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Opinions Wed, 9 Oct 2013

Trivialities of a Photo Pose vs. Real Issues

by Cletus D Kuunifaa

Is it tough to be a politician, so when one does become one, the individual must assume a thick skin to deal with well positioned punches? I hope President Mahama has developed strong resistance and perhaps strong immunity to deal with such guided shots. That the President posed for pictures in front of the Atlanta CNN logo is generating news beat my imaginations. It also indicates the sinister moves by some individuals to delegitimize the president. Well, their motive is yet to be achieved. What, however, is baseless to state, is how some individuals are able to link the pose of the President to pertinent issues back home. One reporter assumed that "Ghana is in crisis and you [Mahama] are going about posing for pictures. This explains the kind of president we have"

What is wrong with that? Is President Mahama the first to pose for pictures in front of a signage? Are Presidents super humans and do not have taste, feelings and/or are not sensitive beings? Folks should check out President Obama's visit to the Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal. Or what is wrong with President Obama enjoying an ice cream in a pose with compatriots. President Clinton wrapped kente cloth and posed for pictures during his visit to Ghana. What about President George W. Bush’s dance with the drummers? Isn't that inspiring? http://www.funxone.com/amazing/president-george-bush-dances-with-drummers.html

I would like to submit that Presidents are human and must do things that are humane. Was the writer expecting President Mahama to be crying in front of the CNN Signage? Or did he expect the President to grimace or be gleefully smiling?

One thing is clear: Presidential visits are moments for them to step outside the bubble, to step out of their comfort zone and experience real life situations. Can you fathom the security detail and protocol observations of these guys that when they step outside the bubble, don't they have the right to do what others do? We do not have to look at them as if they are superhuman. Prime Minister Tony Blair took the train to Number 10 Downing Street and I bet you he still rides the train to different destinations, today. Isn't that inspiring and sending a message to us?

To say that majority of Ghanaians can't afford the basics of life and our president is chilling out in the US just does not add up. None of these hypotheses are of relevance except the fact that President hit home a message in his interview at the CNN Headquarters at Atlanta. He was as brilliant as ever at this interview, and it is expected detractors will move heaven and earth to take the shine off the President.

During the interview, the President hit home a point by lambasting the western media for showcasing only the negative incidents from Africa. As he said, many believe that Africa is a continent from which nothing good comes from. How do we reconcile these perceptions against the success stories coming out of Africa? It is even saddening when this perception has been reinforced by the kind of images that are shown on the international networks; showing children starving, showing a continent ragged by HIV Aids, showing economies stagnated or contracting, he posited. But, he believes there is something new happening in Africa and that was his pitch for Africa in general and for Ghana specifically. Africa is moving on…Africa is standing on its feet. Africa is in need of opportunities and the media must showcase the positive side of Africa. Indeed, such depictions are not representative of the whole continent, the President reiterated.

I wish to conclude that the President's vision is clear as he opined; push the integration agenda, standing up shoulder to shoulder with other continents in the world, create space for people to live in dignity and prosperity, create opportunities for the youth to realize their full potential.

By Cletus D. Kuunifaa, Long Island University, LIU Post, New York. Can be contacted at dipnibe@yahoo.com or Follow him on twitter @ckuunifaa

Columnist: Kuunifaa, Cletus D