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Politics of Insults: How Did We Get Here? And How Can We Change The “Verbal onslaughts” In Politics?

Growing up in a deprived Wassa Land, I was fortunate to learn and imbibe certain values that have culminated in many personal achievements I never dreamt of. After SHS, a man called me and said, young man, I can’t watch for you to stay home because of a little challenge from your parents. Apart from supporting me sometimes in my farming and domestic activities, you are humble and respectful. You don’t have any track record of disrespect against the elderly, so I will support your education. The “respect” I have for people paid my level 100 fees at the university. This is the Ghanaian value and why this article will be of paramount importance to any reader.

Values are an integral part of society. Ghanaians place much premium on humanistic values such as family recognition, respect for the elderly, honour of traditional rulers, dignity and proper social conduct. Therefore each person is expected to be respectful and dignified in every aspect of life regardless of age, gender, religion, political background etc. It is a collective one. One that is not commanded but recommended always.
At first sight, we greet people, share pleasantries before we discuss business. This shows how people are more important than anything including business and politics. The alternative will be scary.

However, the story is different in contemporary politics and lifestyles. Tv and Radio stations invite people who do not tackle the issues before them but engage in hazy arguments and end up exchanging unpleasant words- words that are insensitive, insolent and rude. Politics in Ghana has taken a different dimension which should be looked at as a matter of urgency or else the damage it will cause will be irreparable.

According to a survey report by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), before the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, a high penchant for unsubstantiated allegations by politicians and political communicators were monitored. The report also indicated high incidents of insulting/offensive comments. Over the monitoring, a total of 2,943 radio programmes were monitored on 57 selected radio stations across the country. A total of 85 indecent expressions( unsubstantiated allegations, insulting and offensive comments, comments inciting violence and provocative remarks) were recorded by 43 individuals (MFWA, December 4, 2020). NPP recorded the highest number of indecent expressions(41) followed by NDC(13) and PPP (2).

Undoubtedly, social media platforms: WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and media sharing sites such as Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat etc. record offensive words every day. WhatsApp groups are always inundated with words of insults from political sympathizers and party faithful all the time.

 

In August 2020, an SHS student of Sekondi College in the Western Region hurled insults at the president.
The pertinent question is, what will make a young boy get the temerity to voice out such disparaging comment against a president. How did we get here? What is missing? And how can we change the verbal missiles in politics?
Many people, as a result of politics, condoned the uncultured and mediocre behaviour of the SHS student. In the Akan parlance, there is a saying that “When the road map of the road constructors doesn’t touch your property, you will say the road is straight. But one thing we must understand is that values are what build and make a country strong. A country that loses its values to politics is sitting on a time bomb that may blow up in our faces shortly.

Whenever you feel bored, visit any social media page of a top politician and read the comments that follow after a post. There is no fear in the youth anymore because of politics.

All said and done, I propose that all stakeholders, which we all are should come together and defeat this cancerous behaviour that the youth, politicians and leaders have imbibed in recent times. Protecting our values is a moral responsibility. Values are the roots of a nation.

Also, there should be effective monitoring on social media platforms, so that we can arrest and deal with people who use offensive and abusive words that can trigger violence and put the peace of the country in jeopardy.

The traditional media( radio and television) should be carefully monitored by National Security Officers. They must set up a device that records offensive language at various Tv and radio stations. They must check that they use wholesome words all the time. They must set stringent rules, a hallmark for their daily activities. Any radio and TV station that flouts the rules should be closed down.

Let us all support the war against the politics of insults that have proliferated the system in the last 2 decades and making us lose our values as Ghanaians.

Citizens should be sensitized and conscientized on appropriate social behaviour. People should be educated through radio and television stations, community information centres, etc. on the right communication practices. The world is unimaginable without social media. It gives us immediacy, direction and value as an individual. We are all now connected by the internet, like neurons in a giant brain. We must therefore use it, so as not to compromise our values and belief system.

The insults in Ghana politics has become a cankerworm, not only among politicians but the youth of the country as well, all in the so acclaimed democracy. The various media houses in the country should be on their toes to stop allowing politicians and individuals who tend to insult rather than bringing ideas that go with actions to solve our economical problems.

Parents should act like parents rather than saying the child using insults at home and school will change since he or she is a child. They should remember charity begins at home.

In all what goes around comes around, so let’s be mindful of what we say since they will come to knock and we will have no option other than to suffer for its consequences.

God bless our homeland Ghana and make it great and strong.

This is a whistle from the thinking room.

Source: Prince Ayerakwa

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