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Opinions of Saturday, 21 May 2011

Columnist: Abugri, George Sydney

When a mob attacks the president..!

By George Sydney Abugri

Thanks to the propaganda-driven and frenzied scramble for Ghana as we approach what promises to be one of the most electrifying of national elections since independence, Professor J.E.A who was once touted by many across the political divide as genial, humble, principled and incorruptible as political leaders on the continent come these days, is now very suddenly the very anti-thesis of all that.

Every one of our previous heads of state since independence has had his fair share of criticism, insults and callous jokes but never before has a president of this republic been the stoic victim of a psychological mob lynching on such a grand scale, Jomo!

Presidents do make most of the news of course but in the case of Mills, nearly every news headline has the President’s name in it: The stone-throwing from all compass points appears to be well coordinated, judging from the frequency and intensity of the propaganda messages in the headlines.

Coming after the name Mills in very recent headlines are the following “ a hypocrite”, “ a divisive person”, “ a dangerous man”, “ a failure”, “ a coward”, “ an opportunist”, “ ...uses a juju {magic} ring”, “...accused of stealing our oil cash”, “ ungrateful”, “ hypocritical”, “ a complaining president”, “ planning to overthrow Ouattara”, “...must resign” etc.

So then, with Mills around who needs the devil to take us to hell without much hassle?
Surely, you see what I see, Jomo: The man claims to be a peaceable, humble and God-fearing person, doesn’t he? Well then, let’s fetch him a really hefty one in the bollocks and see if he will remain calm or scream, curse and loosen his official guard dogs from their leashes to come after us.

Let us hit him where it hurts and see if we will be tolerant and forgiving, claiming as he does, to be a Christian. When God commands us to tread this earth with humility and be forgiving of our neighbour’s trespasses against us, do you reckon He means “go lie down and invite any Kofi Jack in the street who fancies a bit of human wickedness to come along and dance ‘agbadza’ on your balls”?

President Mills in spite of whatever good human qualities he may, have cannot be a saint. The same goes for his aides, advisors, ministers of state and other political appointees. As a matter of fact, knowing the other side of the average human being and especially politicians, I would be most delightfully surprised if after two years in office, every single one of Mills’s men passed a forensic accountability and morality test.

Yet is only when there is evidence of official impropriety and unethical conduct or proven incompetence, should a political administration be shown the exit but even then, the principles of constitutional democracy says it should be done not by political opponents using extra-constitutional and undemocratic means but by voters thought the ballot box.

While the virtual lynching of President Mills continues with steam, the propaganda snipers are taking pot shots at the most vociferous aides around Mills, who stand in the way of the lynch mob.

There is one political propaganda tool in which a clever mixture of truth and lies is made to masquerade as shocking or scandalous information of public interest concerning a political opponent. The truthful part which is usually of little significance or relevance, is included in the information to give it credibility.

This week, a posting on some Internet websites read as follows: “Africa Standard Magazine can report that one of Ghana's young government ministers, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa purchased three months ago a 130,000 dollar house in Texas through. Mr. Okuzdeto Ablakwa's 4 bedroom house, which is located near Forest Creek, with chandelier lights and Electric sliding doors, is located in one of the quiet residential and most sought after areas of Texas.

The company called Real Estate Agents, Bay Property Management in Friendswood, Houston, Texas does exist. The amount quoted as the price of the alleged house falls within the price range of the company’s properties. Without intending to be funny at all, we might add that Mr. Ablakwa also exists.

Ablakwa publicly denied the report and threatened legal action against the Lord knows who: The self-described Managing Editor, Edward Thomas does not exist! That is if you discount an expatriate pastor of the same name I used to know in 19702s or the Anglo-Welsh poet who wrote voluminously across literary genres

Apparently extremely delighted at the young minister’s reaction, the sniper posts a comment on the issue daring the minister to sue him in court and insisting that “the house was paid through Bankers Draft through the Chase Bank branch in Galveston, Texas on 8th of March, 2011.

The cost of the house was 130,000 dollars on the 12th of March, workmen from Gilbane Building Company arrived at the house to carry out interior decoration and construction works at the front entrance and which we have obtained a statement of proof which we will publish with other additional documents.”

The prose as you can see, is too terribly, structurally flawed and ungrammatical to have been written by the exalted Managing Editor of an international magazine. No way. With an international magazine, the full address of the magazine and its website complete with past publications would have been provided.

The editor of an international magazine who would have quoted the number of the bankers draft referred to. It is standard investigative journalism practice.

As the days inch toward 2011, expect other variations in the use of this propaganda tool of mass destruction. Even from the within his own party, the use of information to try and shove Mills out of the way in the struggle for the republic is on in earnest:

Last week businessman and legendary friend of the Rawlingses, Mr. Herbert Mensah raised the hackles all around with the claim that he and his friend Rawlings had a tape recording in which plans to spend US$ 60 million of public money on influencing the outcome of the NDC’s coming presidential primary in favour of President Mills, was discussed.

The president asked his security chiefs to go get Hebert and the darned tape. Herbert, it turned out, was away in Somalia with Rawlings who is the African Union envoy to one of the most classic warning symbols of the failed African state.

Rawlings and Herbert returned this week and the latter walked straight into the hands of government spooks who interrogated him for more than nine hours. Come on, big boy; set the darned tape rolling and let the beans spill out. It turns out Herbert does not have the tape after all or rather he says Rawlings has possession of the tape! The circus is going round and round, old chap.

Amid all that the dreaded monster of Ghanaian domestic life, industry and commerce was back last week with a singular vengeance and it was worse than 1995 when consumers received power supply for 12 hours every other day!

In Tema which houses nearly 80 percent of Ghana’s manufacturing industries, factories shut down for days. Should we tell prospective investors in our economy the truth or lie to them?

Some words may sound rather tough and provoke resentment but hey, they need to be spoken or written if it is absolutely necessary: The technocrats at the energy ministry, the generators and distributors of electricity in Ghana are a bunch of inept, swindling and fraudulent people.

We sweat blood for meager wages and spend it on buying power units for our prepaid meters. They take the money and for a refuse to supply power. Surprisingly, no on ever sues them in court!



Letter to Jomo goes on a break with effect from next week.