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Opinions Mon, 28 May 2007

Unexclusive - Rawlings to be prosecuted !!!

“Rawlings to be prosecuted in the UK,”
“NDC MPs angry at Rawlings”
“Rawlings attacks Mills”
“Mills to step down”,
"Plot to assassinate Haruna uncovered,
Mills under pressure over Haruna . . .”

God help us; was there ever a more personality disorder or a narcissistic shower than the Ghanaian parochial media?

Whenever a story involves our lovely selves we milk it day after day, heedless of proportion or reality. Recent broadcast headlines have been obsessed about stories such as “a lady in the UK who wants to see Rawlings tried, about how Rawlings and Spio attacked Mills”. Now it appears that newspapers invent “issues” as frail as tissues. The past two weeks headlines have been dominated by the plot to assassinate Haruna Iddrisu, the MP for Tamale Central. Yet two minutes thought reveals that it all matters very little indeed compared with real life, I mean the collapse of the Akosombo Dam and its attendance impact on the Ghanaian economy not forgetting its impact on the ordinary man! The current water crisis is even making life unbearable for the ordinary Ghanaian yet we assume to have been obsessed with baseless headlines manufactured to cause stir and shiver in society.

Indeed, every life is very precious and the issues such as an alleged assassination attempt must be taken very serious, but those issues do not generate jobs, do not invite the investors that our President is trying to woo to Ghana. If Haruna’s assassination plot is real, why have the police not responded immediately to protect Haruna’s life? Why is the journalist not ready to produce the evidence despite public demand if the threat is real? Why have the Police not invited the journalist who is keeping such a vital information regarding this assassination? Anyhow, these issues that have taken the wind out of the storm of critical national issues cannot take the minds of the people away from the energy crisis, the water crisis, the rising price of petroleum products, unjust economic policies that hung around the necks of Ghanaians, killing them slowly!

We are beset by “media water and energy experts” and government ministers and MPs — who should be concentrating on more important matters than which statement came from Rawlings, which one from Spio, who was angry with whom, in whose house a meeting took place to assassinate an MP, which MP is involved in the plot, which government’s tenure recorded the lowest level of water in the Akosombo Dam etc plus sanctimonious columnists, moribund ex-editors, self-proclaimed journalists and breakfast hostesses, former/present girlfriends/concubines of the powers that be and harrumphing armchair energy experts who have never personally been involved in any energy issues apart from lighting candles or anything more mundane than a switching on a bulb. The stories were kept going because it is about media and keeps the airwaves, phone in discussions and the print media. It is easier than trying to understand real life, trying to be frank with the government of the day and openly advise them to listen to wisdom.

The Ghanaian press revel in it: they joyously provoke Rawlings and the NDC, they seem to be doing the PR for the government whose leader jumps on the flight to Senegal, laughing off in Libya; the list continues when issues such as the energy and water crisis are brewing at home. In developed countries like the UK and the US, ministers would have resigned in the face of these two mounting issues- nay not in Ghana! We now have a situation where everyone is so busy trying to be a media political commentator while at the same time on the verge of distancing themselves from ourselves.

Former President Rawlings and Hon Haruna Iddrisu are small stories compared with the massive issues facing the nation, indeed if you have a proof, why don’t you go to the police and give them the evidence you have? These issues therefore could be described as trivial stories and they are bound to occur in political circus where opponents have the responsibilities to tarnish each other, create stories of issues that never exist.

Sensu stricto, media rules and deals are froth compared with what they really do. While we frolic and glorify in media-crazy issues, reality continues to roll on. Ordinary people get tired, many are losing their jobs exponentially, companies are filing for bankruptcy etc etc yet the media diverts attention by creating confusion in the camp of those who harrumph at the government.

The trouble, remember, is that the media is supposed to offer undiluted views on national issues, offer Ghanaians the opportunity to make informed choices and to keep the government on its toes. We seemed to be ruled by a demented group of people, our energy and water crises remain a burden on the nation and a blot on our economy and development. Back to reality, people are getting poorer, our roads have become accident havens and unemployment continues to rise. However, since none of these stories involves gazing into a mirror at our terribly important selves, we get bored, the elite media seemed not to be interested. So hurray for the Haruna story saga. It’s made the media people happy for a long time now because they are as happy as their own backside. Perhaps, that’s why this is called armchair media analysis.

About the writer: The writer (Kodjo Delademtor) is a Water Resources Engineer, a fellow of the Royal Geological Society, UK and the founder of PROACTIVE (Ghana).

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Delademtor, Kodjo