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Needless confusion and ominous signs

BY: Colin Essamuah
Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy
Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy

Why did the President get involved personally in this Asamoah Gyan resignation and subsequent return saga? The need to assuage public disquiet over the removal of Gyan from the captaincy of our national team, the Black Stars, does not require presidential intervention.

Yes, I disagree with the presidential intervention in the return of Gyan to the national team.

The reason is simple and straightforward. It has nothing to do with my current negative views on football in Ghana and the sad turn it has reached as we try valiantly to go beyond the astonishingly corrupt claims made in Anas No. 12. Both football and popular music are forms of public entertainment basically.

Many spinoffs in other forms of entertainment and varied businesses have emerged to entrench these essential forms and sources of pleasure for the Ghanaian masses, as elsewhere.

Unfortunately for the millions of Ghanaians and nationals of other countries in the world who entertain themselves this way, the sportsmen and entertainers have always with a few exceptions, abused popular affection for the games, and the political effects they had had on political leadership and direction have not always been good for our leaders.

Sportsmen and entertainers such as Gyan, Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy have been needlessly pampered, mollycoddled and fawned over pointlessly by the people with disastrous results.

Worse the output from their so-called talents never outlive even a generation in our harried lives. If Providence were absent last Saturday at the VGMA Awards, we all would have had eggs on our faces by now. All for what?

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Unnecessary involvement

I maintain the presidential involvement in these things is not necessary.

I even overheard a fellow citizen in a taxi complaining that more could have been achieved nationally by the President if he had spent Tuesday afternoon in Takoradi assuaging the pain of the parents and relatives of the kidnapped girls by travelling to that city for this reason alone.

My readers would remember last Tuesday was the day the Right to Information Bill became a fully fledged act of Parliament when the President signed it into law, more than a month after its passage by the House.

RTI has had a chequered history in our politics since it was laid in Parliament in 2003, during the presidency of President John Kufuor.

But this sorry delay by Parliament has been compounded by a rider in the law which permits full implementation starting only a year after presidential assent.

Why? The argument that other preparatory things have to be put in place prior to does not impress me.

Free SHS and its shambolic start by this very government in September 2017 defeats this argument by those who won the argument for delay.

We know that Highly indebted Poor Countrie(HIPC) became reality in 2001 when President John Kufuor was the only member of his government who pushed for its speedy implementation over the protests of even his own Finance minister, now Senior Minister Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo.

President Akufo Addo had to really push for the implementation of Free SHS in the very first year of his government in 2017. Why not the same zeal for a law which had spent so many years in Parliament?

We all heard MP, Mr KT Hammond, protesting against the passage of the law earlier when it was taken up to be worked on by Parliament. Our media is yet to delve into his mysterious reasons for opposing the passage.

He was a former Deputy Minister of Energy in the President Kufuor regime.

Does this have anything to do with his opposition? We all appreciate the humongous figures mentioned regularly in investments in that portfolio and would be grateful if he could furnish his fellow citizens with information unique to his person and relevant to his opposition.

Coincidences

Of course there are very few coincidences in history.

The coincidence of the closure of two radio stations connected to the opposition National Democratic Congress as a party elder talking live thereon at a party event has proven a hard nut to dispel by the government.

I refer here to the strange coincidence that the day of the signing into law by the President of RTI strangely coincided with a demonstration held to protest the closure of the two stations on the altar of media freedom and rights which our President had a proud, prior record of.

The news last Wednesday that the main organiser of this demonstration has been attacked and his car vandalised is a terrible blot on the government which should have taken pro-active steps to prevent enthusiastic, misguided supporters from taking the law into their hands and tarring their beloved government with mindless opposition to free speech and media.

We live in the present and the future, not the past gone by with memories of all the unpleasant things which regular elections and turnovers in government should take us farther away from. Progress means moving forward into a better life and nothing else.

No sincere supporter of press freedom in Ghana today can take refuge in the claim that the National Communications Authority is enforcing the law by closing down radio stations.

That argument is as stillborn as saying that because the President has immunity from prosecution, he can go about slapping citizens. It does not sit well in the mouth of a party and government shouting free press credentials for things like this to happen.

The current actions of the NCA makes the government and party plainly hypocritical and dishonest. I took part in the Radio Eye demonstration of December 1994 and I always regret that other interests have taken away Dr Tarzan Wereko Brobbey from establishing his radio station.

It should never be the lot of any person in the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo to defend the constricting space for media practice in the country, citing laws which were used in the past to restrict us, unless we are ready to deny our own history and sufferings in earlier dispensations which give validity to the vote of Ghanaians today.

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