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Opinions of Monday, 5 May 2008

Columnist: Aidoo, Ato

Misrepresenting Joe's action

It is against a backdrop of misrepresentations, pathological lies, and mischief that I present this rebuttal to Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa's anger-filled piece titled "Ghana 's Night of Shame" which appeared on on April 28th.2008

Normally, Joe Baidoo-Ansah, Ghana's Minister of Trade, would not respond to this ill-crafted pack of lies, but as it hinges on his persona, and the fact that the point of reference was a UN Trade Conference in Accra , it is imperative that the records are put in their right perspectives.

These are the facts:

On April 17th, 2008, the Accra Conference Center area was declared a United Nations (UN) zone due to the UNCTAD XII conference being held there.

For a better appreciation of the truth, when an area is declared a UN zone it means accreditations are needed for passage and operation due to security, and other reasons.

To operate within a UN zone, a clearance is sought and approved when it satisfies the essential parameters for which it is being applied for.

It is in accordance with this requirement that the Metro TV applied for clearance, and approved to hold a live program within the Accra Conference Center area, guided by the fact that the discussion was to educate the public on UNCTAD, as well as create public awareness on the challenges facing trade and investment in developing and developed countries.

Mr. James Aggrey Orleans, coordinator for UNCTAD XII in Accra , and a Deputy spokesman of the UN, were members of the panel, so was Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, on whose behalf Metro TV applied for and received accreditation to enable him join the panel.

Metro TV had indicated in its application that Dr.Nii Moi Thompson was a delegate to the UNCTAD XII conference which indeed was not true.

This means the basis for Dr. Nii Moi Thompson?s accreditation was immersed in falsehood. Dr. Nii Moi Thompson was not a delegate to the UNCTAD conference, and could not have been part of the Metro TV discussion, the basis for which his accreditation was approved.

To Okudzeto Ablakwa and his sponsors, what needs to be recognized is that, the UN as an inter-governmental organization does not allow the perpetuation of inflammatory political ideas that tend to embarrass governments in its declared Zones.

The Metro TV panel as it included Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, and the political twist given to the discussion contravened UN?s avowed prescription of not creating a podium for politics of dissent. This was clearly stated during the approval process, for which Metro TV gave the undertaking to fulfill its part of the promise.

For these reasons, Dr Nii Moi Thompson?s use of a platform in a UN Zone to lambaste a government was not only a betrayal of trust by Metro TV, but an aberration carefully designed by a respected economist who is also a spokesperson for the opposition Convention People?s Party (CPP).

The truth is that, Joe Baidoo-Ansah, Ghana ?s Minister of Trade, and current UNCTAD President, did not verbally attack Dr. Nii Moi Thompson. He drew Metro TV?s attention to the political direction of its program being held in a UN Zone, and the violation thereof.

To Ablakwa, if in his estimation ?water is hot it should be described as such, if it?s cold he should apply the same principle, but he cannot make it warm, when indeed it is cold? as suggested in his article, hence his infantile vituperations.

Any reasonable watcher of the Ghanaian political scene should not give credence to Okudzeto Ablakwa?s derivative as vividly portrayed in his assertion, a false deduction, when he wrote - ?For a second, I thought the unruly Trade Minister and UNCTAD President was going to pounce on the comparatively diminutive Dr. Nii Moi Thompson and send him to his grave untimely? ? ?kids stuff? indeed.

In Okudzeto Ablakwa?s twist to what actually took place at the Accra Conference Center, his line of thought and spin appears schizophrenic, demonstrating manifestations of a young man?s dual personality, a young man who still relishes in a stubborn criminal past, con life, and clandestine cyber activities on the University of Ghana campus when he was the President of National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). Who should believe such a surreptitious character?

A young man who does not want to find a meaningful job, but prides himself with maligning government officials, the lazy and easy way of life in the name of free speech and freedom of the press, of a self-appointed leading member of political jokers conveniently labeled ?Committee for Joint Action? (CJA).

Ablakwa?s misrepresentation of Joe Baidoo-Ansah?s reminder to a Metro TV crew, a reminder presented in a humane and respectful manner, can only be altered by people who find the truth too expensive to live with like Okudzeto Ablakwa. His piece showed asymmetric judgment, as well as a political color which is not a crime, but for the falsehood he presented to the world via the internet.

The UN has prepared a comprehensive report on this matter, as its representatives at the Accra Conference witnessed the incident.

On its part, Metro TV has render its apology to the UN for Dr. Nii Moi Thompson?s diversion, and management of the channel decided not to re-broadcast the program, not because it was prompted by any Minister of the present government as wrongly implied by Okudzeto Ablakwa. It was because a respected Television channel had to act professionally to correct a mistake.

The fact is Dr. Nii Moi Thompson's harsh criticism of government during the live Metro TV program was embarrassing, not because he has no right to do so, but he used a wrong platform - a UN zone which does not provide the basis for repeated act of mischief spiced with a bitter political flavor.

That was the crux of the matter.

But not a surprise, the story has been presented in the so-called "Ghana's Night of Shame" based on falsehood, a conscious but a standard deviation from what actually happened, coated with lies and well coordinated by Ablakwa and his political cronies.

"Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves"- Mathew 7:15.

-Ato Aidoo, formerly of the features desk, Daily Graphic, Accra, Ghana.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.