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Opinions of Monday, 23 July 2018

Columnist: Arthur Kennedy

Personal vilification in politics

Yesterday, once again, out of the blue, an article appeared, attacking the President, purportedly authored by me. This time, it was for the assault by a police officer at the bank. I don't know why that would be the President's fault. But there it was. Predictably, the attack brigade went to work, vilifying me and accusing me of hatred for the President.

This was not the first time my name has been invoked by a faceless, well co-ordinated cabal that appears determined to manufacture undeserved hatred for me in our public space.

Once, a confidential memo I sent to only 4 people advising the then candidate was repackaged as an attack on him and leaked to the press. Only 4 people got copies of the memo and they all denied knowledge of the leakage.

Another time, when I condemned the release of his medical records as unfair, Ghanaweb managed to find a headline that portrayed me as supporting the leakage of those records!

Now, don't get me wrong. I have disagreed with some of the President's actions as well as the NPP's actions in the past and said so. And I will do so again, just as I will defend him and the party when they are right. I do not mind being quoted accurately on my views and being challenged. But the manufacturing of false differences to justify attacks in which even family and friends feel obligated to join in to demonstrate their loyalty and preserve their political viability is wrong. It is undemocratic and against the principles of natural justice.

A while ago, I woke up to reports that I had vilified an anchor of Multi-media (JoyFM) with whom I had no personal dealings and no reason to attack. The very respected Multimedia staff spent hours spreading the false accusation against its own anchor without bothering to verify the accuracy of the report before it was brought to my attention for denial. By then, I had been vilified for hours. I don't know whether they apologized to the anchor but they never apologized to me.

The media freedom we enjoy and our vigorous social media are blessings but we must be wary of the dark mercenaries who will destroy the innocent and protect the guilty for political or pecuniary reasons. They are dangerous to our nation and our democracy.

I thank the few brave souls who, at some risk to themselves, have always defended me from false and unfair attacks. I appreciate that more than you would ever know.

God bless you.

Arthur K