The Ashanti Regional branch of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has cautioned members, especially supporters of any of the presidential aspirants that they would not be spared “the rod” if they resorted to divisive acts, invective and language that would affect the party negatively.
The region has, therefore, instituted what it calls an “Airwaves Sanity Monitoring Squad” to monitor the media landscape, especially radio stations in the region, and deal with offenders whose actions tend to create unnecessary enmity among members, throw mud at aspiring candidates and bring the name of the party to disrepute.
The Regional Organiser of the party, Mr Kennedy Kwaku Kankam, who disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic, explained that the move had become necessary because of past experiences in which some candidates and their supporters maligned other candidates.
He said after spewing such unsubstantiated and unverifiable lies against candidates, the party was then called upon to react to such falsehood during election campaigns, a situation which armed the party’s opponents with the “ammunition” to throw at whoever the party selected as its presidential candidate.
“I believe that apart from other issues, dirty intra-party political discourse caused the NPP a lot in the 2012 elections. I will personally lead a campaign against any candidate whose spokespersons resort to character assassination and dirty politicking in the region,” Mr Kankam said.
No smear campaign
He said the NPP was a democratic political party, but democracy did not mean pouring lies and assassinating the character of one’s opponents.
He said democracy meant campaigning in a clean language to make one’s point.
Asked how the party would go about such tedious process, Mr Kankam said already the party had distributed the names of all its communicators to all the radio stations and that it was only such people who would speak for the party.
He said, secondly, the party was liaising with all the aspiring candidates and “let them be aware that they would be held equally responsible if any of their spokespersons went against the laid-down procedures.” According to Mr Kankam, the regional executive would also inform the spokespersons of the various candidates about the decision of the party and the reason why they must either abide by that or never speak on any radio station in the region.
He said after that they would be given a code of ethics to sign before they could speak for any candidate in the region.
“Anyone who refuses does so at his own risk,” Mr Kankam cautioned.
He said when a member was heard violating the ethics, members of the executives in the constituency that was in the vicinity of the radio station would move to the station to stop the person and ask him to apologise.
He said if he failed to comply with the rules, the party monitoring team would use “minimum force” to move him away from the radio station and he would be referred to the regional disciplinary committee for appropriate action to be taken.
Mr Kankam noted that the party was educating its members in the region to appreciate how all presidential aspirants formed their campaign messages and also let them know that such candidates were responsible for what their agents and spokespersons said on radio because they were the final beneficiaries.
He said the strategy was to let the ordinary members appreciate that all messages emanated from the centre and that the party could not afford to deal with people whose only objective was to seek their personal interest against the collective interest of its members and the Ghanaian populace at large.
Members, he added, would be told why they should vote against such candidates.