.... 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
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.