You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2013 05 28Article 275196

Opinions of Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Columnist: Amenga-Etego, Sacut

Defaming Our political Leaders with False images

– And with Aid of Technology

Our body politic in recent times seems to have reached a new crescendo. It is a stage that cannot be reasonably considered as an advanced stage in our politicking. Indeed, it has been debasing – to say the least. At best, we can say that, we have reached a point of lazy politicking with the aid of computer applications and the easy access to available new social media– taking advantage of the ignorance of the masses to spread falsehood. People now have no need to investigate issues or even be interested in it. No gate keeping mechanisms before going to the media simply because people have access to personal space and networks of friends, acquaintances, family etc on new social media - facebook, twitter, whatsAPP etc. etc. and can publish instantly with viral and maximum effect.

Our politics has now been reduced to defaming our leaders very cheaply by use of false images. It has become a competition among young political activists with access to social media tools. Everybody is now a specialized propagandist with no regard for decent political discourse but an insatiable quest to defame the opponent without apology – and by any means necessary.

The latest method is with pictures. As they say, one picture speaks a thousand words. With the aid of Photoshop – a computer application that is capable of manipulating pictures and altering images - some uncouth and desperate elements within the political group (NPP) have gone ballistic – almost acidic with false images of our President, thereby misleading the majority of our people who do not appreciate information technology. There are also ramifications for our international image as a nation etc. Since then, similar characters within the ruling NDC or in support of it have retaliated in equal viral and acidic measure.

With this APP, anyone’s head in a digital photograph can be replaced within seconds with another’s or any other image thereby maliciously creating false images to further create false impressions and notions.

In the past week, the victim has been our president H.E John Dramani Mahama. A member of the opposition NPP Michael Omarie Wadie led a social media assault on his image when he 'photoshoped' our president into a porn star. It is such a disgusting image which caught some of us completely stupefied. This distasteful image went viral around the world via social media to be viewed by an under - estimated twenty (20) million people in less than two (2) days.

If you think that creating and distributing this false image of our president around the world was condemnable, hear something else. The creators of this new trend have been on the defense. They are irrevocably committed to their course of action. And they argue, that yes, they created and/or distributed the false images. And yes, it was in retaliation for similar false images that had been created of ‘their leader’ Nana Akufo Addo in the past. Isn’t this amazing? Last time I checked we had only one leader of Ghana – and that is H.E President J.D. Mahama.

So: now you know the people behind this latest defamation agenda - Some disgruntled NPP elements hell bent on sabotaging and undermining the government of President John Mahama. Michael Omarie Wadie who has been running away from responsibility is an acquaintance of mine. He wants everybody to believe that elements within the NDC party could be spreading the false images of the president. I dismiss that assertion as a discredited divide and rule tactic. We in the NDC can bitterly disagree but with don’t employ such debasing tactics against ourselves. Nobody will buy it. However, I strongly and personally think Michael Wadie has demonstrated a low opinion of himself with what he did to our president including his attempt to justify his action.

He and his friends obviously and falsely believe that Nana Akufo Addo is at par with our President. They know that they cannot deal with the issues, and so have resorted to defamation. The NPP is losing credibility in the SC every day. They now want to drag all of us into the doldrums. They are fully engaged in equalization though there is nothing to equalize.

Power can only be compared to itself. President John Mahama is wielding ultimate or if you like sovereign power in the nation – state of Ghana. Any other person or supporters of such persons attempting to equalize the president’s power can only be considered subversive. And subversive elements should be treated as such. There is rumors of a recent arrest of Omarie Wadie by the security agencies, I don’t know if for subversion or for defamation - or perhaps just interrogation and debriefing. If we are going to arrest and treat Omarie Wadie like John Kumah, Kennedy Agyapong, Owusu Bempah and so on, then better we allow him to remain in obscurity rather than giving him that self - promotion – which is really what I think my friend Omarie Wadie is looking for. We must not fall for the bait but go for the kill.

I am for open and consistent divergence in opinions with our leaders. But some of us cannot endorse this abhorrent and progressively destructive use of computer applications to defame our leaders. I consider it an insult to the intelligence of Ghanaians who unsuspectingly see these images on the front pages of our news papers and consider them to be true and are completely shortchanged in the event. I agree that elsewhere in the great democracies of America, computer APPS have been used to manipulate President Barack Obama’s images into Osama Bin – Lardin and so on. Creating caricatures of our leaders for the purpose of humor and political propaganda is a more acceptable category.

To be just, I have seen in the past where some other unknown or unnamed people have used similar computer applications and created false images of opposition leader Nana Akuffo Addo where a roll of marijuana is transposed on his lips to try to dramatize and add effects to the rumors that he may be a user of that narcotic. Some news papers have carried these images on their front and back pages in the past unashamedly. Social media has been virally replete with such and such completely false images. Let truth be told.

But is this a good reason to falsely portray our president as a porn star or someone engaged in office romantic escapades? Does Nana Akufo Addo represent Ghana as a sovereign state on the world stage? Absolutely not! And this is the reason why anybody comparing and trying to equalize Nana Addo with President Mahama is foolhardily mistaken. Notwithstanding, we must collectively condemn the use of the false images for political purposes whether it affects President Mahama or Nana Akufo Addo. Equalization will not move us forward as a nation as two wrongs don’t make a right.

To be just again – arresting those who have openly admitted to creating/or distributing the latest false image of the President will be such a majestic egalitarianism of the law. If the law must be just, it must apply to all without discrimination. Besides, arrests without sufficient evidence to prosecute those involved, in my books, will only create heroes out of their folly. If there is evidence to prosecute in court, so be it. Let’s set an example in our quest to arrest this horrible behavior.

Amenga –Etego ‘Commandante’ SaCut – the writer is a multi – media journalist, broadcaster, political activist & ghost writer.