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He is not fooling me

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Fri, 11 Sep 2015 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

President Mahama says that he wants to see and hear more serious discussions of national issues. Instead, what he claims to be hearing inordinately more of are politically charged propaganda programs on the nation’s airwaves (See “Address Partisanship in Radio Talk Shows – Mahama” Graphic.com.gh / Ghanaweb.com 9/1/15).

I would be damned if I failed to point out that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is the foremost sponsor of political propaganda in the country. The entire so-called Communications Team of the NDC is composed of nauseatingly overpaid demagogues who have little understanding and expertise on government policies. Anytime the Amalibas and the Sam Georges open their mouths, it is invariably to badmouth their political opponents.

And so what Mr. Mahama, perhaps, needs to do is to establish a forum or party institute for the education and enlightenment of these intellectual and political basket cases.

By the way, whatever happened to Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia’s trip to China that was supposed to bring in a battalion of agitprop mavens from the Beijing Ideological Institute to train members of the NDC Youth Wing in the politics of hard knocks?

I suppose the entire agenda went into the garbage can when the Chinese government decided not to let Finance Minister Seth Tekper and the rest of the executive hoodlum pack scam them of billions of dollars in development assistance. The president was reported to have made the observations attributed to him while the executive members of an organization called the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) paid a courtesy call on him at the Flagstaff House.

This is the very first time that I am learning about such establishment, of which Mr. Mahama is reported to be an active member. Well, if he wants to have competent specialists to represent his party and the government on critical national issues, then the first most obvious step would be for the President to disband the so-called NDC Communications Team. But I am also having a hard time trying to imagine the sort of team players with whom the President may want to replace the current membership of the NDC Communications Team, since nearly every one of the key operatives of the ruling party, including his cabinet appointees, are pathologically partisan through and through.

It is also not enough for Mr. Mahama to merely complain about the “over-politicization” of national issues without offering any specific and/or concrete examples. But there is also a humorous aspect to his complaint here as well. In other words, the President is perfectly fine with the “politicization” of national issues as long as such politicization does not transcend the level of what he is comfortable with.

Which, of course, means any edge or angle to public discourse that does not favor his government and its policies. I am a bit suspicious, however, when politicians start talking about “Development Journalism,” almost as if we were back to the Dark Ages of the late 1950s and early 60s when most of the media was owned and controlled by the state, and every media operative was expected to blindly toe the official line in the name of national development.

Then also, what is so “neutral” or “apolitical” about the raising of light poles in the lead-up to every parliamentary by-election, when such rural electrification “program” could have been done off-seasonally or in a non-election period? Where I was born and raised in Ghana, which is pretty much the entire country, this sort of self-serving political expediency is called brazen hypocrisy. And Mr. Mahama darn well knows that he is the most hypocritical among the leaders of Ghana’s Fourth Republic. And let no one be fooled, “professionalism” in the media is not going to improve as long as the President mischievously pack his cabinet and the airwaves with toadies who would say anything to maintain their daily bread and allowances, rather than being guided by civilized humanistic principles. And so he may want to take the lead by talking and promising less than being up and doing.

Somebody also needs to remind Mr. Mahama that the information impoverishment, or privation, of many a radio talk-show host that he bitterly complained about, is largely due to the fact that the country lacks any functionally progressive Freedom of Information Act and transparency in government. And so as a communications expert by training, Mr. Mahama may want to look into this critical aspect of our national political culture.

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame