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Opinions of Monday, 27 June 2016

Columnist: Agbenu, Charles

Ghana media must be pro-active, scientific, progressive and inspiring

I am getting annoyed with the Ghanaian journalists, political pundits, analysts, program hosts/ess etc. I am tempted to say they are lazy and uninspiring, perhaps even saying they don't understand their role in democracy at all. They have to be up and doing, and be more alive to their responsibilities than they are doing.

How come that the political headlines and airwaves are always awash with the recasting of drab and antiquated events which don't help us move forward?

Listen to a political discussion and it is a bore; invariably with commentators making long winding recollections of what Kufuor did or Rawlings, or Mills before touching on the issue tabled. Then they will justify their useless outpourings that they want to lay the basis for the discussion before addressing the current issue on the table. Rabble rousing commentators even many times cite so called 'Matameho' acts as preambles to their submissions to deceive the unsuspecting public to make fun of their opponents. Why do the program hosts/hostess allow this?

Give the commentator 15 minutes to comment on an issue, then he will take 10 minutes on such preambles laced with nothing but frivolities, abuses, insinuations and inconsequential matters just to lambast opponents or make opponents look bad. In the end, then there is little time to address the real issue tabled and the quality time gets lost. To me, such diversions betray the commentators' shallow knowledge of the issues but they rather think they do a good job by such gutterish diversions.

I blame program hosts/ess for these silly and repugnant diversions. I urge them to be bold, more assertive and positive to stop such diversions. They should insist that commentators directly address the issues.

A case in point which is messing up the airwaves is the recent order of the Supreme Court (SC). In a bid to give further interpretation to its May 5 judgment on the controversy regarding the voters' register, SC directed the EC to produce a "comprehensive" list of all persons who registered with the NHIS cards by 29th June. EC is also to show the modalities it intends to pursue to remove the names of such registrants from the Voters list.

Any forward looking media must be discussing possible outcomes of what could happen on the 29th June with regard to whatever response of the EC and consequently that of the SC.

That's the only way we should be seen to be preparing for our future; moving forward. Under normal circumstances, we should not be surprised by any decision of the Supreme Court but no, we are stuck rigidly in our one-plug positions despite the dynamics and then we will hear 'kpeeee' and get confused. (Quoting from the famous Castro song, 'wobete kpeeee').

I miss America. I miss Britain. Their media would have acted differently and positively faced with our situation.

There are several scenarios which can occur in June 29th at the SC and which should be sumptuous menu for pro-active, lively and progressive debates which I expect our media to generate.

For instance, what happens when:
1. EC asks for more time about 3 weeks or more to complete exercise.
2. EC brings less than 4 million names contrary to the total of 4 million it had previously indicated to the court.
3. EC brings more than 4 million names
4. EC confesses that it can't extract the required list
5. EC brings list but no satisfactory practical method or modalities for removal of the registrants

Admittedly, the list of options is not exhausted. Now I urge our media to act bold, proactive and scientific and move us forward with lively discourses on the outcomes. Ghana deserves to move forward and the media tendency of living in the past is unacceptable in this age.

Now listen to what Ghanaian Ministers, Politicians, Experts, Commentators have been discussing since the SC order: - the two citizens who initiated the SC action are doing the bidding of NPP: Why should NHIS holders be barred from registering as Voters with those cards: The SC composition shows they are NPP people: The NPP have no message so they are wasting time with the court action: the affected NHIS holders cannot all be NDC people: The NPP are bad because they similarly undermined Kwame Nkrumah bla, bla, bla, bla.

Are Ghanaians so cursed that we should be visited with absurdities, unhelpful and meaningless long debates by our own leaders every morning, every afternoon and every evening?

We cannot say we are a serious nation and continue to pollute the political atmosphere with such constant brickbats, insinuations, mudslinging and taunts in our discussions. We deceive ourselves. We do not progress as a nation. It's a shame we are 59 years in self-rule and we don't learn. I cringe and I say our politicians, journalists, Communicators, media hosts must bow their heads in shame and then awake from their deep slumber.