Trivialising serious issues
There was a serious breach of security at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), when a woman succeeded in passing through with a heavy load of illicit cargo. Her subsequent arrest at Heathrow Airport was an indictment on our security agencies.
The case was not made better when it was alleged that the woman in question used the VIP Lounge reserved for very important state personalities. Government reaction should have been swift and decisive to send a clear message to the international community, especially the global powers that much as we try to enforce international laws on drug trade, any breach would be treated firmly and with urgency. But we chose to dodge the criminal issues and dwell more on politics.
As to whether she has a diplomatic passport or not, to me, is secondary, since nobody is given national passports of whichever description to commit crime. I am, therefore, surprised that for a whole week and more, this has been a major subject that dominated discussions since the news of the woman's arrest broke.
I agree that it is incumbent on every journalist or media establishment to check and cross-check facts and to be sure of the credibility of their sources of information. But we must also realise that in this electronic age when every media house, especially the radio and television stations are eager to be the first to break the news, time is a luxury one could not afford to lose.
Lapses are expected, but professional practice demands that subsequent bulletins update the story and correct any wrong impressions created in earlier ones when no mischief is intended.
In this particular case, the arrest was made in the United Kingdom (UK), and, therefore, very few clarification could be available at the local level and all had to rely on foreign sources.
If state agencies want clarification on certain issues, they have various means of doing so but the least is to go after newspaper editors and radio station managers who themselves as in this case, were depending on what was available on the open market.
Since they claim they have been collaborating, it could have been possible for the Narcotics Control Board and the Bureau of National Investigation to link up with their foreign counterparts to get details of the case if they so wish. Again, the government has every right to issue a statement to correct any information it thinks is misleading the public without using the coercive power of state in an arbitrary manner.
Diplomats are not the type that make public statements, especially if it has something to do with the internal matters of their countries of accreditation. That is why the swift manner the British High Commissioner came out to debunk the claim by our narcotics agency that there was a collaboration between them and their British counterparts in this matter should send a warning signal to government communicators to tread carefully in their pronouncements on the issue.
The partisan twist to the drug menace is becoming monotonous in our ears. It appears our representatives in Parliament do not know the interests of their constituents or do not appreciate their problems.
No government or political party would ever meet as a group and plan how to execute a drug business. Some individuals high or low using their offices or connections by their nature, may indulge in criminal activity for money. That does not mean the government or that political party or for that matter any group that that person(s) is (are) members should be labelled as criminals.
In an enlightened environment, such a cheap way of doing politics would be treated with the contempt it deserves. It is unfortunate our President had to bring himself into this issue. It is as if this country has not got enough problems that need serious attention.
It is difficult to convince any serious entrepreneur to come and establish an industry where water and electricity, two key ingredients in industry are scarce commodities.
Those who want a safe way prefer to open shops and sell finished goods and food items imported from other countries. This cannot mean an economy is doing well or a country is making advancements.
We must begin to be serious as a country and stop describing heaps of sand as mountains or a pond as the mighty ocean. To some of us, Parliament is gradually losing its relevance since honourable members prefer to discuss national issues politically and not objectively. Those in the ruling party see themselves more as government agents while the minority side very often dwell on trivialities or play to the gallery. We deserve more than that.