Communication they say “is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium” it also has synonyms like transmission, relay, conveyance and disclosure among others.
For the purpose of this article, we will limit ourselves to the distinct presentation qualities of our leaders in Ghana within the remit of our cherished forth republican dispensation. There is no doubt that, one of the wonderful legacies of democracy in Ghana is the executive leadership decision to avail itself for Public scrutiny of their stewardship periodically.
Whilst I congratulate former President Kuffour for this wonderful initiative, I will not hesitate to commend Ex-President Rawlings for creating the enabling atmosphere with the liberalisation of the media landscape which saw the springing up of private media houses which hitherto, were not allowed to operate thus, truncating freedom of speech, an essential quality in the democratic process.
Need I say that, the famous Radio Gold interview of Former President Rawlings just before we entered the forth republic debunks the assertion of people who have sought to create the impression that, Mr Rawlins was not media-friendly?
It is a known fact that the fourth republic of our natural resource-rich country has so far produced four (4) presidents and still counting. All the four attempted in various ways to convey and disclose through speaking, an account of their stewardship more so through several press encounters or public fora such as the one we witnessed on the 7th of January 2014.
It's been exactly one year after entering office of president, and His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, who entered office through one of the keenest, most transparent, freer and fairer elections since our return to democracy in 1992 has encountered the media and stamped his approval on this tradition of accountability within our democracy.
This President, unprecedentedly, has survived a full year of a litigation from a vicious opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), who resorted to the Supreme Court of the land, upon the valid election of our President, with a jumble of papers they called evidence, in an attempt to legally contest His Excellency's legitimacy.
Unsurprisingly, to me and most Ghanaians and the international community at large, and as we are all aware, the SC election petition case was thrown out after eight (8) months of working in equity to achieve vanity. We still cannot even measure the true cost of that litigation to the nation as a whole. Whiles other political actors seek to leave a legacy of prosperity and shared social living and progress, the NPP cannot only leave Ghanaians with a legacy of litigations and agitations with incalculable costs to the nation. How sad!
Back to accountability through the press. At exactly 11:45 am on the 7th of January this year, President Mahama took his turn for his first Editors Forum as the President of the republic of Ghana. In a colourful well-furnished state-of-the-art meeting room at the flag staff house, packed with seasoned journalist, old and young, all braced for action to scrutinise the president's stewardship, he did not fail.
Let me hasten to add, that this wonderful act by the President did not go without attempts by some unscrupulous journalists whose main agenda has been and continue be “regime change” (KOLO KO YEE KOLOKO). It was not surprising to see these 'yellow Journalists' eat back their words and apologized for their naive presuppositions and fabricated allegations, prior to the Press meeting with the president.
We now all know that, no journalists were directed to forward their questions for censorship before the interaction. And we now know that such amateur journalists who made such false publications do with malice at the expense of their credibility. Let me use this opportunity to remind such “susupons” (as the Rasta man will say) of an Akan adage whish states that “3NI BRE 3NSO GYA” to wit, no matter how red your eyes are, it cannot ignite fire.
Many were the questions that were posed to the President for more than 2hrs, but what caught my attention was his demeanour and language. His posture throughout the over two hours interaction remained that of a professional sales person who is pretty much aware that, he/she is not the merchandise and for that matter any attack on his person will not detract his/her prime objective of closing sales.
Even the harshest question was met by his charming smiles to the extent that, some of his harshest critics were cowed into submission, if not intimidated by his all-inviting posture. Coupled with his posture was what put the icing on the cake, that is the simplicity of his language and his use of everyday English to the understanding of all who were glued to their radio and TV sets to hear from their President.
As a communication professional, he confirmed my understanding of the fact that any attempt to flamboyantly engage the public using superficial jargons and play with words just to fit his status will constitute a gap between the sender and receiver albeit semantically, syntactically, culturally or psychologically thereby polluting his audience with noise as any gap in communication is nothing but noise.
Having observed the use of gestures by Ex-President Rawlings, the long winding slow but sure presentations of former President Kuffour, and the extempore but academic delivery of late President Mills, I will dove my hat for the easy flowing simplistic style of current President Mahama in other to give meaning to the professionals claim that, communication process is not complete until the receiver understands the sender’s massage.
May I at this juncture use this opportunity to also forward my two in one question to Mr President:
Your Excellency, what is your government’s stance on genetically modified organisms (GMO) and may I know if any Zongo community will benefit in the first batch of the 100 SHS to start this year 2014?
Finally, while I congratulate the organisers of the 2014 Editors Forum, I will urge them to endeavour to make next year’s event complete with at least, a sign language interpreter, but not the South African type.
Source: Mohammed Naziru Seidu (Memeber of the NDC Communication Team)
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