One would have thought by now that whatever operational problems were being faced by Radio Gold and Radio XYZ with operatives of the National Communications Authority (NCA) would have already been resolved (See “Tarzan Lambasts Akufo-Addo, Sakyi-Addo, Kan-Dapaah Over Media Attack” Modernghana.com 7/23/19). If they have not been resolved, then there is every reason for the leaders of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to be worried about the damning political implications and consequences of the undue prolongation of such impasse, both for the human and civil rights credentials of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the entire ideological stature and reputation of the party itself.
Ordinarily, I would not be chiming in on the side of Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, an infamous longtime personal and ideological detractor of Nana Akufo-Addo. There are other issues subtending the apparently inveterate animosity that the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Volta River Authority clearly seems to harbor towards the President that I wouldn’t want to delve into, at least not presently. However, in this case, I find the argument of the man popularly known as “Tarzan” to be quite constructive and one that is worth examining and with all the necessary resolution promptly brought to bear on the Radio Gold and Radio XYZ Conundrum. There ought to be absolutely no room for score-settling or retribution whatsoever.
I also, by the way, do not trust the former BBC-Africa Service correspondent, namely, Mr. Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, whom, I have just learned, is the Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA). Maybe, as Dr. Wereko-Brobby pointedly suggests, the NCA needs to be made more politically independent than it is presently; which also means that as it is presently constituted, the NCA may not be as functionally democratic and independent of any government or political party in power as its administrative composition ought to be. Well, I don’t trust Mr. Sakyi-Addo because I vividly recall sometime in 2005 or 2006, when my political biography of the immortalized and globally celebrated legal scholar and philosophical wit, namely, Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye Danquah, was published and the now NCA Chairman obliquely, albeit inescapably mischievously, lit into the appropriateness and the historical credibility of the title of my book, namely, “Dr. JB Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana.”
Mr. Sakyi-Addo was one of the first most notable vocal critics to vehemently impugn the validity and credibility of such title. He would either write an article or be quoted in one and reported to have adamantly insisted on setting the proverbial records straight, by trenchantly claiming that Mr. Kwame Nkrumah was the “Founding Father of Ghana,” and that there was absolutely nothing that any Nkrumah critic or detractor could say or do about the same. Now, I may not have the best of memory capacities or mnemonic banks, but this is the one anti-Danquah pique or salvo that I will never forget and have never forgotten. Maybe somebody highly placed at the Jubilee House ought to have meticulously conducted the requisite research background in order to track down the political and ideological track-record of this clearly opportunistic social climber before naming Mr. Sakyi-Addo to such a highly sensitive post with remarkable national security implications.
I also really do not see any benefits that anybody or political party or establishment stands to gain by continuing to have these two putative media bulwarks of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress shuttered and inescapably and deafeningly kept off the air. Indeed, this impasse between Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, on the one hand, and the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party could be deemed to be worse than President Nkrumah’s deleterious clampdown on the private media establishment, in the late 1950s and the early 1960s , which effectively killed Ghanaian creativity and independent thinking and artistry and artistic integrity for quite a considerable while, a subject-matter that has been seriously and extensively discussed by such continental African literary giants as Wole Soyinka, Ngugi Wa Thiong’O (James Ngugi at the time) and others at the globally renowned Makerere Conference on the future of African Literature and writing in general.
At any rate, is this policy stance of the NCA the real intent of the movers-and-shakers of the ruling New Patriotic Party or a deliberately calculated albeit scarcely politically and morally edifying throwback to the “neo-primitive” eras of the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) junta and the faux-democratic National Democratic Congress, so-called? On the latter count, one cannot help but be reminded of the witty mantra by Mrs. Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States of America and the first African-American woman to have been so elevated in our time and generation: “When they go low, we need to go high”?
You see, the neoliberal leaders of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo-inspired New Patriotic Party cannot so scandalously and facilely presume to so inadvisably go down the parochially vengeful and cognitively and morally bankrupt path of their National Democratic Congress’ counterparts and not pay dearly for the same, come Election 2020. You see, progressive and visionary policy initiatives and all, the one national institution that the key operatives of the New Patriotic Party cannot play lightly with, if, indeed, they desire to be entrusted with the destiny of the Ghanaian people for quite a considerable while to come, is to unwisely attempt to play cheap and tawdry politics with the hard-won media freedom in the country.
Writer: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe,
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
July 23, 2019