A Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana Ransford Yaw Gyampo has condemned the action of some patrons at this year’s Global Citizen Festival in booing President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo when he mounted the podium to address them at the event held in Accra.
Prof Gyampo stated that the action does not reflect the typical Ghanaian culture of courteousness.
Last weekend’s reaction by the fans at the global rock show has left Ghanaians divided with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) blaming the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for it.
But commenting on the action, Prof Gyampo wrote on his facebook wall that inasmuch as Ghanaians must express dissent at the currently high cost of living, it must not be at the expense of the typical Ghanaian culture.
“I insist we cannot throw our culture of courtesy, respect and civility to the dogs,” he wrote on Monday, September 26.
“The OFFICE and POSITION of the PRESIDENCY that transcends the individual occupying it, MUST be respected by ALL, regardless of its occupant and irrespective of how we feel against the occupant of the OFFICE.”
Prof Gyampo cited how same happened to former President John Dramani Mahama at the Manhyia Palace but the action was least condemned by well-meaning Ghanaians.
“Like what happened to President Mahama, this is also not courteous and respectful and even though many NPP apparatchiks and appointees are scared to come out to speak in condemning this practice; and even though some other level headed Ghanaians are very angry with how bad things are and hence would not comment about the disrespect shown the sitting President, some of us won’t shut up.”
Find the full write-up below:
1. We are Ghanaians, a well cultured people and must go back to our values that found a decent way of expressing dissent. We need not be emotional and indulge in irrational politics of equalization and comparison, that copies and perpetuate bad practices all the time, else our drive towards democratic maturity would be too long.
2. There were times when my Akuapim people were very civil and decorous even when they were insulting. Have we forgotten the “me pa wo ky3w se wo y3 aboa” expression? Among my Fanti, people, especially those of us from Saltpond, Ghana’s Political Mecca, we never feared the Police, yet we also believed in the expression “aban ye dur” (government is heavy). This guided our utterances, conduct and attitude towards the Police even when they had incurred our displeasure. Until recently, you could not slap back a Police Officer, not because he was too strong as person, but because of the OFFICE and POSITION he occupied in his or her uniform.
3. We do not like how the country is being governed. Times are too hard and there is a feeling of despondency among many Ghanaians. The only crop of people who do not feel the heat in Ghana’s current economy are NPP government appointees, and article 71 office holders. This is what has filled the body politic with intense anger to the point that, even the beneficiaries of power are suddenly cowed into fear and are unable to speak out against this singular act that has monumentally embarrass their appointing authority.
4. But I speak for Ghana and I don’t care swimming against the tide, particularly when I know that, human beings are generally creatures of emotions and not creatures of logic. I insist we cannot throw our culture of courtesy, respect and civility to the dogs. The OFFICE and POSITION of the PRESIDENCY that transcends the individual occupying it, MUST be respected by ALL, regardless of its occupant and irrespective of how we feel against the occupant of the OFFICE.
5. No nation develops without its culture, so it’s completely out of place to use bogus examples that are at variance with cultural values to justify acts of disrespect. Barack Obama, George Bush, Emmanuel Macron etc all suffered disrespect but these must not be our yardstick. We saw how Donald Trump never wanted to leave office even when he was defeated in an election and we mocked at him as a developing democracy. It is disingenuous to look for bad examples to justify bad conduct. We must copy from best practices.
6. His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama, once had a torrid experience at the Manhyia Palace when he was met with tumultuous chant of ‘change’ from some NPP supporters. He and his entourage were there to commiserate with the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, during the one week celebration of the Queen mother of the Ashanti stool Asantehemaa Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa, Ampem II. The event which was supposed to be solemn one, turned out to be rancorous when some of the mourners deliberately shouted insults and gestured ‘change’ towards the president as he arrived at the funeral grounds. The security details of the President had difficulties paving way for him and NPP supporters had a field day as they offered all manner of rationalization and justification for this act of disrespect.
7. When some Ghanaians, including the loudest supporters of the NDC kept quiet over this, some of us spoke out openly against such act of gross disrespect exhibited against the President (JM) and the PRESIDENCY to the displeasure of some other Ghanaians, including the NPP support base. The records are there for anyone who wants to verify.
8. A few days ago, Patrons at the 2022 Global Citizen Festival, we are told, hooted at President Akufo-Addo when he mounted the podium to deliver a speech at last night’s event held at the Black Star Square in Accra.
Thousands of patrons turned up at the event grounds to witness the international festival, with several local and international artistes performing. But when the President mounted the stage to address the crowd, people started chanting and hooting at the President, making it difficult for him to deliver his address.
9. Like what happened to President Mahama, this is also not courteous and respectful and even though many NPP apparatchiks and appointees are scared to come out to speak in condemning this practice; and even though some other level headed Ghanaians are very angry with how bad things are and hence would not comment about the disrespect shown the sitting President, some of us won’t shut up. We will speak against this act of disrespect against the President and the PRESIDENCY, regardless of how angry we are, and the fact that, we would even be leading labor once again to go on strike very shortly.
10. Yes, we are hungry but we cannot eat with both hands when we find food. A few party appointees are enjoying, even in times of hardships, and are asking the rest of us to keep tightening our belt. The President’s speech writers who are obviously out of touch with the economic miserization of the people, keep writing flowery and utopian speeches for the President, in a manner that plays on the emotional keyboards of Ghanaians. But I end by insisting that we are still Ghanaians, a well cultured people and must go back to our values that found a decent way of expressing dissent. We know the lines between disagreements, criticisms and disrespect and we must keep the boundaries. We also know the lines between the PRESIDENCY and the President as well as the OFFICE and the PERSON who occupies it. Let us keep these boundaries for the sake of national cohesion and development. This is my position both as a Normative Political Scientist and a Logical Positivist.
PAV Ansah Street
Suro Nipa House
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