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02 July 2017

Kwesi Botchwey Committee’s Phd Thesis Recommendations Are Incomplete Without The Media

 

It is for a very good reason that, the Constitution, mentioned the media as the fourth estate of the realm. Surprisingly, the political party that organized the consultative assembly that gave birth to the fourth republican dispensation is averse towards the media.

After a long anxious waits, the 13-member Kwesi Botchwey Committee, finally presented its report to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which constituted it.

I read somewhere years ago that, Wisdom acknowledges a present truth and constructively adapts to it. The truth of the moment, which only an ostrich’s playmate can miss, is that the NDC, has never seen the need to take the media serious.

However, wisdom whispers that it is foolishness to achieve anything, especially political power, without the active involvement of the media.

I have written variously and copiously when the NDC was in power about the apparent neglect of the media.

Most of the recommendations contained in the 13-member Kwesi Botchwey committee, was something someone of us gave freely. I have written about the need for the party to strengthen its research outfit, but no one was reading, except when you write something against them.

After going through the eight critical recommendations by the Committee, my long held view was made manifest, as among the recommendations, the aspect that has to do with the party’s neglect of the media, was conspicuously missing.

How many times, must one shout from the rooftop for someone to hear, whose voice, will be piercing enough for the powers that be, to hear. Times have changed; I have always maintained that, you do not fight today’s war with yesterday’s strategy.

The media, which now includes forcefully the Social media, is not to be taken for granted, the media has made, destroyed, projected persons, who were hitherto not know.

The pen they say is mightier than the sword. As part of the postmortem for the 2016 abysmal defeat of the party, most leading lights of the party, who have had the opportunity to outline some of the reasons that lead to the defeat, mentioned the neglect of the media.

Second deputy speaker of parliament, Alban Sumani Bagbin, the general secretary of the party, Johnson ASiedu Nketia, and the deputy minority leader, James Klutse Avedzi, have all at various times and forums, decried the poor relationship of the National Democratic Congress with the media.

The United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK) and other Western powers, rely heavily on the media in shaping the thoughts of their people and the world.

We see the USA, how the media wants us to see it, Africa, has been portrayed as backward, impoverished, by the western media and that is how we are seen by the citizens.

With the best of will in the world after the 2008, the NDC did not take advantage of that, but rather squandered the goodwill to push the agenda of the government.

 

The situation took a nose dive after the 2012 elections. What I saw in 2012 was the reenactment of 1992, the whole country, was behind the NDC and its presidential candidate, the party and the candidate failed to take advantage of the goodwill. After the 2016 elections, it was obvious the party has lost the middle ground. All the major constituencies had fallen to the New Patriotic Party, notable the media.

The opposition NDC, has been reduced to the margins and nothing in the DNA of the party, seems to suggest that, something new will happen.

One of the cornerstones of democracy is a strong opposition with a distinct ideology and policy to the governing party. Effective opposition requires strong leadership and political skills, such as articulation of policy alternatives and intelligence. Currently, in Ghana such vibrant opposition is nonexistent.

You cannot articulate your policies and programmes, without the active involvement of the media. Elections are contest of ideas, your ideas are only ideas, when you sell them to the intended recipients, either than that they are just a figment of your imagination.

By the recommendations of the 13-member committee, which deliberately took out the media, although the committee met members of the so-called pro- NDC media, the National Democratic Congress’s response to the challenges of building an effective opposition with the capability of regaining power is very weak or at best limping.

The kind of government and now opposition that the NDC wants to build is like a structure built on sinking sand.

This country witnessed unprecedented development in the eight years that the NDC was in power. The prideful thinking and arrogant posture was what has landed the party in opposition.

The party had a blue chip candidate in the person of John Dramani Mahama, who himself was tagged as a communicator, but among the weakest links for the party and government was its handling of the media.

The party has not shed its sordid past even in opposition; they are all engaged in rhetorics, we will do the media this, we need to engage the media, yet those who have sacrificed their lives for the party, as media men are yet to be recognized.

The New Patriotic Party needs a credible opposition, the lack of it will make it harder for the fragile Ghanaian democracy to emerge unscathed from its present political crisis triggered by the weak economy, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s lack of political will to go after vigilante groups, who are threatening our survival.

The NDC must get its act together to reclaim the soul of the country and save our democracy.

NB

A group of journalists, have for two months now written to seek audience with the National Chairman, Kofi Portuphy, he has neither acknowledged receipt of the letter, nor indicated when he will be available. How can such a person lead a mass party like the NDC?

If the party is in opposition, it is because of leaders like him, who do not understand the game of politics. As they say, God save the king.

If he has any intention of retaining his position, it should be out of the question. In an ideal world, this is a non-question. The proposition carries the unmistakable undertones of callousness and mischief, for the obvious reason that, he does not have the capacity and readiness to execute the office.

 

 

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