Feature Article of Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Columnist: Owusu-Gyamfi, Clifford

Our media as a medium of change

The media without doubt is one of the most effective – and has been – means of carrying out change. Few of you may recall to mind that the Protestant reformation began when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five thesis on the entrance gate of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517.
Publishing as well as any medium of transferring information is an effective and less stressful way to carry messages to masses and across lengths. In Ghana, for instance, there is a great patronage in media. People are so curious to know just not mere events of the day but to “know” to understand. But the question is that, do they got what they really need to know?
The problem in Ghana and for that matter Africa as a whole is not what politicians ought to do but the understanding of political power and citizens rights. In most of the time, politicians seize power and they decide for themselves how the power must be used. Few citizens are aware that it is their power and they decide how it must be used. This missing point of knowledge has given the opportunity to politicians to mess up our society and economy. After all they know that politics over rules the constitution.
I will rather use this medium to appeal to all and sundry to discuss about politics not just politicians only. What is politics? What are the limits of political power? Who do politicians owe their allegiance to? What are the limits of political parties? Etc.
All of us who have the capacity to educate through the media must make certain efforts to address some of these issues. Our people don’t understand how politics works. They will rather deify a political party or leader without considering sending the entire nation into captivity of economic and social stress. By the way to be frank with you Ghanaians are being stressed by unfulfilled utopian promises of politicians.
Political powers ends after election. What perpetrate are political ideologies. After a person is sworn in as a president or whatever, he is submitted to follow the constitution which serves as the voice of the people to serve the entire nation and render accountability after. But most of the time it is the contrary. When a political party is elected, they tend to rule by their ego. This is the reason why politics in Africa tends to favor members of the political party in power. Members of the political party can cause trouble all in the name of “my party is in power.”

These are some of the issues that the media must be used to address. But sadly, in almost all political talks, we talk about personalities, attacking parties and arguing on unnecessarily things which cannot change or influence government policies. Perhaps am not relating the issue well but am not altogether against any political discussion. Time must be devoted to educate our people to know their rights in politics that power belongs to them and it’s given to serve them above all any other second interest.

Now I will conclude by referring to my Ghanawebbers. We can keep on disagreeing and throwing words to one and another on this forum, but at the end, we shall all still find ourselves in this messed up societies. Let us use this medium to have serious discussion and education. When politicians see this new wind of change, they’ll get up to task. God bless our mother land Ghana.

Clifford Owusu-Gyamfi, University of Lausanne, Switzerland