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Opinions of Friday, 5 August 2016

Columnist: SAMUEL ALESU-DORDZI

Making sense of Montie 3 petition

I am at a loss as to what those signing the petition urging the President to pardon the three persons convicted in the so-called Montie FM saga are seeking to achieve.

People commit an offence.They are given the opportunity to defend themselves. They admit the guilt of their offence. The Supreme Court sentences them. Afterwards, there is a huge swell of supporters mainly from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) calling for their release.

I have heard some people confer martyrdom on the Montie three. I have heard people calling them heroes. The Nsawam Prisons, where they are being detained, has become a pilgrim site. People and associations of all kinds are visiting and assuring them of their support – whatever that means.

And I still don’t and can’t understand what the swell of support is for. If we had any form of sympathy and support, should we rather not use it in support of the institution that virtually held the seams of the nation together in the most recent election petition?

If we had any sense of support, should we rather not support the institution that has for a long time been the bastion of our democracy?

Think of it this way. At the theoretical level, we hear politicians of all persuasions at various platforms upholding the importance of decent language in our politics.

We hear politicians call for peace. We hear them talk about the rule of law. We hear them talk about strengthening our institutions. But what we forget is that there is always a caveat. And the caveat is that of convenience.

The truth is that politicians have demonstrated amply that they are only able and willing to support a cause when it serves their parochial interest.

It is baffling that as a nation we cannot find a point at which all persons can draw the line and say that “this act is not in consonance with the spirit and aspiration of the path that we have chosen as a nation.” We continue to sacrifice our virtues and principles on the altar of expediency.

More than anything else, one thing is clear. We have not made up our minds as to what we want as a nation. We just keep going on and on and on without any sense of direction.

The preamble of the constitution provides that our very purpose as a nation is to secure for POSTERITY and ourselves the blessings of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity.

It doesn’t end there. We made an affirmation of our commitment to freedom, justice, the rule of law, the protection and preservation of fundamental human rights, unity and stability for our nation.

How can we possibly have stability as a nation if people walk about and say whatever they want to say without being circumspect. Freedom comes at a cost. Freedom is not free. It is indeed very expensive.

The media is a powerful institution. People make reference to information they receive on the radio in their arguments. People take things they hear on the radio as the absolute truth.

There is no limit to the influence of radio. People trust the conduit. Its reach is boundless. It goes without saying that people listen to the radio every day of their life.

It is, therefore, important that the point is made loud and clear- that the signing of the petition with the ultimate aim of getting the president to pardon the three convicted persons is unfortunate.

The golden rule still holds true. We have to do unto others what we want others to do unto us. There is no middle route around this.

I am very sure the ministers and government officials who are busy signing the petition in a different context would be acting all shell shocked and scandalised if someone had used the very same words the Montie trio used and encouraged. They would be calling for help from all sources.

But I should know better - I guess. This is politics. Politics offers a shield like nothing else. Being insured politically is the best form of coverage one can ever receive.

A crime is always something else other than a crime through a political spectacle. Defamatory and criminal threats are nothing else but mere political talk (through the political lens).

We are always busy covering up and making sense of the things that politicians say. I am making sense of the things that politicians say. This must stop at some point.

Our partisanship must be tampered by respect for institutions and structures. It may serve the interest of a group of people to undo what the highest court of the land has done; but would it serve the interest of the nation?