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Opinions of Thursday, 30 April 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Take Mahama's "Soli" And Savage His Government!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
April 27, 2015

The Nkrumah-led government of the so-called Convention People's Party (CPP) used to do it quite differently. The Show Boy would routinely and arbitrarily issue edicts summarily closing down the offices of privately-owned newspapers whose editors and publishers refused to toe the party line. But, of course, that was also a different era and time. There were no Internet media websites to readily skirt around the quirky dictates of the dictator; and so the application of the proverbial stick, as opposed to the carrot, came in handy. Legend has it that by 1964, there were no privately-owned newspapers in Ghana. That was how intellectually and culturally diverse and rich the proverbial African Show Boy had rendered our beloved country. It was apocalyptically worse off than when the British colonialists were in charge.

And this, of course, is the kind of Constitutional Democracy that Ms. Samia Yaba Nkrumah and her minions and lackeys want to return Ghana to - you know, those good old days!

Today, the media landscape has undergone a seismic or sea change, if I may put it mildly. The media is effectively a transnational and globalized community that reaches beyond the authority and influence of any one country or a particular government. And this is also clearly why the Nkrumah-leaning, and perhaps also Rawlings-genuflecting, Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) has decided to change methods with the times, which is why Flagstaff House has opted for the use of the metaphorical carrot and, I mean, lots and lots of it. Which is also why Mr. Julius Debrah, the newly appointed presidential Chief-of-Staff, decided to celebrate his latest notch-up appointment by inviting some 200 journalists - the actual figure could be a little higher - to the Flagstaff House for a public-relations confab after which, we are told, Santa Claus Debrah passed around envelopes allegedly stuffed with at least GHC 1,000 (One-Thousand Cedis) apiece, as tokens of appreciation for all the superb publicity Little Dramani's government has been relishing, such as calling a goat an elephant, in spite of the economically regressive pall of Dumsor which threatens to return our country fully to the Hurricane-Lamp Days.

My profuse apologies to Ms. Anita D'Souza, the Luso-Anlo Keta bombshell. Of course, "pretty" is all relative and squarely in the eyes of the proverbial beholder. I behold, therefore Anita is pretty! (See "OccupyGhana Condemns Flagstaff House GHC 1,000 'Soli' Daily Guide / 4/27/15). That today marks the 43rd anniversary of the glorious transitioning of Ghana's first postcolonial dictator, may be of some relevance here, except that I don't know exactly what sort of relevance it is or it may imply. What I am convinced of in no uncertain terms, though, is the dire need for Ghanaians to stop this abjectly ridiculous distortion of our culture until matters get way out of hand.

I am, here, far less interested in the brazen attempt by homeby Santa Claus Debrah, as well as his boss, Little "Gonja" Dramani, to obscenely compromise the professional ethics of our journalists and other media operatives, both those in the pay of the government as well as those in the private sector, because three decades of active practice solidly convinces me that the "solification" business will not wash. It will not wash because like a lavish and sumptuous dinner devoured at a by-invitation-only party, it takes only a few antacid-induced stomach rumbles in the morning, and then one sustained long push, to get the entire damn thing out of one's system.

In other words, a wise man would have donated the estimated half-million-cedi pelf-largesse to the National Media Fund for the promotion of good journalism, or even to the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) for professional development activities, including the GJA's annual awards, of course. I quite well know, as well as the dear reader, that Little Dramani and his proxy Santa Claus have stolen more than enough from our national coffers to be able to embark on this kind of splurging spree. I also know that Ghanaian democracy has a very long way to go before it reaches Awudome, that is, the level of accountability whereby corrupt government operatives would think not once or even twice before presuming to misuse the public dole in furtherance of their blighted political and personal ambitions, but three-times-ten-times! My eternal apologies to Jesus Christ of Bethlehem and Nazareth.

I am not even going to talk about accountability here, because the very institution that ought to be calling for Mr. Debrah to account for his scandalous attempt to compromise the real representatives of the Ghanaian people, our media operatives, is even more corrupt than the Presidency over which it has constitutional oversight obligations. And that institution, of course, is Ghana's Parliament. And to be certain, Ghana's Fourth-Republican Constitution was rendered stillborn, the very moment that its clinically stolid framers and shameless plagiarists decided to mischievously hobble it by making it feasible for just about any sitting president to pick at least half of his/her cabinet appointees from that otherwise august House of the People.

And so where do we go from here to there? My dear reader, your guess is as good as mine!