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Opinions Thu, 31 Aug 2017

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The use of intemperate language: William Quaitoo serves as a 'scape goat'

Deputy Agric Minister, Hon. William Quaitoo has finally succumbed to public pressure by tendering in his resignation letter after his repugnant comments about Northerners. That is laudable and a soothing news to neutralize the effect of his unguarded statement.

One thing that gives me endless migraines is our penchant to use intemperate language when we are in a fix or we are pushed to the wall.

Growing up,I remember adults who disciplined children for using unacceptable language in our daily discourse and our parents never complained or picked a fight with such people. What do we see today? Insults are hurled at people who believe someone has crossed the line and needed to be checked. Teachers are physically and verbally abused by parents for playing their roles in trying to reform children who use foul language.

Our political leaders are the worst culprits of this canker that is bedeviling our dear nation. You are not spared by politicians who use rude and crude form of communication from dawn to dusk on radio and during political rallies forgetting children also listen to them. I sometimes ask whether it is the moderators of political shows who lose control of the show as a result of being caught up in the excitement or it is the panalists who just throw caution to the wind. I also get worried when their ignorant supporters blindly praise them for 'facing their opponents squarely'.

Another body that has joined this unwholesome act is our religious leaders who are to know better and admonish people are now topping the chart. They insult each other through the messages they preach at the expense of the salvation of their followers. It is sometimes disheartening to see church members throw their weight behind their spiritual leaders to run down their so-called competitors who also respond in equal measure.

My worry has to do with the children who look up to the politicians and religious leaders for inspiration. They may copy blindly what they see and hear and before we know,our future leaders will have a more venomous tongue and these current leaders will not be there to bear the brunt. It will be directed at the innocent ones available. I will plead with all leaders to refine their language wherever they are. They must know that, should any child go wayward as a result of their unguarded statements, they will account to God for leading a soul astray.

I hope the minority's pressure to have Hon. William Quaitoo fired or he resigns honourably was not out of malice. I pray they would not shirk their responsibilities when one of their own plies same route. This is because politicians always find it expedient to overly criticize sitting governments when they are in opposition just to score political points. I don't want to believe that the attitude of the minority on this issue is merely a cosmetic exercise.

As a people, we should understand the repercussions of ethnocentric comments. It does not bode well for our growth since it could set the country ablaze. Who suffers if we should lose the peace we are enjoying? Obviously, Ghanaians are the ones to perish. The peace being enjoyed should not be taken for granted just because a selected few want to satisfy their whims and caprices.

My respect for Hon. William Quaitoo has shot up a notch higher for taking such a bold decision. In our part of the world, the culture of resignation is non-existent even when it is crystal clear that we have failed. He has demonstrated or showed that there are still men of integrity in this country. It is very painful he had to learn his lessons the hard way. I believe he will never replicate his behaviour anywhere he finds himself.

Ghana is the only country we have. We can't afford to lose it. Let all guard it jealously by being thoughtful of our utterances and being cautious in our dealings with our fellow Ghanaians. Ethnocentrism should be treated like cancer. It is has the tendency to destroy our lives. No tribe is superior over any other tribe. We are all Ghanaians and must be treated with respect.

Columnist: Simon Aikins

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