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Opinions of Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

How a sustained propagation of propaganda can make people conceive even heaven as hell

The Coalition of Social Justice’s Tuesday 9th July 2019rescheduled demonstration, dubbed ‘kum yen preko’, apparently in protest of the supposedly hardships and oppression the Akufo-Addo’s government is imposing on Ghanaians, in fact, brings memories of the original ‘kume preko’ demonstration in 1995, led by the human rights exponent, Akufo-Addo, in protest of the then NDC government’s human rights abuses and economic bondage.

As a matter of fact, the Alliance for Change had a genuine cause to stage the 1995 demonstration, dubbed “Kume Preko", which provided a platform for Ghanaians to express their dissatisfaction on despicable human rights violations and unpardonable economic enslavement by the NDC government led by former President Jerry John Rawlings (see:www.modernghana.com/news/172/kume-preko-on-cnn-bbc.html).

In fact, Akufo-Addo’s immense contribution led to the revocation of the dowdy and draconian laws -the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws, used excessively by the NDC administration under President Jerry John Rawlings to intimidate their political opponents.

Mind you, the repealing of the apparent irrational and inhumane laws paved way for the press freedom we are enjoying at present, which has obviously given the likes of the Coalition of Justice the freedom to stage demonstrations, whether justify or not.

They claim the economy is deteriorating under Akufo-Addo’s watch, while blatantly failing to acknowledge the fact that the economic growth in 2016 was 3.4%, and now stands at 8.6% (GSS).

They are extremely unhappy about the current inflation, which stands at around 9%, compared to 15.8% in 2016 (GSS).

They are moaning inexorably about Cedi to Dollar exchange rate, which stands at about GH5.20 to $1 (BOG), while refusing to accept the fact that they took it from GH1.20 to $1 in 2009 (BOG), and left it at around 4.20 in 2016 (BOG).

They say Akufo-Addo is insensitive when it comes to fuel prices, and ignoring the fact that in 2009, the NDC government inherited a gallon of petrol at around GH3.69 (Ghanabusinessnews.com/energypedia.info, 06/01/2009), and left it at around GH18.00 in January 2017 (See: Fuel prices increase by about 11%; cityfmonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 05/01/2017).

They are complaining bitterly that Akufo-Addo is not doing anything about Ghana’s deplorable roads, meanwhile Akufo-Addo is prudently using Ghana’s bauxite in a barter deal worth around $2 billion with the Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction outfit, Sinohydro, to construct roads across the country.

They are claiming that Akufo-Addo is not doing enough to address the unemployment problem in the country, and yet the Akufo-Addo’s government has facilitated more than 181 factories, which are in various stages of completion across the country as part of the One District One Factory programme.

In addition, about one hundred thousand graduates have been given jobs under the pragmatic National Builders Corp (NABCO) scheme and thousands more, including nurses and teachers have been employed in the public service since the NPP government assuming office.

They are insisting that the economy is not reflecting in Ghanaians pockets, but the Akufo-Addo’s government has taken pragmatic steps and restored the Nurses and Teachers Allowances which were regrettably cancelled by the erstwhile Mahama administration.

So the Coalition of Justice want to tell us that such interventions aren’t reflecting in the pockets of the Nurses and Teachers?

They say Ghanaian parents are suffering in abject penury, and yet the Akufo-Addo’s government has judiciously distributed the national resources in the form of Free SHS, which paved way for more than 400,000 children a year, including the over 190,000 children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to enter senior high school.

As expected, they are dismissing the benefits therein the Free SHS, and yet the Akufo-Addo’s government is spending a staggering amount of GH5532.83 over a period of three years on each student. In effect, parents with three children in SHS will be pocketing not less than GH16598.49 over three years.

They are bizarrely weeping uncontrollably for Ghanaian traders, whom, in actual fact, are satisfied with the Akufo-Addo’s government for relieving them of over eighteen nuisance taxes which had hitherto crippled their businesses.

They say the Akufo-Addo’s government has not done anything significant for prudently reducing benchmark values (30% on cars and 50% on goods) to the utter delight of Ghanaian traders.

Since the announcement of the reductions of benchmark values, some beneficiaries have attested to significant discounts.

Take, for example, credible sources have it that following the reductions, the duty on a Toyota Corolla saloon car has been reduced from GH22, 000 to GH15, 000.

Patently, there is a considerable discount of GH7000. Isn’t this money going into a Ghanaian pocket?

We also heard another importer narrating how he previously paid GH14000 duty on a certain saloon car and only paid GH9500 after the announcement.

Dearest reader, is this individual not pocketing GH4500 because of good governance?

Clearly, the lives of Ghanaians are being transformed steadily through many pragmatic interventions, such as tax reductions (including import taxes), favourable economic growth, low inflation, gargantuan savings on free SHS, amongst others.

So, if the ‘kum yen preko’ phraseology isn’t a propagandist gimmick, what is it then?

It is, indeed, quite bizarre that the NDC loyalists are still refusing to accept the fact that discerning Ghanaians are now well aware of their propagandistic gimmicks.

After all, what propagandistic stratagem didn’t the NDC vociferous communicators deploy during the 2016 electioneering campaign?

And yet discerning Ghanaians brushed their gimmicks aside and voted massively for Akufo-Addo and the NPP.

It is an open secret that the clamorous communicators failed to hoodwink unsuspecting electorates into believing the NDC’s non-existent infrastructural achievements via the symbolic green book.

Hitler was absolutely right in observing: "With the help of a skilful and continuous application of propaganda, it is possible to make the people conceive even of heaven as hell (Adolf Hitler)."

Obviously, the ‘kum yen preko’ chorus is an illustrative case of: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” (Adolf Hitler).

In actual fact, propaganda is defined in its most neutral and simple sense as “the persuasive dissemination of particular ideas or material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause (Oxford English Dictionary).

In other words, “propagandism” is the systematic propagation of a doctrine or information reflecting the views and interests of those propagating such information or doctrine.

The meaning of propaganda traces its roots to the “Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide”- a committee of Cardinals founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV to oversee the spread of Catholicism abroad, by any means necessary.

Consequently, the word propaganda came to mean the concerted effort to spread any belief Propagandists are associated with. Thus, propaganda is regarded as "a deliberate attempt to alter or maintain a balance of power that is advantageous to the propagandists."

The experts, however, argue that a message can be classified as propaganda if it “suggests something negative and dishonest”.

The preceding acceptations of propaganda invariably summarise Hitler’s observation on propaganda.

I must, however, admit that I was not least surprised when the outgone NDC’s Vice Chairperson, Madam Anita Desoso, revealed on Asempa FM on Monday 15th October 2018 that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) bizarrely danced to the tunes of the opposition by changing the nomenclature of their Propaganda Secretary to Communication Officer.

Astonishingly, despite the host of the programme’s insistence that the Communication Officer is much more refined than Propaganda Secretary, Anita Desoso nonetheless insisted that it was a wrong move for the party to change its identity on the dictates of the opposition.

On reflection though, I would like to agree with the former NDC’s Vice Chairperson. Propaganda is indeed an inherent characteristic of NDC, and therefore there was no need to try to deceive Ghanaians by pretending to discard such distinct identity.

Interestingly, contending schools of thought have been insisting that NDC was founded on communist ideals, thus the party thrives on vile propaganda.

More so some reflective observers have been arguing vehemently that the NDC’s relentless garble is in line with Hitler’s observation on propaganda.

Clearly, the NDC faithful have a penchant for resorting to systematic propagation of propaganda.

In sum, NDC was born out of ‘propagandism’ and will ever harbour a propagandist mentality.

K. Badu, UK.

k.badu2011@gmail.com