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President Mahama should resist pressure to tilt one way or the other in the Montie 3 case


Two weeks into the Montie Radio saga, the President, Mr John Mahama is facing head-on pressure from varied interest groups to do something. The president is being dragged, kicking and screaming, I believe, into the fray by groups that desperately want him to tilt one way or the other on the issue.

While one group wants the president to pardon the three men who were sentenced to four months in jail by the Supreme Court for contempt, the other group would rather the president stays as far away from a presidential pardon as possible to avoid what one lawyer describes as a constitutional crisis.

Both groups are highly partisan, obviously towing their party’s line and Mr. Mahama ought to tread carefully. Unfortunately he has been thrust into a very difficult situation, and whatever he does will surely be met with vehement condemnation from one group or unflappable praise from the other. I certainly don’t begrudge him, poor Mr. Mahama.

Nonetheless, the president has an opportunity here to showcase his political bona fides as a principled leader or a spineless and opportunistic politico. He should, when he decides to weigh in on the current brouhaha, indicate whether he abides by our national constitution by siding with the Supreme Court’s decision to send Mugabe, Gunn and Alistair to jail or demonstrate his unfailing loyalty to the NDC with a presidential pardon.

But this is what I would strongly urge the president to do if he finally reaches a decision to inform the nation on his stance on the issue: he should use the occasion, a national radio and television broadcast will an opportune and ideal time to scold those who have created the toxic political environment that invariably birthed Mugabe and other acerbic radio talking heads.

Failing that, Mr. Mahama would have squandered a golden opportunity to sanitize the corrosive and absurdly crazy political scene we currently have in Ghana.

We are at this difficult moment in our national history because our Supreme Court has this tendency to dabble in public policy issues, it just cannot shy away from politics or maintain a healthy distance from the political ramblings.

In hindsight, the court should have never entertained the lawsuit brought by Mr Abu Ramadan, against the Electoral Commission, knowing full well its potential to inflame passions on both sides of the political divide.

Mr. Ramadan or his legal representative should have been told firmly, perhaps behind close doors, that his legal tussle with the EC would bring unforeseen consequences and therefore should be shelved.

What is more, Justice Sophia Akuffo woefully failed in her summation to rebuke the rabble-rousers in the major political parties for contributing to the coarse and ugly political atmosphere.

This was a good time to train the spot light on those hell bent on creating havoc in our nation. Instead, the good judge spent the entire time lecturing and bashing the three men, the Ghanaian media and the attorney general.

There are other ways to punish a radio station for the contents of its broadcast. Go after its advertisers. Radio stations rely primarily on the money that advertisers pay them. Take this money away, and radio stations will die a slow, painful death.

For those who were particularly disturbed by Alistair and Gunn’s outbursts, the best they could have done was to go after those who advertise on Mugabe’s show and pressure, coerce and gently push them to stop advertising on his show.

Slowly but surely, if management is not getting the kind of cash it expects from Mugabe’s show, it would cancel it. That is what is done elsewhere except, of course in Ghana, where everything is the other way.

Sentencing Mugabe and the other two men to jail is nothing short of a band aid. It would not solve the problem of loud and boisterous radio presenters.

Well, it is too late now. The Supreme Court has plunged the nation into another crisis, unwarranted, of course and it will take the goodwill and big hearts of Ghanaians to move on.

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