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Opinions of Saturday, 1 October 2016

Columnist: Ghanaian Chronicle

NDC must condemn Solomon Nkansah’s stowaway advice

NDC logo.    File photo. NDC logo. File photo.

Yesterday, The Chronicle carried a story on its front page, which screamed with the headline, “You can Stowaway…NDC Chatterbox advises Takoradi Youth.”

In that sad story, the National Communications Director of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Solomon Nkansah, was reported to have encouraged the youth of Takoradi in the Western Region, interested in embarking on stowaway – an illegal sea trip – to do so.

Mr. Nkansah, the story continued, told the youth at the campaign launch of the NDC parliamentary candidate in the Takoradi constituency, that the party would not arrest or prosecute anybody who attempted to stowaway to other countries in search of greener pastures.

To make matters worse, the Director of Communications informed party supporters that the days where governments barricaded the Takoradi Port to prevent the youth from stowing-away were long gone, especially not at the time the NDC was expanding the port.

The paper believes that the comment, coming from no less a personality than the Chief Linguist of the ruling party, was an irresponsible one.

The Wikipedia defines a Stowaway “as a person who secretly boards a vehicle, such as a ship, an aircraft, a train, cargo truck or bus, in order to travel without paying and without being detected. According to the above definition, the act is criminal, and yet, the NDC top man, who is supposed to be a role model, is advising the youth to do so.

It is just sad that Solomon Nkansah is making such a promise at a time there are troubling rates of illegal migration within the West Africa sub-region, as shown by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), which has since spent thousands of dollars organising seminars to curb the menace.

Again, looking at what migrants go through in the course of these trips, which includes death caused by suffocation, it would be strange to hear any responsible Ghanaian adult advising the young ones to do such a thing.

The Chronicle is, therefore, completely lost as to what could have possibly come over Mr Nkansah to make such a pronouncement, taking into account the upbringing of a typical Ghanaian.

The paper wishes to educate him, if he is unaware, that in the traditional Ghanaian setup, the older generation is expected to pass on the traditions of society to the younger one. And this includes impacting in them, positive values, truth and honesty, to enable them fit properly into society. With this, it is difficult for any individual who listens to and abides by the acceptable standards of society to have any brush with the law.

It is, therefore, the argument of The Chronicle that since the youth of the Ghanaian society accept as the truth any advice given by an elderly person, most of the time, hook, line and sinker, one was not expecting the NDC top man to urge the youth to engage in such an illegality, all because of votes.

With all intents and purposes, it is sad and unfortunate that he could argue that the act had positive social impacts on the lives of individuals who embark on such trips and their families.

It could be the case that the NDC Chief Linguist does not know that stowing away is a crime; as he rightly pointed out that the New Patriotic Party, when in power, did not help the situation. If he knew, he would not have said the NPP arrested and prosecuted stowaways during its tenure, since that sends a clear signal that the elephant family does not condone crime.

Even though the NDC has not condemned his loose talk, The Chronicle report indicated that some responsible individuals who are Members of Parliament in the Takoradi Constituency condemned the comment.

It is against this backdrop that the paper is calling on the ruling NDC to come out and condemn, in no uncertain terms, the pronouncement of its Communications Director.

Alternatively, The Chronicle is advising the leadership of the NDC to take action immediately, because Ghanaians cannot imagine having more of such personalities in the system. Ghana would be heading for doom, if such characters abound!