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MANASSEH’S FOLDER: Presidential Rant Without Substance !
Posted by admin on 6th April 2018

Dear President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,

On Sunday April 1, 2018, I called your Minister of Information, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, to congratulate and encourage him.

The reason?

The previous day, I had spoken to a colleague journalist (Isaac Asare of GBC in Bolgatanga) and he told me the Information Minister had come to engage them (journalists in the region) in a long meeting on the Ghana-US Military Cooperation Agreement. He said the purpose of the meeting was to explain some misconceptions and help them understand the agreement better in order to aid their reportage. He and his colleagues were happy about the encounter. The minister respected them and engaged them.

I told Mustapha Hamid that was the way to go. I was happy that we were departing from the practice of government branding every voice of dissent as a political opponent. I told him that there were people who had genuine concerns about the agreement and needed further explanations and assurances that it wasn’t going to hurt the nation. I encouraged him to keep it up, and he said he had intentions of engaging journalists in the other regions to explain government’s position on the matter.

Mr. President, when I heard you wanted to speak on the matter, I was glad. I do not miss your speeches. I love them. Creative writing. Solid content. And, impeccable delivery are the hallmarks of your speeches. Last night, my interest in your address heightened because you were about to address an important national issue that has been raging for weeks.

When the national anthem played, I sat back to, as usual, savour a well-prepared dish of literary meal with substance. When you signed off, however, I felt, for the first time, that I had wasted my time listening to you. With all due respect, you wasted my ears and precious airtime!

Your speech lacked substance. It was empty. This was my initial reaction, which I posted on Facebook immediately you ended your address.

Mr. President, your address was more of an attack on your political opponents than an attempt to convince the very citizens you have charged not to be spectators in the affairs of the republic. You seemed to have lumped together everybody with dissenting views and tarred them with a harsh and brutish political brush of words. You said you were outraged, but your tone was more of an arrogance of power than anger. You have no moral right to be angry when the people whose power you exercise question the propriety of your action.

Anytime you’re tempted to forget to whom the power belongs, remember that in 2016, you could not stop rowdy party opponents from pelting your house with stones, but today you have the power to change the name of the most important edifice in Ghana. Remember that in 2016, your political opponent had the power to release the Montie 3 from jail after they had been sentenced by the Supreme Court for contempt, but in 2018, he could not succeed in negotiating a bail for his party’s deputy general secretary. The power you have belongs to the people.

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