Opinions Thu, 7 May 2015

Rising in Defense of Mahama

: the Presidency must be Respected

It is such a distasteful experience as a Ghanaian to listen to recent indecent attacks on President Mahama coming from people who should have known better that we have cultural and moral norms in our Ghanaian society. I wish to join all Ghanaians to express condemnations of such attacks as an affront to the dignity of the Presidency. Of course, people can disagree with the President but in doing so, why can’t people respect the Office of the President? Inasmuch as we demand that any person occupying the Presidency, fulfill their oath and enforce the laws that they are sworn to uphold and that they support and defend the Constitution, we also ought to demonstrate common civility in our criticisms in order to imbue some decency into the Presidency. It behooves us as citizens to express our grievances to our leaders without resorting to vile and disgusting name calling. But if we however throw our intellect and moral ethics aside to abuse the President of the Republic, we are not only expressing absolute hatred out of political vendetta but also our own cowardice hiding behind the tag of celebrity to propagate a weird right-wing partisan agenda.

It is time we all accept that the President is the duly elected representative of our country, and therefore deserves a modicum of respect from those who oppose his leadership. This is our moral obligation to the constitution of our country. The current state of incivility in our society is more of a crisis than all the challenges we face as a nation. Religious leaders, chiefs, the elderly, government appointees and even the President of the country are being taken to the cleaners at the least opportunity by those who should have been more responsible. This rise of rudeness, vulgarity, boorishness in our politics has been unprecedented and shows how low our standards have descended, and the lack of restraint by people who should know better is more terrible.

Recent attacks on the President are unfortunate and disrespectful to our constitutional provisions on the dignity of the individual which shall be inviolable. And quite simply, it is a lack of good manners to be rude in such a show of bad taste to the highest office of the land even when you disagree with leadership and the elderly. I entreat well-meaning Ghanaians to come up to condemn the insults on the President by the “supposed celebrities” without partisan lenses in deference to the cultural values which we share as a nation.

Although some of us did not vote for John Mahama, it is only appropriate that as citizens of this country, we all have the responsibility to hold the office of the President in respect and not to constantly ridicule him no matter what he does. We are entitled to disagree with Prez. Mahama and his government and on occasion detest his leadership but despite those individual feelings, we still need to respect the office of the President as a symbol of our democracy.

As a country we must know that one may not appreciate President Mahama, but lack of respect for the office can lead to behavior that undermines the ability of the President to perform satisfactorily. This is dangerous for the country and for our future successes as one people. This not only undermines the President, it also diminishes the role overall in a way that undermines the Constitution of Ghana and will make it that much harder for future Presidents to succeed in such environments.

Being a celebrity in the global sense comes with it responsibilities and requires a level of mentorship to followers. It is therefore appalling that when we as citizens create the environment for some of them to make a living at our own expense it doesn’t mean we give them a license to be rude, disrespectful, denigrating or compromising social ethics to achieve personal political agenda.

The media as the defacto unelected representative of Ghanaians should come in handy in curbing such rise of incivility and bad manners in the country. A total media blackout on public figures (politicians) and some self-acclaimed celebrities who use vulgar and abusive language to express their disagreements will in a long way bring back the moral values upon which our country was founded and which are almost eroding.

No matter where we stand, we must acknowledge that Prez. Mahama is the elected leader of our country, and even if one did not vote for him, it behooves that we respect the process by which we elected him. He remains the symbol and embodiment of our democracy so far as he remains the President and the Commander- In-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Yes, in a democracy, it's not a crime to make fun of the President or his appointees; we have the right to freedom of speech after all but such rights must as well have limits to rudeness or insolence as demonstrated by some bad examples to the youth.

All I’m saying is that, just as Nkrumah, Liman, Jerry Rawlings, John Kuffour, Prof. Mills, and others came, Presidents come and go, thus the opposition should hold the Presidency as symbol of democracy and hope in their hearts. The President is after all the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and the leader, who represents the nation. If those who disagree with him disrespect him, then the Presidency loses its credibility, its power, its influence, and its standing in the world. Ghana is blessed to have a leader who has made significant achievements in the global community in his capacity as ECOWAS Chair to the admiration of other world leaders. It is therefore demanding that as President Mahama remains levelheaded, conscientious, dedicated and poised to give long term solutions to our national challenges in the midst of all the criticism, rebukes and wild accusations that are his daily companions, the dignity of the seat of government will only be a motivation to succeed.

It is even more surprising that amid the dumsor crisis, Ghanaians are yet to see some of the people who ridicule the President, poke fun at his hard work, denounce his actions, or make derogatory remarks at him put forward to the Ghanaian public any alternative ideas to our country’s challenges.

As Ghanaians we need to appreciate the fact that, we have a President whose primary concern is to find long term solutions to our crises for our common good and not just what must I do to get re-elected which others in his position would have been concerned about.

I urge religious leaders, civil society, academia, corporate Ghana, media and all well-meaning Ghanaians to rise up against indecency and insolence in our society. There is hope for Ghana.


Justice Dansu Norvor- Young Democrats

Columnist: Norvor, Justice Dansu