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Opinions Wed, 3 Apr 2019

New age, no knife: Wither PR practice in Ghana?

‘Take this as a token of appreciation’ is the equivalent of ‘All protocol observed’ in speech delivery.

Both are public relations disasters.

And that was what happened on 29 March, POTROG’s 75th birthday.

Those in charge of affairs within the government of Ghana are not willing to call upon those who know and they are not willing to learn.

History tells us of a man who was living in his own world in some ramshackle in town.

When once Alexander The Great was coming to town, everybody was preparing and rushing to see him.

A concerned bystander who was puzzled by the destitute man’s cluelessness, chided him and bid him hurry and prepare to meet the greatest warrior of their time, whereupon the man replied, ‘WHO THE EFF IS ALEXANDER?’. And he went back to sleep.

So those who do not need money are the most dangerous people.

Our politicians are afraid of persons who can walk away on principle..…those who will say what needs to be said and not engage in azonto antics!

The whole country, wallowing in its current mediocrity, hates such people; they are considered pariahs.

So from blunders such as filling a champagne glass with water and placing it in front of the POTROG, to turning the Ghana flag upside down during a meeting at the Jubilee House, to cutting a birthday cake with a server whilst the appropriate knife was lying right there, these repeated public relations management blunders are costing us millions of Cedis and dollars in investment opportunities lost.

And the Institute of Public Relations Ghana, which collects about GH¢5000 (USD1,000) from prospective members to grant them their badge of credibility and yet cannot even condemn the Ghana banking scandal, and sanction their members who issued annual reports to investors, state institutions and the general public even when the facts are laid bare in broad daylight, rolls on?

On what basis have they been lobbying for legislation to prevent non-members from practicing PR in Ghana?

Anytime, such public relations management blunders occur, I go back to read the novel The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson, to see what I am missing, what new lessons I can learn.

What keeps registering is that the Emperor has surrounded himself with the wrong persons most probably out of a desire to have absolute control.

So they tell him there is an ambulance in his convoy and he believes them, when in fact THERE IS NO AMBULANCE!

And for the people around him, I hit upon the diagnosis reached by my mentor upon repeated searches.

It is simple – their fortresses are entered between ‘the twin pillars of ignorance and dishonesty’.

Now for our invocation, ‘Sanctify us with the truth; Your word is truth.’

‘My heart is moved by an exalted theme, as I deliver my ode to the king.’

Happy Birthday, Mr President!

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Writers and Shakespeares Ghana Limited exist to be a moral and intellectual guide to the best practice of PR and integrated communications around the world, beginning with Ghana.

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah