Opinions of Sat, 19 Aug 201711

Why NDC’s 'ideological' institute could destabilise Ghana’s democratic ambience

The Ashanti Regional NPP Chairman, Benard Antwi Boasiako, popularly known as Chairman Wontumi, put it aptly when he opined that the NDC’s proposed school of ideology will only produce well-drilled propagandists.

In fact, I share Chairman Wontumi’s sentiments on the NDC’s proposed “ideological” school. As a matter of fact, Ghana cannot afford anymore trained propagandists. Indeed, such a communist venture will only upset the democratic ambience we are enjoying at the moment.

It is true that the NDC Party was founded on communist ideals. Thus the party thrives on vile propaganda.

It is, however, worthy of mention that the founders of the NDC Party, who gleefully staged a series of coup d’états, rather chose communist approach to ensuring sanity to the system, hence exterminating innocent people without any provocation whatsoever.

Apparently, some schools of thought contend that coup makers take their inspirations from communism.

As a matter of fact, Ghana’s revolution days under the founders of the NDC Party could be likened to: “in the China of “the Great Helmsman,” Kim Il Sung’s Korea, Vietnam under “Uncle Ho” and Cuba under Castro, Ethiopia under Mengistu, Angola under Neto, and Afghanistan under Najibullah”.

Some experts observe that Communist regimes are responsible for a greater number of humiliations and inexplicable murders than any other political ideal or movement, including Nazism (Stephane Courtois 1999).

Take, for example, in their fiendish attempt to get rid of the alleged sleazes and corruptions back then, the NDC founders resorted to propaganda, and, many innocent Ghanaians were unjustifiably murdered or tortured mercilessly for apparent minimal offences.

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Regrettably, through vile propaganda, market women were stripped naked in the public and whipped mercilessly for allegedly hauling their products or selling on high prices.

While their male counterparts were barbarically shaved with broken bottles and whipped for offences that would not even warrant a Police caution in a civilized society.

As if that was not enough, their sheer propaganda led to the barbaric murder of three eminent high court judges and a prominent retired army officer on 30th June 1982 for carrying out their constitutionally mandated duties.

Regrettably, when the communist enthusiasts’ founders of the NDC Party burst onto the scene, they exhibited their propagandistic gimmickry and tempestuously murdered people with more than two cars.

Moreover, through propaganda, the NDC founders shamefully exhibited their communist ideals by going into war with business men and women in the country.

Ironically, they resorted to propaganda and replaced our educational system with that of a communist model.

Hypocritically, after messing up our educational system, they turned around and sent their children abroad to study in what they saw as a superior educational system.

Clearly, the NDC faithful have a penchant for slyly resorting to disinformation metastasizing, or to put it euphemistically, systematic propagation of propaganda.

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It is, however, worthy of note that the meaning of propaganda traces its roots to the “Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide”- a committee of Cardinals founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV to oversee the spread of Catholicism abroad, by any means necessary”.

Consequently, the word propaganda came to mean the concerted effort to spread any belief the communist Propagandists are associated with. Therefore propaganda is regarded as "a deliberate attempt to alter or maintain a balance of power that is advantageous to the communists”.

Propaganda may also be defined in its most neutral and simple sense as “the persuasive dissemination of particular ideas or material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause”.

In other words, “propagandism” is the systematic propagation of a doctrine or information reflecting the views and interests of those propagating such information or doctrine.

Moreover, the experts contend that a message can be classified as propaganda if it “suggests something negative and dishonest”.

In any case, it should never be a surprise to see a party whose founders have an inborn proclivity for communist ideals to seek to establish a school of communism with a view to producing more trained propagandists to proselytise and hoodwink unsuspecting electorates.

We must, however, not lose sight of the fact that most wars, crimes and genocides which were perpetrated against humanity were expedited through the use of propaganda aimed at securing popular support for illegal and violent action.

Apparently, this can be witnessed continued in the past and in the modern era. For we can sadly point to the Nazi hate speech which preceded the Holocaust, the Radio and Television hate speech which preceded the Rwandan Genocide and al-Qaeda hate speech which preceded the attacks on ‘World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001.

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In hindsight, we can infer that uncontrolled propaganda could spell doom for a nation, so, it is necessary and proper for the government to do everything in its power to restrict any “ideological” Institute that can promote vile propaganda.

Strictly speaking, freedom of opinion and expression is not an absolute right in national and international jurisprudence. In fact, this right, like others, may be restricted to protect and balance other rights and interests. However, it is the complexion and the degree of these restrictions that is often contended in extant human rights and security jurisprudence.

Take, for example, Article 20(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) requires states to prohibit propaganda: “Any advocacy of national, tribe, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law”.

Even though some experts contend that restrictions on hate speech can be justified, Article 20(2) has proven highly controversial and is variously criticised as being overly restrictive of free speech or as not going far enough in the categories of hatred it covers.

In so far as Article 20(2) does not obligate states to prohibit all negative statements towards national groups, tribes, races or religions, if a statement “constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,” it must be condemned in no uncertain terms”.

Actually, the two known restrictions on the right to freedom of expression are: The prohibition of advocacy of any national, racial or religious hatred and the prohibition of propaganda.

Nevertheless, the prohibition of propaganda is not innately contradictory to the right to freedom of expression.

The right holder, however, has to be cognizant of the duty and obligations which are encapsulated in the international human rights instruments.

Interestingly, however, while propaganda for genocide is codified as an international crime, the propaganda for the incitement to aggressive war is not.

Nevertheless, incitement to commit an illegal act is in itself illegal under international law.

Furthermore, incitement, instigation, abetment and solicitation are all common to various criminal codes worldwide.

These are generally considered "inchoate offense[s]" or "a step toward[s] the commission of another crime, the step itself being serious enough to merit punishment”.

In the English common law, for instance, there are three general inchoate offenses: 1) attempt; 2) conspiracy; and 3) incitement.

“ Incitement conveys a "general label to cover any use of words or other device by which a person is requested, urged, advised, and counselled, tempted, commanded, or otherwise enticed to commit a crime."

In sum, let us all come together and say no to the institute of “propagandism”.

K. Badu, UK.

Columnist: K. Badu, UK.

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