For a considerable period of time, we in the United Kingdom & Ireland Chapter of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) have noted with dismay, the exclusion of our party representation from television and radio chat shows in preference to the NDC and NPP only, although we came third behind these two parties at the 2012 general elections. This clearly gives the impression of institutionalised media discrimination against political parties other than the NDC and NPP and this anomaly must be addressed forthwith.
We sit here in the UK believing that in the 21st century Ghana, and indeed in the year 2013, democratic practices and freedom of speech prevails at home in Ghana and that all political parties are treated equally by the media as one would have in the developed countries. Unfortunately the opposite is the truth. ‘This is Ghana and things are done differently, you cannot import foreign culture in here..’ someone told me recently when we were engaged in discussing national issues but should things be done this way? This is some of the reasons the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) is actively craving for things to change.
Why the PPP has never been represented on My Joy and Metro Television and Peace FM and Asempa Radio stations in Ghana beggars belief. I took it upon myself to write to My Joy TV and Peace FM Radio stations, enquiring about the rationale behind exclusion of PPP from talk shows by these two organisations and to this date, I have not received replies from any of them , thus a polite reminder of what I was told earlier on , that ‘this is Ghana..’. A pertinent question at this stage is, how best the Ghanaian media is monitored in spite of the 2nd Media and Democracy forum organized by the Centre for Media Analysis (CMA) and the Centre for African Elections Media Monitoring Index (CAEMMI) at the Ghana International Press Centre in Accra on 30th July,2013?.
Ghana is no longer about the NDC and NPP, considering that the PPP also have a following in the country in which case our voice must be heard in the media as well in a real democracy . Selective treatment of other political parties, besides the NDC and NPP must be discouraged and this is a critical area that the Centre for Media Analysis in Ghana must delve in to address the obvious imbalances.
Until the philosophy which holds some political parties (NDC and NPP) in Ghana superior and others inferior and insignificant is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, Ghana shall continue to languish in an abyss of despair and political uncertainty. Ghana needs an alternative political party to position itself in readiness for wrestling power from the old parties at the next general elections in December,2016 and that alternative party is the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).Excluding us from media platforms shall continue to deprive Ghanaians of the Agenda for Change,. The PPP wants the opportunity to implement an Agenda for change that is built on four pillars of Stewardship, Education, Healthcare and Job Creation when we are given the mandate of the people, come December, 2016. We will implement the Agenda using the spirit of inclusiveness that will enable us to use the best Ghanaians; full participation of women and the youth; and above all, a leadership that is incorrupt .By dealing with corruption, we can double government revenue which we will use to pay for our transformational initiatives in education, health and job creation.
In a democratic society, all the key players or stakeholders in the political dispensation of a country need to be equally engaged in discussing important issues in our country. It is therefore not right to limit important discussions to only NDC and NPP at the expense of the other parties, in discussing matters of national interest. Incidentally, these two parties, NDC and NPP have between them ruled Ghana for 21 (twenty-one years) since the Fourth Republic (from 1992) and Ghana could have been a much developed country than it is today. This tells any one that an alternative political party is needed to take the mantle from the two usual parties. Excluding other political parties from important media debates or chat shows is a disservice not just to the affected political parties but also to our nation. We are all aware that in Ghana things are done differently and when one questions the status quo, they are confronted with the cliché that ‘this is Ghana’ and that quickly informs you to rethink your views. The Centre for Media Analysis must wake up to realities and advise its members to desist from selective and preferential party partisanship.
Yet another major area of discrimination by Ghanaians against Ghanaians is the case of Presidential Debates organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs held in November, 2012, prior to the general elections that excluded the following 4 (four) Presidential candidates from taking part in the debates as they did not satisfy the criteria to enable them take part in the Presidential Debates : Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom – PPP; Dr. Henry Herbert Lartey – GCPP; Mr Kwasi Addai (Odike) – U.F.P and Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah – Independent.
Candidates who qualified and took part in the Presidential Election Debates were Mr John Dramani Mahama – NDC; Dr. Foster Abu Sakara-CPP; Mr Hassan Ayariga- PNC and Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo- NPP.A case in point is, ‘what if the best candidate was not included in the top four who qualified to take part in the Presidential Debates? .Ghana would be seen to have been deprived of the right person to take the country forward as it were and who can disagree to this assertion from the struggles of the NDC Government we are all experiencing seven months into governance?. The idea of the debates was to get the best candidate to act as our President and we needed to select the best candidate from all of the 8 (eight) candidates available but for democratic self-destructive quagmire. Surely, the Institute Economic Affairs must have learnt its lessons well and would do the right thing by relaxing its stringent rules to accommodate every aspiring Presidential Candidate; independent and without party representation in our House of Parliament in future debates.
The political climate in Ghana since the beginning of the year 2013 could have been better than what we are experiencing today. We are in a situation whereby the position of our current President is being challenged through Ghana’s Supreme Court. There is the case of gargantuan judgment debts and negotiated settlements have become a fiendish art and a path to riches for those with the right contacts in government. Then also is the controversial, yet unpublished Gyeeda report revelations therein that are incredibly frightening.
This is why the Progressive People’s Party has decided to embark on Anti- Corruption Demonstration in Accra on 11th September, 2013 after listening to concerns raised by well-meaning Ghanaians about the timing of the action and had put our demonstration on hold until after the Supreme Court ruling.
It is therefore the time for the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) to be involved in all media platforms granted the NDC and NPP to address issues of national interest and when that happens it shall be a great victory for common sense because the two old parties have tried their best and the time for change is here with us now.
Kit Yawson, Chairman, PPP-UK & Ireland, London
Email: [email protected]
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