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Opinions of Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Columnist: Kyei-Mensah-Osei, Kofi

The President’s Hypocrisy Stinks!

Of Politics of Insults: The President’s Hypocrisy Stinks!

For the third time in less than 3 years under Prof Mills, the President is on record to have condemned “the spread of false information about political figures and the use of intemperate language” and to that I say, bravo! The President is said to have wondered the kind of lessons adults are teaching the younger generation on Wednesday, 27th July, 2011. Prof Mills made his remark when a delegation from the Methodist Church of Ghana led by the Presiding Bishop, Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle Osu. Mr President, these are wise words indeed but where does the buck end!?! These insults on local radio stations and newspapers are so un-Ghanaian and anyone with properly functioning grey-matter must condemn. I have no problem with the President’s call but sorry, I’m not going to join the queue of his praise singers. To me, highlighting the problem doesn’t solve it unless the President acts on his words. This is the third remark of Prof Mills on this same issue in the past 2 and a half years of his Presidency and yet he seems not to be doing anything about it.

“Politics of insults” have become a canker in our body-politic. It is uncalled for, immature and actually puts an indelible stain on our democracy and us as Ghanaians in the eyes of the internal community. Methinks the President was only sermonising to the clergy to look holier-than-thou as he has done in his 2 previous comments on this same issue. Did politics of insults only become evident to the President when the clergy called on him at the castle? It glaringly obvious that the President talks the talk but either he can’t walk the walk or refuses to. I would have wished one of the eminent Reverend Ministers had asked him this simple question: But Mr President, is it good enough to highlight the problem without acting on it? Prof Mills hits all the right notes whenever he meets the clergy but yet sound so powerless to act. If the President can’t counsel the entire NDC as a party, he at least can chastise his own appointees and hangers-on.

If the President wants to be taken seriously on his sermon on politics of insults, why has he poignantly, time and again refused to chastise his own appointees? The President has rather glorified politics of insults by rewarding miscreants in the NDC with ministerial appointments. If the above were not true, then I challenge the President and anybody to tell Ghanaians the criteria for appointing Kobby Acheampong, Kojo Twum-Boafo, Fifi Kwettey, Baba Jamal, Okudjeto Ablakwa, Hannah Bissiw, Ama Benyiwa-Doe etc. Let nobody waste our ears with the competence argument because the President should have been a magician to have been able to measure the competence of someone like Okudjeto Ablakwa who has not been in any employment prior to being made Deputy Minister for information. My point is as simple this: that all these individuals were appointed Ministers or Deputy Ministers based on their vicious vitriolic on NPP and its leadership. What has the President done about Kobby Acheampong’s unwarranted insults on Kumasifoo and Kokoasefoo? What did Prof Mills do to Hannah Bissiw when she called Nana Addo “the old fool”? Even when the NDC was in opposition, did the thick-lipped Rojo Mettle-Nunoo not call President Kuffour “stupid”? What is Rojo’s position in the current administration now? And did Dr Tony Aidoo, the he-goat face contestant not call President Kuffour “dumb”? The least said about Koku Anyidoho, the repugnant Presidential spokesperson’s comment on President Kuffour the better. Were all the above comments complementary to President Kuffour or was the immediate past President not human like Prof Mills? Today, all these merchants of insults have been rewarded with juicy positions in President Mills’ administration and yet he keep advising Ghanaians to put an end to “politics of insults” when the culprits are right before his eyes. Haba, Egya Atta, eyi dze, “dzi wo fi asem” na NPP nso “ndzi won fi asem” ae!!! The President’s hypocrisy on this matter stinks and the earlier he starts cleaning his mess, the better. He was voted into office to act on our problems and not just to highlight them. The buck stops with him; period!!

There is this fallacious claim that the President is a devout Christian and if that is so, why does he finds it so impossible to act on this matter? Prof Mills responds to the accolade; “asomdwee hene”. Perhaps he forgets that Jesus Christ chastised those who fell out of His father’s admonishments; Prof Mills though, seem helpless, even hopeless in face of insults that emanates from his own administration. How else would anybody take him seriously on this matter? It’s true that the President cannot change the characters and behaviour of some of his men and women but he certainly can remove them from their positions to save the country from the ignominy of their senseless utterances. Ghanaians can moan and cry about the Kobby Acheampongs, Hannah Bissiws et al but it will take the President to act and act he must, or else he should forever hold his peace! It goes without saying though that as long as the NDC have begotten people like Kobby Acheampong, Kojo Twum Boafo, Hannah Bissiw, Baba Jamal, General Mosquito etc, the NPP would also produce the John Kumahs, The High Priests and Sir Johns. It only proves that no one group of people has patent right to insults and uncouth language. I’m not in anyway, justifying what anybody from either side of the political divide has said. Rather, I find it intolerably irritating for our chief executive to be harping on this “politics of insults” issue on 3 different occasions and this time to the clergy as if to say he can’t do anything about it. Professor Mills has to act by disciplining his appointees rather than pontificating about a problem which dwells at the castle with him. That’s the only way other leaders would also act. His postulation of helplessness and hopelessness in the face of “politics of insults” is even humiliating and embarrassing.

The three admonitions we’ve had from the President on “politics of insults” is more than enough but would he or would he not act? One admonition on the issue is ok, two is enough but three is a bit cacophonous sir! The President reminds me of my late uncle who was popularly called KD. He was a church deacon and a disciplinarian, even a martinet! The mention of his name alone could cause so much fear in any of us, his nephews and nieces to mistakenly put our little morsel of fufu in our noses instead of our mouths; most especially if one has been a little bit mischievous as children are wont to do. He would give us serious spanking for the most innocuous of misdemeanours. We didn’t like him coming round the house at all. Ironically, he wouldn’t lay a finger on his own children when they went wayward. Today, the discipline in us; his nephews and nieces in contrast to that of my late uncles’ children is so sharp. The picture I am trying to paint here is that, it is not good enough for the President to be counselling Ghanaians to desist from politics of insults when his administration is bursting with truck load of miscreants who peddle insults and lies about their political opponents on the airwaves. The posture of the President on this whole issue is hypocritical and it stinks. He should set the pace by disciplining the culprits in his own government and then the onus would be on the other political leaders to follow suit. Until he does that, the President’s words could only be interpreted as empty rhetoric. Prof Mills should show Ghanaians that he means what he says by making sure that he punishes the culprits in his administration else he should give us a break! “My brothers and sisters”, I rest my case!!

Kofi Kyei-Mensah-Osei