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Opinions of Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Columnist: Amoah, Anthony Kwaku

Managing The Economy With Propaganda…

By Anthony Kwaku Amoah

A friend once said for an individual or party to win a political power, propaganda is needed. For him, heaping of insults and lies on opponents is normal of body politic. But is that true?

Political activities in Ghana are full of insults and lies such that issues of bread and butter are usually relegated to the background. As citizens cry for socio-economic recovery, some politicians and government ministers are just thinking of how to attack opponents.

It is only when one monitors political programs on air and read newspapers that he/she can fully appreciate where our country has reached now politically. The arena has become very muddy and ugly such that most people now see politics as a dirty game.

It is true Ghanaian politics has no respect for one’s age, life experience, sex or social status. A young man with flair in propaganda can be aided to attack a persona of an aged in the name of press conference.

Some citizens have expressed worry over the way and manner everything is being politicized in the country thereby gagging many professionals and civil society groups from expressing their views on some issues of national importance. The other day, I heard President John Mahama apologize to Rev Prof Emmanuel Martey and the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for being tagged NPP by some members of the ruling NDC just because the man of God tried to express his views on the EC’s decision to create new constituencies.

I believe for fear of being tagged and insulted by some politicians, bodies like CHASS, GNAT, NAGRAT, TEWU, POTAG, UTAG and GES have all decided to remain quiet over the feasibility or otherwise of the free Senior High School (SHS) campaign promise of the NPP.

But Martin Luther King, Jnr would tell you our lives begin to end the day we keep silent over things that matter. There is therefore the need for stakeholders and citizens to defy possible name callings and attacks and fight for the development of the country.

Last week, Joy FM did interview Prof Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba on the way forward for Ghana’s education. He actually struggled to straightforwardly interrogate the matter perhaps for fear of being tagged and maligned by some acerbic politicians.

All he could say was that our education system has many challenges, including access and quality and that free education could be one way of widening access. The 2008 general elections witnessed massive propaganda. Then opposition NDC left no stone unturned in making the Kufuor-led NPP administration unpopular to the electorate.

The character of that year’s NPP standard bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was not spared at all. Series of spurious and vile allegations were raised and hyped against the old, astute politician and lawyer. Looking at how energetic the NDC was in the 2008 campaigns, some of us were even surprised to see the NPP bag home such a number of votes as the NDC won with some 40,000 votes. Personalities, like the Fifi Kweteys, Ablakwas, Agyenim Boatengs and Raymond Archers were really on top of the propaganda. We were told that should the NDC win, all ‘criminals’ in the NPP government would be jailed and so all prisons, including the Nsawam Medium Prisons should be in readiness to house the expected large numbers.

The NDC is about to complete the four-year mandate with citizens still waiting to see the so-called criminals in jail. As for this year, I think Nana Addo’s character has been spared a little compared to 2008.

Is it a good thing to do propaganda while in power? It makes no sense to be in power and still allege that members of a previous government were corrupt. Sometimes, it is annoying to hear some ministers say previous government officials are thieves. Have the courts and prisons disappeared?

Propaganda cannot give us jobs and put food on our tables. Press conferences purposed for insults and blame games for Ghana’s woes are unnecessary. Those in government must learn to fix whatever economy they have inherited and also use appropriate channels for addressing issues bordering on corruption and general mismanagement.

School children are still waiting for their laptops as promised by the NDC in 2008 not forgetting the one-time National Health Insurance premium too. President Mahama recently promised to reclaim all illegal monies paid through judgments debts. When is this also going to happen?

Former President J.J Rawlings’ advice for President Mahama to cull his government of some “old evil dwarfs” deserves critical attention. This cannot be treated as propaganda.

Wasting of valuable time and resources to manufacture and churn out vile propaganda against opponents, especially while in power is useless and should be discouraged.

Ghana needs peace, unity and level-headedness to prosecute its development agenda!!!