If you only use the Internet – and especially Ghanaweb– as your main source of news about the 7 December 2012 Ghana election, you will be making a great mistake.You would get the impression that the election campaign is full of vitriol and that Ghanaians are holding each other by the throat, rancorously daring one another to “vote for the wrong party and see.”
Question: Did Nana Addo spend a year at Oxford University on a government scholarship?Answer: No! He was sent there by his own father.Question: Then, why is it that if he left Oxford after one year of his own volition after going there of his own volition! — and even his enemies have published the fact that Oxford has confirmed that he was NOT expelled from the University! — the propagandists are going on as if he wasted any funds contributed by the Ghanaian taxpayer? Did the Government contribute to his upkeep?
Answer: No. He only cost his own father a few bob.Question: Did the father complain to anyone — especially these NDC propagandists — that his son had ‘wasted’ his money?Answer: No! The father was a very worldly-wise man, and must have chalked up the son’s one year at Oxford as a worth-while experience. Indeed, he would have known, being an Oxford man himself, that he was luckier than some of the most prominent people in Britain, whose progeny were regularly “sent down” from Oxbridge! But being “sent down” doesn’t prevent them from taking up very good jobs in politics or the City. In fact, unlike the anti-Akufo Addo brigade, some of the brighter Britons generally regard the “University of life” as a better place for a good education, than the ‘cloistered walls’ of Universities!
Question: When he left Oxford, did Nana Akuffo Addo obtain university education somewhere else?Answer: Yes, he studied at the Sorbonne, in Paris, where he acquired French, and also at the University of Ghana, Legon.Question: So, if he obtained such a broad education from three different Universitiers in three different countries, then why are people talking so much about his exit from Oxford after one year?Answer: Obviously, they are jealous of Nana Addo! They wish THEY had had the opportunity to go to Oxford. They cannot conceive of the idea that someone could leave Oxford after only one year and still amount to something in the world! They are judging him by their own limited yardstick!Question: Has Nana Addo amounted to ‘something’ in the world, despite leaving Oxford early?Answer: Go and read the Ghana Law Reports and see the important cases he’s been involved in as a lawyer!I would never have thought that the NDC propaganda machine would be so full of would-be snobs! They want to diss a man who went to the Sorbonne, the stamping ground of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoire, among some of the brightest brains in the world, because he did not leave Oxford with a degree….I mean….
Question: So why are they doing it?Answer: Because they want to insinuate, darkly, without providing any evidence, that he did something ‘wrong’ at Oxford. They say he didn’t mention his one year at Oxford in his curriculum vitae.Question: But don’t people only put their achievements on their CV? Whom would you impress with an entry that says, “Left Oxford after one year”? Are these people mad or something?Answer: Yes – I suppose they would only be satisfied if Nana Addo cluttered his CV with such negatives as:
“I did not bed (sleep with) Simone de Beauvoire at the Sorbonne!“I did not go to the Place Pigalle every night to pick up prostitutes when I was studying in Paris!“And I was never fished out of the Seine River in Paris at 3 a.m. in the morning, smelling strongly of absinthe!”
And she danced a little jig from her shapely hips down. I hid my mouth, unable to stop laughing.
Another interesting discovery I made on my recent trip is that the maturity with which Ghanaians are approaching politics these days is sometimes quite astoundingly breath-taking. Whereas in the past, politics could break family ties, to say nothing of the bonds of friendship, the same cannot be said of today. The evidence for this is that the spokespersons of both President John Mahama and his main opponent, Nana Akufo Addo, are siblings!Yes — they are John Jinapor (Spokesperson for Mahama and the senior brother) and Samuel Abu Jinapor (spokesperson for Nana Addo, and the younger of the two brothers)!
It says much, not just for the two brothers, but also for their respective employers, that they can accept that no person should be judged merely on the basis of his family relationships, or other associations, only, but on the basis of his own actions and performance.I doff my hat to all of them and commend their political maturity to the rest of their followers, some of whom regard party politics as a dirty game to be carried out as if it was a vendetta waged by “blood enemies”. I am sure that both Nana Addo and President Mahama – as well as the two Jinapors – get their ears full of silly denunciations of their situation, by intolerant or fanatical members of their own parties. The brothers, in particular, must hold on to their positions in a steadfast manner, for they are setting a really good example to all Ghanaians, in terms of sheer political tolerance. Well, it shouldn’tsurprise us, should it? Who invented the “skirt and blouse”* way of voting? Not the ordinary men and women of Ghana?
*(‘Skirt and blouse’ is a sophiosticated way of voting, whereby the same person can vote for a presidential candidate from one party but yet vote for a different parliamentary candidate from another party!)
I end this article with a heartfelt plea to our so-called journalists and — especially the pamphleteers masquerading as journalists: Please, whatever you do, do not invent news. In an election campaign, there are so many issues that can be used to fight your opponents. So there is no need to resort to the invention of falsehood or the distortion of the truth in such a manner that you attribute statements to people who have never entertained the ideas you claim they possess. SUCH ACTIONS DISCREDIT ALL JOURNALISTS and earn us the distrust of the public.
By the same token, propagandists should desist from deliberately lying about things their parties have not done. It is unedifying, for instance, for the NDC to have claimed to be distributing free laptops to individuals in institutions (who do not exist) and then have to come back to publicly “correct” what were called “anomalies” in the exercise. Above all, the NDC should remember that it is public money that was used to obtain the laptops and that their distribution should therefore be done scrupulously on the basis of objective criteria and not to achieve cheap party political advantage.