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Opinions Tue, 2 Feb 2016

What Exactly Is The Point Of Government Ministers Speaking ...

.... To Ghanaian

Journalists Guilty Of Mean-Spirited Partisanship?

By Kofi Thompson

It is such a pity that Ghana's Attorney General, Mrs. Marietta Brew

Appiah-Oppong, had to complain to the National Media Commission (NMC),

about comments attributed to her by Joy FM's Kojo Yankson.

The question is: Why did Mrs. Marrietta Brew Appiah-Oppong not simply

walk away from Kojo Yankson without answering him - when he approached

her and questioned her without first identifying himself?

As an aternative course of action, in such a situation, what is wrong

with smiling and simply saying: "No comment, young man."?

There would have been absolutely no need for her to complain to the

NMC if the Attorney General had had the presence of mind to refrain

from responding to Kojo Yankson - and the unfortunate impression in

the minds of many that she was backtracking and seeking to swallow

words she had uttered would have been avoided. Pity.

It is important that cabinet ministers in Ghana don't feel that

somehow they are compelled by society to always answer questions from

journalists. That is daft.

They would be wise to refer such journalists to the spokespersons of

the ministries they head - and focus on their work instead.

They need to work hard doing what they are mandated to do at the

ministries they head, to support a beleaguered President, who, alas,

has his back to the wall - unfairly, in the view of some

independent-minded and patriotic Ghanaians, it ought to be noted.

Above all, in case they forget, the Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppongs

must always remember that the President - a northerner loathed by many

closet tribal-supremacists in Ghana for whom even in 21st century

Africa being ruled by a northerner is an abomination - has to deal

with the egregious mendacity of the worst of the political progeny of

yesterday's bomb-throwers, who, like their political forebears, are

busy sabotaging the nation-building effort at every turn, simply

because they are not in charge of our homeland Ghana.

That President Mahama's real crime, for the most implacable of his

political opponents, is that he is a northerner, is a fact. And, that

it is the elephant in the room, for even many fair-minded and

independent-minded Ghanaians, is also a fact. In a nation full of

fence-sitting moral cowards, perhaps the reluctance of many decent

people in Ghana to openly acknowledge the grain of truth in that

outrage is also understandable.

Ironically, the most cynical of those closet tribal-supremacist

political opponents of the President, always start off by accusing

their victim of being a tribalistic politician, who is guilty of

playing tribal politics. Incredible.

The question is: Do those backward and hypocritical individuals with

antediluvian worldviews not understand that no tribe is superior or

inferior to another in Nkrumah's Ghana - particularly in the 21st

century information age?

Surprising though it might be to them, scientific research has shown

clearly that we share virtually the same DNA, whichever part of the

Republic of Ghana we hail from. Long story short: We are one and the

same people, it turns out.

It also ought to be pointed out that given the controversy generated

by the presence in Ghana of the two ex-Guantanamo Bay U.S. military

prison detainees, not identifying himself to the Attorney General

before speaking to her to solicit her views on the matter, was

unprofessional of Kojo Yankson.

Sadly, unprofessional conduct is rife in the Ghanaian media today.

For the sake of our country, and its people, journalists in Ghana

ought to be more professional in their work. Those of them who want to

become politicians should follow the example of those journalists in

Ghana who have left their jobs with media houses to join political

parties. That is a more honest and honourable approach.

Unsurprisingly, there are some in the Ghanaian media world - who know

about such things - who say that Kojo Yankson saw an opportunity to

ambush the Attorney General, and score political points for the

political party he favours, and took it with alacrity. His conduct was

clearly unethical, if that indeed is true.

Unfortunately, Joy FM, the Ghanaian-owned radio station that provided

a platform for the BBC World Service's late Komla Dumor's talent, is

now enveloped by a miasma of mean-spirited partisanship.

That is why years ago some of us switched to listening to Peace FM

instead - to avoid having to listen to that tiresome and pretentious

crowd with overblown ideas about themselves at Joy FM. Arrogant lot -

yet not a single world-class individual in the Komla Dumor-mould

amongst them.

At this stage of the game, Mrs. Marrietta Brew Appiah-Oppong and her

cabinet colleagues, would be wise to do so too - and give journalists

from Joy FM a wide berth when approached.

What exactly is the point of high-ranking government ministers

speaking to journalists, who mask their mean-spirited partisanship, by

giving the world the false impression that they are earnest about

carrying out the societal watchdog role, which journalists are

supposed to play, in a democracy, when in reality they are actually

engaged in ever-so-subtle propaganda on behalf of self-seeking

politicians - in what after all is an election campaign for what will

be a hotly-contested presidential election that is only a few months

away? Odd, that.

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi