Opinions

REJOINDER: LOUD SILENCE, LOUD NOISE & HAIRCUTS: THE GENIUS OF JM

Mr. Paul Adom Otchere Good Evening Ghana Metro TV
Accra, Ghana

By Citizen Raymond Archer
Dear Mr. Adom Otchere, Greetings to you, your colleagues at METRO TV and your viewers. I am sure you will agree with me that over the past many years, you and I have had mutual professional respect for each other and I want you to see this rejoinder along those lines.. For the first time, I am writing this rejoinder in respect of specific portions of your show “Good Evening Ghana”, which aired today, November 1, 2022.
On your show, you spoke about these specific issues:
a) Your theory elements of successful Political Campaigns b) Your Theory /Concept of Communication/PR Strategies c) Hair Loss or Haircut
You said the following “SUCCESSFUL POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING HINGES ON TWO THINGS
1) A promise of repeat business
2) Freshness of Ideas Ideas that creates excitement about CHANGE”
According to you, these concepts are the wheels on which any campaign must rotate in order to succeed. You however mildly admitted that there could be other ways of achieving successful campaigns.
You made these points against the pristine backdrop that as far as you were concerned you
did not hear or read any sensible policy options from former President Mahama in his
address to the nation. You even referred to his address as a communication and a PR disaster whilst you appeared smitten by the address of our President. Nana Addo.
Who am I to disagree with you if that is how you saw it, after all, the beauty of democracy that we can all see things from unique perspectives. I think it is dangerous for everyone to see things the sameway.
If you say Mahama offered no policy options and he and his team are bereft of any strategic thinking, that obviously is how you saw it. I on the other hand hold a completely different view. You again appeared to be suggesting that Mahama was struggling to find a track record which he could use to support your concept of “repeat business” in campaign.
You also pointed to what you described as the loud silence of John Mahama’s supporters (Mogtari Joyce, Boama Omane, Kwakye Felix etc) on Twitter and wondered why they did not comment or attack the President’s address to the nation.
Paul, First of all John Mahama’s address was to the nation not the NPP. In the same vein

the President’s address was also to the Nation and not the NDC even though I admit that both the president and Mahama took political shots at each other.
I am sure you agree that one of the costliest mistakes in political communication is to presume that the targets of your communication, in this case Ghanaians, don’t
understand the message.The moment you think like that, you have failed as a communicator. These two politicians took their messages to the people of Ghana so I think the smartest thing was to allow the targets of the addresses to discern and digest the messages.
As far as I am concerned, Mahama’s message was straight to the point and after it was delivered he didn’t need anyone to explain portions of his address or provide interpretation of what he said or meant to say.
In your analysis of the performance of John Mahama, you sought to complain about the loud silence of Mahama’s supporters, but you “forgot” or left out the loud noise that came from
the president’s spokesperson, in the person of the Information Minister. You would realize
that after the President’s speech, the information Minister had reason to contextualize that portion of the President’s categorical statement that “There would be no hair cut”. The Information Minister said the president meant that there would be “no haircut on the
principal ‘ ”.
The natural questions which followed were: if there won’t be a haircut on the principal, what about the interest, will it suffer hair loss?, what about issues regarding payment dates and timelines etc. This seeming contradiction between the president and his information sparked confusion shortly after his address.
Paul, even you yourself felt the need to clarify this issue of hair cut. Today, several radio stations who attempted to make sense of this “NO HAIRCUT” and “no Principal Haircut ‘ statement by the president and his information Minister unanimously concluded that it was confusing.
This obvious flip flop is far from the sterling marks you awarded the President for his communication prowess’.
At the very least, the president and his information minister appear to have set themselves on fire. The information Minister appears to suggest that there may be a haircut but it may not
be on the Principal.The President says there will be “No Haircut” which is which?
Remember the rule in war strategy? when your opponent sets himself on fire, you do nothing. So maybe instead of lambasting John Mahama and his team as political nitwits, you must applaud them for their Loud Silence on Twitter, after all their opponents had voluntarily set themselves on fire both on social media and in the mainstream media.
On Tiktok and instagram a lot of people were poking fun at the president and appeared to belittle him for some portions of his speech. In fact they found it funny. I can equally give you several videos of Ghanaians who lambasted the president and saw nothing of substance in his address. As for the man who was ranting in the videos against Mahama, kindly inform him that the President was third time lucky in his bid to be president.
IS MAHAMA A GENIUS OR A JERK ?
Finally, Do you consider your statement that ““SUCCESSFUL POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING HINGES ON TWO THINGS : 1) A promise of repeat business

2) Freshness of Ideas that creates excitement about CHANGE” a “communication strategy” or a “concept of reasoning”?.
Paul, As someone who studied a bit of system theory, I believe Communication is mostly
born out of a system of reasoning be it Fuzzy Logic or Classic Logic. LIke you, I have
worked on several political campaigns in Africa, and Europe and I have come to believe that the most successful campaign reasoning tend to center around the concept or theory of fuzzy logic which lends itself to the idea of creating imprecise modes of reasoning in order to help in making rational decisions in complex environments like political campaigns.
Since the strategic environments within which political campaigns play out tend to be complex and evolving, it cannot be true that all or most successful campaigns must hinge on your two principles. I don’t also know whether you refer to them as concepts of reasoning or ”
PR/communication strategy” .
I have become a firm believer that most successful campaigns are not about the eloquence and skill of selling REPEAT BUSINESS or FRESHNESS of Ideas and CHANGE, but rather Successful campaigns are increasingly geared towards great storytelling.
The campaigns that tell the best stories tend to be more successful. FEAR, THREAT, OPPORTUNITIES and HOPE are the most crucial elements of successful campaigns from my experience.
When voters FEAR their life is getting worse or will get worse, REPEAT BUSINESS is not
an option. Campaign graveyards are replete with sad stories of people who did well in
business or in their chosen endeavors, of people who created billion dollar companies, of people who employed thousands of people, yet their foray into politics and political campaigns has been a disaster. The argument of REPEAT BUSINESS could have applied, after all they have done it in private life, they will do even better given political power. Unfortunately voters have a different psychology and it is why The concept of REPEAT BUSINESS didn’t work for billionaire Bloomberg.
Even in the pure political sense, If I bought food from you the first time and it tasted delicious and then I bought the same food from the same vendor the second time and it was horrible and tasteless, Why will I buy from you the third time? Or the fact that I bought GOB3 from you 4 years ago doesn’t mean you can sell GOB3 all the time. Circumstances and taste change over time.
FEAR: If I voted for you the first and second time and you are driving the nation and its economy into a ditch, why will I vote for you for the third time? This is why the concept of repeat Business is very contentious.
Paul, from my experience, voters always arrive at HOPE before they get to GHANGE. Change is a product of HOPE. Some strategists actually think that Change happens outside and not within the strategic campaign environment. If you don’t successfully sell them a story that inspires HOPE, forget success because you wont get to CHANGE.
If voters have HOPE in a candidate, they will vote for that candidate and
then CHANGE happens at the end, so in successful campaigns, you sell voters HOPE and not CHANGE.
Successful campaign in contemporary politics weaves around the following story structure: There is the VILAIN-Your Opponent, in Mahama’s case the President , whom you can finger as the cause of the sufferings of Ghanaians, who you can accuse of making mouth watering

promises and failing on delivery, whom you can accuse of making excuses like COVID and Russia-UKRAINE war as justification for his poor performance. Then there is FEAR/ THREAT-That the president’s actions and inactions THREATENS the survival and livelihoods of Ghanaians. If you manage to convince voters to FEAR that the actions and inactions of the VILLAIN has, is, will or could lead to voters losing their investments, receiving haircuts and losing their livelihoods you are almost there. The final part of the campaign story is the HERO in this case Mahama who must inspire HOPE which takes voters to a place where they come to the simple conclusion that there is OPPORTUNITY for them if Mahama is the alternative.
Paul, every election follows what we call a Road Map. The messaging is different at each
point in the Roadmap. Each of the elements I have mentioned above has its time, place and context within the framework of the Roadmap. Everything you do and say within this Roadmap must be timely, relevant and contextual.
You picture John Dramani Mahama who is not yet a Presidential Candidate standing
before Ghanbaians two years ahead of a presidential election at their worst moment and asking them to vote for him so that he will be president in 2024.
Voting is not what is on the mind of the ordinaryGhanaian in these difficult times, so a smart politician has to walk a fine balance of identifying with Ghanaians, giving them HOPE and subtly preparing their minds that there is a solution to the problems and that they shouldn’t despair.
If Mahama where to go with your prescription, the discussion would have been that he is selfish, he is only thinking about being President, he is insensitive etc. As the Ashanti’s say, he who doesn’t like your music always dances to your tune with a crooked buttocks. Paul on this occasion I think you danced to Maham’s tunes with crooked buttocks.This is not the time for “vote for me!! vote for me!! This is the time for solidarity.
MAHAMA IS A GENIUS
Watch carefully what Mahama did. He got the Minority ranking member on Finance, Hon. Casely Atto Forson to lay bare the GRIM economic challenges Ghanaians are facing.That appear to have frightened a lot of Ghanaians (FEAR) including the president. Then he told Ghanaians that “we are in it together”-he identified with them.
He then offered several policy options and noted that despite the brutal economic situation, it was still salvageable. That there is HOPE.
He finally set in motion events that will later set the President and his information minister on a collision course with his bold prediction that, Ghanaians, investors, the business
the community should brace themselves for either a “Haircut” or if you don’t like that word a hair loss.
The President couldn’t overlook that statement because he knew the effect of that
statement. In his haste to reply Mahama, he set himself on fire with his categorical“there will be NO Hair Cut” statement. His information Minister who realizes that the President has set himself on fire attempts a rescue saying the President meant that there will be no “No Haircut on the principal”.
Paul, Whilst all this was happening, Mahama and his team heeded to the clarion call of basic war strategy, if your opponent sets himself on fire, do nothing. So they kept quiet on twitter.

From my point of view, Mahama was more strategic and deserves commendation. Thank you.
Cc:
The Producer/Good Evening Ghana
Ghanaweb Radio Gold
Power FM
XYZ TV Class FM
TheFourth Estate WhatsAp News
The HErald

Comments are closed.