By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
In an article titled “AAD: Kabral Blay-Amihere Must Immediately Resign” (Ghanaweb.com 2/10/10), a Mr. Justice Kutsienyo, who parenthetically claims to be the spokesperson for a group called Alliance for the Advancement of Democracy (AAD), is calling for the immediate resignation of firebrand journalist and chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC) on the grounds that Mr. Kabral Blay-Amihere accompanied former President John Agyekum-Kufuor on a recent trip to la Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia.
Since his spokesperson’s position with the AAD is encased in parenthesis, it is not quite clear whether Mr. Kutsienyo is speaking for himself or in his capacity as spokesperson for the aforesaid organization. What is clear, however, is that the critic appears to be confusing his so-called Alliance for the Advancement of Democracy with the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), hence his tenuous conclusion to the effect that by merely accompanying the former president on his two-nation African tour, the NMC chairman is, perforce, guilty by association. And here, of course, we hasten to add for the benefit of context that, indeed, not only do Messrs. Agyekum-Kufuor and Blay-Amihere belong to the now-opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) but, in fact, the latter also served as an ambassador under Mr. Kufuor’s administration. In the vigilante opinion of Mr. Kutsienyo, therefore, Mr. Blay-Amihere is guilty of a conflict of interest.
Well, the difficulty that the critic has in sustaining such a sophomoric argument inheres, first and foremost, in the fact that Mr. Agyekum-Kufuor did not undertake his trip in his former capacity as substantive Ghanaian president. Neither did the former premier go on a campaign trip to drum up partisan support or sponsorship for the New Patriotic Party in the two countries that he visited with Mr. Blay-Amihere, presumably, in the company of several other Ghanaian citizens.
It is also interesting that the AAD spokesperson does not inform his readers about the purpose of Mr. Kufuor’s trip, except to facilely and brazenly suggest that Mr. Blay-Amihere ought not to have been on the said trip because, somehow, “his historical affiliation to [sic] the former President [is] a bad testimony of his stature and responsibilities.”
Here again, the AAD spokesperson does not explain precisely what he means by both Mr. Blay-Amihere’s “stature” and “responsibilities.” To be certain, the closest that the critical reader comes to any explication of the basis of the critic’s accusation is to be told merely that “Given that the National Media Commission is enjoined by Article 167 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to insulate itself from government control, exhibit neutrality and maintain a high sense of journalistic standards; [sic] we [the AAD or NDC?] are convinced that his continuous stay in office will grossly undermine such noble virtues that must be jealously guarded by people whose affiliation and deeds shall not be compromised, doubted and challenged by all who believe that the principles of fair access, equal access, fair coverage and unbiased reportage must apply in a non-discriminatory manner in the discharge of the work of the media and its bodies so as to entrench Ghana’s young democracy.”
Indeed, the critic would have done his readers much better service to have pointed out that Ghana’s democracy is curiously “young” precisely because of the Rawlings dictatorship that has now deviously morphed into some tentative phenomenon called the National Democratic Congress. But even more significantly, Mr. Kutsienyo would have acquitted himself more creditably if he had also highlighted precisely what the “constitution-loving” Alliance for the Advancement of Democracy did when recently President John Evans Atta-Mills cavalierly breached Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution and parliamentary protocol by unilaterally appointing a 9-member Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) at the humongous cost of $ 3 million to see whether the length of his tenure could be “constitutionally” extended. In brief, our convicted contention here is that the AAD is about anything, really, but the “advancement” of Ghanaian democracy.
Also, Mr. Kutseienyo, in the lengthy quote above, does not tell his readers exactly how Mr. Blay-Amihere’s “continuous stay in office will grossly undermine” the purportedly noble virtues of the National Media Commission. What the AAD spokesperson luridly does, however, is to impudently attempt to hoodwink his audience by implicitly pretending as if the NMC has been accorded proprietary mandate over the Ghanaian media, thus this unpardonably silly assertion to the effect that, somehow, the NMC is directly charged with the editorial mandate of guaranteeing “fair access, equal access, fair coverage and unbiased reportage,” rather than saliently and forthrightly observing that, indeed, the NMC is purely a media monitoring and advisory institution, with just about the same statutory mandate as the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
Intriguingly, we learn from one of the discussants in the Ghanaweb.com chat-room that Mr. Kufuor had been invited to la Côte d’Ivoire to keynote a lecture presentation themed “Elections in Africa: The Ghanaian Experience.” If so, then who best to have had in his entourage to promote Ghana’s national interest and image abroad but the chairman of, perhaps, the most expert sociopolitical monitoring institution in the country? Or is it simply that Mr. Kutsienyo had anticipated that NDC deputy Information minister Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwah would also be invited on the trip.
In sum, rather than asking for his immediate resignation, Mr. Kutsienyo would do his countrymen and women better service by promptly apologizing to Mr. Kabral Blay-Amihere, on behalf of both the AAD and himself, and then demanding that his Alliance for the Advancement of Democracy’s rank-and-file membership institute a “Model-Citizenship Award” for the flagrantly affronted chairman of the National Media Commission.
At any rate, it looks clearly as if the so-called Alliance for the Advancement of Democracy is direly in search of a meaningful and productive agenda, thus its quixotic goose-chase after Mr. Blay-Amihere who, by the way, has no peremptory powers over the activities of the NMC. And so may we humbly suggest that the AAD focus its sedulous attention on guaranteeing the ultimate and permanent dissolution of the sanguinary so-called National Democratic Congress, so as to afford Ghanaians a well-deserved modicum of peace and quietude.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI), the pro-democracy think tank, and author of 21 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (Atumpan Publications/Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. ###
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