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Opinions Thu, 11 Jul 2013

We must not allow incompetent individuals to ruin Ghana

By: Kofi Thompson
I flew into a rage a few days ago, when I noticed that an article of mine - entitled "Judges In Ghana Do Not Pose A Threat To Free Speech" - which I emailed to a Ghanaian newspaper, had been mutilated, and words and sentences that weren't mine, had somehow found their way into the article.
To paraphrase an old friend, to whom I pointed out the mangled article in the said newspaper, the genius who took the literary equivalent of a carving knife to an article that literally had nothing wrong with it, to begin with, had succeeded in turning that simple piece into a typical example, of the sort of pedestrian and mediocre fare, one comes across daily, in so many of our nation's newspapers. Alas, such is life in our homeland Ghana.
In the calming presence of my old friend, I came to the conclusion that sending the article to the said newspaper, was most unwise of me. What did I expect in a nation in which so many pay obeisance to the gods of the cult-of-the-mediocre?
In a sense, it was really not the fault of the poor chap who 'edited' my submitted piece. Is this not a nation in which for most of our educated urban elites, speaking pidgin English is the height of fashion, and regarded as being frightfully cool?
The question is: as a nation, how have we ended up with so many poorly-educated individuals, with university degrees - each one of whom competes with other young university graduates, from other parts of our digital global village: who invariably are far better educated than their Ghanaian counterparts?
Little wonder then, that when one surveys the world of Ghanaian journalism, what stares one in the face, is an unedifying landscape of unethical and unprofessional conduct; a barren patch of earth peopled mostly by mediocre and incompetent individuals, many of who have failed to master even the basic tool of their profession, the English language.
Yet, there are some media-types in this country, whose arrogance has made them opt to be part of that small army of super-ruthless individuals, who daily joust for influence, in their quest for political power.
On a daily basis, they fight brutal verbal battles, on the airwaves of television and FM radio stations - in the never-ending propaganda war between the two major political parties in Ghana.
And that is the unimpressive professional background, of some of those newspaper publishers and editors, who regularly put the peace and stability of Ghana at risk.
No one should celebrate such short-sighted individuals as heroes. Their lack of wisdom and foolhardiness could tip our country over the precipice one day.
The tragedy for our country is that such incompetent individuals can toy with the destiny of tens of millions of ordinary people in Ghana - for many of whom life is a daily struggle to survive in a harsh economic climate.
It is said that when good people refuse to take an interest in the governance of their country, evil triumphs in it.
To save their country from being destroyed by incompetent individuals, Ghana's silent majority of discerning and patriotic citizens, should stop sitting on the fence.
It is time they rose against the vociferous and reckless incompetents, who daily put the stability of our nation at risk - and took action to stop those dangerous and arrogant nation-wreckers from destroying Ghana: in the name of party politics. A word to the wise...

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi