Panelists on Tuesday's edition of PeaceFM's flagship programme "Kokrokoo" were unanimous in their open condemnation of "politics of insults" which seems to be the ascendency with barely five months to go for this year's polls.
All the panel members; Prof Kofi Agyekum, Dean of the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Legon, Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., Ashanti Regional Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sam Payne and Deputy Communications Director of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Fred Agbenyo all decried the use of indecent words by political actors, which they agreed poses a serious threat to Ghana’s democratic dispensation as it can escalate into serious conflict with social, political and economic ramifications.
They were particular about the use of intemperate language and personality attacks which can be detrimental to the developmental agenda of the country.
The four (4) panelists were of one mind that though the advent of multi-party democracy from 1992 has brought with it the opportunity for people to express views on whatever is happening in the country, Ghanaians, especially politicians, must exercise this right with the responsibility that goes with it.
Last week, Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Koku Anyidoho, slated the Supreme Court for ordering the Electoral Commission (EC) to submit the names of all those who registered with National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card to it.
In a rather sarcastic tone, he proferred that it would better for the Chief Justice Georgina Woods and her co Supreme Court judges to supervise this year’s election if they are not satisfied with the work of the Electoral Commission.
“The SC must take over the work of the EC so that Charlotte Osei and Amadu Sulley would find a better place to sleep.
If the SC think they are law unto themselves, then Georgina Wood and the other judges should run the elections and should anything happen, we would hold them responsible”, he said.
Then on Sunday, outspoken NPP Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, during the campaign launch of the Asokwa MP, Patricia Apeagyei, launched a scathing attack on the EC Boss alleging that she did not secure her position based on competence and merit.
Agyapong said some highly placed officials in government told Osei to “bring your buttocks in exchange of EC Chair position.”
Opanyin Agyekum, as the linguistics expert is affectionately called, started the discussion and pointed out that this canker of insult has silently crept into the country's political landscape, which has become a source of worry to every well-meaning Ghanaian.
No wonder, he said, faced with the use of indecorous language at every election year, a common feature of elections in Ghana is the numerous appeals for peace from all sections of society.
Senior Journalist, Kwesi Pratt expressed disgust over the politics of insults that has characterized Ghana's political climate.
Mr. Pratt bemoaned the parties involved in the politics of insults, stating emphatically that it will not facilitate the victory of any of the parties during the elections.
He found it appalling for the country's leaders and opposition members to trade insults with one another in pledge of allegiance to their parties.
To him, insults and aspersions will not "win votes. It doesn't bring in votes. It doesn't help us to clinch victory in elections."
Mr. Pratt further noted that it is disrespectful for any person to vilify the President of the Republic, John Dramani Mahama and the Presidential candidate for the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo.
President John Mahama and Nana Addo appear to be the most vilified duo in Ghana's politics. Political figures and several citizens pout out their rage on the two political leaders for various reasons.
They have been called unsuitable names.
Kwesi Pratt quizzed whether those who tend to rain insults on the personalities of these two characters would do a similar thing to their own family members.
Mr. Pratt also called on the nation to respect women.
According to him, Ghanaians tend to express negative comments about women who gain promotion in their fields of endeavour.
He was worried that women are particular sidelined and treated with contempt in the country.
He therefore urged the nation to respect the dignity of women, especially when they have toiled to be promoted in life.
“Women are human beings like everybody else. So, why is that anytime a woman is promoted; then it suggests she used foul means but when a man does something, he deserves it? We should not allow that to happen.”
Also touching on the issue were the NPP Ashanti Regional Secretary, Sam Payne and the NDC Deputy Communications Director, Fred Agbenyo.
They both condemned the politics of insults in the country and wondered why some political figures resort to verbal abuse when addressing national issues.
Sam Payne and Fred Agbenyo called on politicians to respect personalities and ensure that they do not insult each other.
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