’t see how such a simple process should ever bring about so much tension and acrimony. The statement he made, which actually sunk deep into my soul was about his daily early morning walk to church(mass).He said since the election petition case began, people have been admonishing him to put a stop to his daily routine of taking early morning walk to church, because it is not safe. He said he isn’t going to be intimidated to abandon something he has been doing for ages, just because he is sitting on an ongoing petition since his conscience is clear; and I fully agree with him. Ghana is well-noted for its peaceful environment and how hospitable we are to visitors. So, why in God’s name must the citizens of such a lovely country always be on edge because irresponsible politicians are on rampage for people’s votes just to gain political not to even better the lives of the citizenry, but that of their own close families and greedy associates?Effectively,I fully agreed with whatever Justice William Atuguba said.

But rather myopically, members of NDC,either by a dint of pure mischief or lack of intellectual reasoning, have erroneously attributed all that Justice William Atuguba said to only Sir John and NPP.And this is where I personally believe much worse culprits of what Sir John was summoned over, have been unfortunately left off-the-hook. But I’m really not going to delve into that since the Supreme Court has still not made it clear to us the means by which they get to know what is being said about them and at what time.

Now, all these pronouncements which have ended up being contemptuous of the Supreme Court were made on radio programmes being hosted by people who are supposedly trained to professionally moderate intellectual discussion on both live Radio and TV. But often times, these programme hosts shove aside their professional instincts on the altar of mindlessly unprofessional sensationalism. Discussions on matters from archeology to zoology have been narrowed down to NPP/NDC where party bigots with al-Qaida-like fanatic fanaticism, are always on-hand to display who is the best in crass bigotry, completely devoid of intellectual cogence. Empanelling of fanatically bigoted political activists with no knowledge on issues of nation-building other than advancing narrow-minded political agenda, on Radio/TV programmes, has actually been detrimental to sanitizing our airwaves and very much destructive to our fledgling democracy. Empanelling people on a programme, not because they have good appreciation of issues on the table but just on the account of who can shout the loudest to the admiration of their bigoted political party fanatics is an act of extreme annoyance to discerning listeners which is a risk to our national security and general cohesiveness of the citizenry. But rather ironically, it is this bunch of political party fundamentalists, whose mindsets and way of doing things are not different from that of al-Qaeda fundamentalists, are the ones that are first considered for appointments when their political parties win power. Today, dissemination of information as regards the workings of government, which in actual fact must border on truth, integrity, decency, decorum and style, has become a comedy of incoherent insipid propaganda with expressed purpose of throwing dust in the eyes of ordinary people.

So, if we are desirous of stemming the tide of these rampaging noise-makers who don't make any useful contribution to our nation's socio-economic advancements by way of proffering cogent policy alternatives, then, it is about time producers of Radio/TV programmes stopped being zombies who only place phone calls to half-baked shallow-minded political fanatics. Personnel of these media houses should stop being lazy and delve into proper research work in order to inform themselves to be able to engage decent professionals in intellectual discourse.

Ghana is very much endowed with patriotic, intelligent, decent, dignified and moderate-minded professionals whose expertise in all fields of human-endeavour, can always be tapped into by producers of talk-show programmes on Radio/TV. When this is done, then, the citizenry can be well-educated to enable them make meaningful and well-informed choices, anytime they are presented with the opportunity to do so. This, in turn, will save ordinary Ghanaians from being political football on the field of play by selfish politicians, every 4year electoral cycle, where our unfortunate illiterate fisher-folks, for example, were made to believe that an ordinary silver head-pan (hweasambo) is much more valuable than "FREE SHS", during the 2012 electioneering campaign. Also, leaders of political parties must wise-up and stop rewarding juvenile-delinquent propagandists whose only claim to fame is mindless incessant vilification of political opponents who patriotically proffer divergent policy alternatives. Pronouncements of other public figures have also provided political party bigots to engage in crass voodoo analysis of serious matters; and a case in point is what is vigorously being pursued in court by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata in the election petition.

This argument being pursued by Tsatsu Tsikata to the effect that annulment of votes due to pink-sheets not being signed by presiding officers will be tantamount to retroactive penalization of ordinary voters, is neither here nor there, since the annulment of such votes will be perfectly in-line with laid-down rules and regulations governing the 2012 electoral process.

Now, if Tsatsu Tsikata cannot appreciate this simple argument which actually bothers on fundamental aspects of law, but NDC people still hail him as the best legal brain that has ever existed in their party, then, this obviously goes to cement the fact that, indeed, NDC lacks quality resource in all aspects of human-endeavour.

The presiding officers who failed to sign their pinks-sheets, in total disregard of statutory rules and regulations governing the 2012 electoral processes resulting in annulment of some millions of votes, potentially, must rather be punished by their employer (Afari-Gyan). The reason being that, the petitioners couldn't have done so in the relief sought in the case, when these presiding officers did no job for the NPP but rather the EC. Simply put, wayward employees are supposed to be sanctioned by only their employer and not someone who is seeking to uphold the laws of the land as the petitioners are seeking to do.

After all, the law says "a person shall be declared the winner and president-elect if he/she is able to win (50% + 1) of total VALID VOTES cast”. So, it is perfectly within the ambit of the law for any citizen of Ghana to legally seek for annulment of every single INVALID vote which has contributed to someone's ability to cross the (50% + 1) thresh-hold in a presidential election. Hence, Tsatsu Tsikata's argument that the petitioners' quest to, retroactively, punish ordinary Ghanaian voters by seeking to validly annul INVALID votes, is nothing but frivolously frivolous frivolity.

And like I have always maintained, the verdict will surely come, justice will be served, Ghana will continue to remain peaceful and we shall all be beneficiaries of living in harmony as we have always done. GOD BLESS OUR HOME-LAND GHANA!!!

Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei

E-mail: justnoff@yahoo.com

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