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Opinions of Monday, 7 December 2015

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Let’s take steps to stop insults, rumors and character assassination in politics

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Insults, rumor mongering and character assassination have been part of our political discourse since Ghana attained independence. While some politicians have succeeded in using insults and lies to gain recognition and positions in politics, some aggrieved politicians have resorted to legal suits to seek redress on the matter in courts. Many well meaning people in and outside Ghana who are worried about this situation are engaged in efforts to put a stop to lies, insults and character assignation in politics. Ms. Ezenetor Rawlings, daughter of former president and possible NDC Parliamentary Candidate at Korley Clottey constituency, has kicked against insults in politics saying, that is what she abhors about politics. In support of this position taken by Ms Rawlings, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) has decided to distance itself from politics of insults and rumor-mongering warning that any member of the party found engaging in politics of insults would be sanctioned.
The party Chairman, Professor Edmund Delle who gave the warning said “For us in the CPP, we were taught that our ideology considered people as brothers and sister who may disagree, but that doesn’t mean you should resort to insults to put forward your points adding that you don’t have to insult your brother or sister because you disagree with them.
“The CPP would take steps to show that we are totally different from the rest professor Delle said and bemoaned the current political environment where people freely insulted leaders or others simply because they did not agree with their ideologies. He also bemoaned the sheer disrespect for authority and general indiscipline in the name of freedom of expression, adding that “democracy doesn’t give room for insults. To give backing to the stand taken by the leadership of CPP, the Northern Regional Chapter of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has suggested that media houses especially radio stations should blacklist politicians who use their platforms to foment trouble or engage in hate speech. Mr. Caesar Abagali, Northern Regional Chairman of GJA, who gave the advice in Tamale during a training workshop for the media and youth advocates, said if such politicians were not identified and blacklisted from live radio broadcasts, their utterances could plunge the nation into chaos.

The workshop, organized by Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF), a non-governmental organization, in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), was funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives and was aimed at soliciting media support to intensify education for first time voters in the 2016 elections to maintain peace and unity. The positions taken by the CPP to discourage their members from resorting to insults and rumor mongering, while engaging in politics is timely. Apart from that, the suggestion by the Northern Regional Chapter of the GJA to blacklist politicians, who engage in character assassination and insults on radio and television, is also proper.
The issues of insults, rumor mongering and character assignation in our political discourse constitute a recipe for conflict and war in Ghana. For that matter our religious leaders, chiefs, and government must put their heads together to find solutions to this problem.
In the run up to the next elections in 2016, there is the need for a seminar on insults in politics and how to put a stop to it. All our radio presenters’ political leaders must be involved in the seminar after which a resolution would be reached by all to agree on how to engage in politics on political platforms and radio and television without insults and character assassination.

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