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Opinions of Thursday, 29 December 2016

Columnist: Austin Brakopowers

Live from the Woods: UK’s Jon Benjamin missed his calling; should have been a musician

Celebrities thrive on controversies. Their power lies in fomenting media battle. They don’t need to say anything sensible to the media. They are convinced the fourth estate of the realm has lost its radar and would hatch on to anything.

Guided by no rules, celebrities will do and say unimaginable things to get publicity. The mission is to dominate discussions in the public space. They are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that.

This explains the recent infantile media brawl between Michael Owusu Addo, known by his stage name Sarkodie and Kwame Ametepe Tsikata also known as M.anifest over superiority.

“Bossy” and “god mc” as both address themselves respectively were the talk of town for something that shouldn't have degenerated into what happened. I am convinced they achieved whatever their objective was for starting the baseless fight.

Fact is celebrity media battle forms part of the shenanigans to remain on the lips of citizens. This attitude abounds in the West.

Diplomats are, however, different breed of people. They are different species.

They don’t need controversy to survive. As representatives of their various countries, they are to negotiate treaties, gather intelligence (espionage activities), protect their citizens in foreign countries and represent interests and policies of their country.

To achieve these, an Ambassador or High Commissioner has to be a strong leader, a good manager, a resilient negotiator and a respected fellow. When he losses the last trait, it would be difficult to go about his duties without challenges. Respect in the field of diplomacy is earned by one’s work and the way he conducts himself.



This means that the diplomat does not need to unnecessarily engage in media battle. He doesn’t need to be pedestrian. His actions have to earn him respect across the board.

But not in the case of United Kingdom (UK)’s High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin. He is an exception to the rules. He is in the words of a friend a "street kid." He doesn’t mind throwing jabs at the President of Ghana.

On December 27, the UK's representative to Ghana took to his twitter handle to take a dead aim at President John Mahama.

“Oh, that nasty air outside all of a sudden. Did someone inaugurate the Harmattan already?” he wrote mockingly.

Don't we all need a bit of humor, you would say. Do we need it?

Although he didn’t mention the President’s name, this is a familiar joke often said to mock the spate at which President Mahama commissioned projects ahead of the December 7 elections.




Jon Benjamin lost it. He went after the leader of a country he has been sent as a representative. This act would not have been countenanced in other countries. Ghanaians are peace loving and forgiving.

We must not allow any foreign national to mock our democracy.

The UK High Commissioner’s act was preceded by previous tweets taking a swipe at some Ghanaians.

On November 12 he jabbed founder of the International God’s Way International Church, Bishop Daniel Obinim when he was arrested for openly flogging two of his adult church members.

He tweeted: “He’s been charged. He’d be much more difficult to handcuff, if he turned into a snake.”

It's gratifying to know that there are sane Ghanaians despite the yawning division created by our politics. Some Ghanaians were not happy with the attitude of the UK High Commissioner.



I am not privy to the attitude being exhibited by our representatives in other countries, but I am sure they are not into what Jon Benjamin is doing in Ghana.
The unrestrained way the UK High Commissioner wades into domestic issues will boomerang to haunt us someday in the future if care is not taken.

I am sure Jon Benjamin missed his calling. He was born a musician but missed his way. He has not the manners of a diplomat. He has not the ethics required of him in the field of diplomacy.

He has the attributes of a celebrity. He needs controversy to survive and would have them.

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Disclaimer:

Views expressed here are the Author's and do not represent the position of Management of Multimedia Group Limited.

The writer, Austin Brakopowers is a journalist with Joy 99.7 FM and could be reached via Brakomen@outlook.com or www.brakopowers.com