The politics of villification

Opinion Icon News[2] Opinion

Sun, 20 Sep 2015 Source: Kennedy, Arthur Kobina

We are engaged wholesale in the politics of vilification. Sometimes, it is practiced to comic levels.

Priests who had, out of their calling to promote peace, tried to heal the fissures in the NPP were called NPP priests and heartlessly vilified by NDC operatives.

In the wake of the Supreme Court case, there were vicious and wicked rumours that the judgment had been bought and that the Asantehene had been at the centre of it all—together with former President Kufuor.

Pollster and columnist Ben Ephson has been repeatedly accused of being on the NDC payroll for his criticisms of the NPP.

Former President Kufuor and his Chief of staff Kwadwo Mpiani have been accused of murder by members of their own party.

Dr. Afari Gyan was repeatedly accused of being in the payroll of the governing party by the NDC and the NPP.

Why is this practice comical?

Despite all the vilification of the priests by NDC members for helping heal the rifts in the NPP, some of the same priests worked very hard to heal rifts in the NDC, involving Presidents Rawlings, Mills and others. I suppose when the priests were reconciling factions in the NDC, they were NDC members?

Despite all the wicked rumours circulated about the Asantehene, when he called for a new Voters Register, the NPP flag-bearer started repeating his call at every stop. I guess despite dancing “Yentie obiara” with Mahama and arranging the sale of the Election petition verdict, the Asantehene has returned to the fold of the NPP?

Last week, Ben Ephson opined that Nana Akufo Addo is a victim of circumstances and all of a sudden, the very people who used to swear that he was on the NDC payroll and the devil’s best friend were happily quoting him and extolling his virtues. I suppose he is now on the NPP payroll? How much are we paying him?

Despite supposedly being a murderer, when Kufuor assembled the priests to heal the rifts in the NPP, his accusers were there, to profit from that initiative even while continuing to vilify him.

A few days ago, my status in the rank of those to be vilified was elevated when I was declared an “ enemy combatant” by an NPP member to cheers by the very people who are now condemning violence against NPP members by the police. The writer belittled my contributions to NUGS and called me a pretender, despite my 2 separate UN attestations as a refugee, my sacrifices and the fact that the NUGS itself chose to honour me for outstanding leadership.

Of course, despite our pretentions, we are, for the most part, a wicked, vindictive people with short memories and given to gratuitous vilification.

We permitted Danquah to die on a cold prison floor, away from his family and have since happily tried to justify our dereliction by calling him a traitor!

We permitted both Nkrumah and Busia to die in lonely exile, far from their loved ones.

We sacked Dr. Mustapha and Professor Frimpong Boateng dishonourably after they had served our country faithfully and passionately.

We permitted esteemed physicians, Mustapha and Hiadzi to live in penury after they had given their all to our country—leading to what Doctors call derisively and painfully, the “Mustapha-Hiadzi syndrome”.

There is more but you get the picture.

While I regret the actions of the young men and women who vilify people to curry favour with the powerful and the ambitious, my beef is with the elders who fund, sponsor and encourage the villifiers.

Were there no NDC elders who could have silenced the babies with sharp teeth who were attacking the priests involved in the NPP reconciliation?

Were there no NPP elders who could have silenced those spreading the wicked and false rumours about the Asantehene’s involvement in the Supreme Court case?

Were there no NPP and Journalism gurus who could have come to the defense of Ben Ephson?

The deliberate destruction of our leaders by rumours—what Nkrumah called “the politics of they say- they say, wose-wose, ankyei-ankyei, akee-akee” will leave us with no elders who have credibility in times of crisis. The work done to keep our nation together by the likes of the Asantehene and religious leaders is invaluable. When we attack and vilify them, we undermine the very spirit of our nation.

We must recognize and honour those who serve this nation, in politics, in medicine, in teaching, in sports and in any other walks of live—even when they have passed their prime and their usefulness.

And our elders must stop sending babies with sharp teeth out there to insult and vilify their grandfathers. By the law of karma, those who sponsor and encourage the babies with sharp teeth will someday be the victims of the same people.

A nation that does not recognize its heroes will find that it will lack volunteers when it needs people to step forward.

Let us move forward--- together, in love, in justice and in kindness

Arthur Kobina Kennedy.

Columnist: Kennedy, Arthur Kobina