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Mustapha Hamid’s apology. Signal of a new dawn in our political discourse?


mustaphaHamidLast year’s election campaign was marred by its nasty, coarse, repulsive language and ugly divisiveness. It was a broad strategy employed by the political parties to win over voters and clear a path to victory. To this end, they tried to outdo each other, to see who could hurl the most vile invective and lob the most nasty insults.

The main culprits were the two major political behemoths, the ruling NPP and its arch nemesis, the NDC. Appalling as their behavior was, it was a foregone conclusion that the parties were going to mix it up and act “stupid.” After all, the electoral prize, the presidency was hugely attractive. The smaller parties, though bit players, also contributed to the poisoned political atmosphere, they were just as vicious and mean spirited, but their role was minimal.

Ghanaians were appalled at the puerile behavior of their politicians who despite pleas from a cross section of the citizenry, including many clergymen, to tone it down, to reduce the rhetoric, kept slinging mud, engaging in broadsides and calling each other awful names.

Much of the venom was directed at two targets, the presidential candidates, Mr. Akuffo Addo and Mr. John Mahama. The two men suffered indignities and character assassination. Their surrogates and henchmen were at the forefront of the ugly campaign to tear each man down. Civility was thrown overboard, and pettiness became the order of the day; it was a sad and pitiful spectacle.

In fact, such was the animosity between the parties that there was palpable fear of protracted violence breaking out. Mercifully, cooler heads prevailed, and the election was peaceful. The ugliness of the campaign is now confined to the scrapheap of our national history.

So, it is with much elation that I welcome news that one of the main architects of the NPP’s nasty campaign, Mr. Mustapha Hamid, information minister designate, has apologized for the ugly tone of his party’s campaign and for personally calling former president Mahama, an ethnic bigot.

Admitting that the overall conduct of the campaign was crass and uncalled for, Mr. Hamid told members of the Vetting Committee in parliament that:

“I regret the polluted political environment that enables people from both sides of the political divide to throw such invective into the public space and poison the atmosphere. I regret that environment very much. If by your grace I am minister, Insha Allah, I shall work to rid our environment of such pollution.”

Brave words, refreshing and downright gratifying, if only Mr. Hamid will keep his promise to stay above the fray. He will be a representative of the government, and his eventual responsibilities as the information minister and a mouth piece for the president —his spokesman, will undoubtedly make him the government’s most visible presence in public. There will therefore be an absolute need to exercise prudent judgment and full restraint in the face of provocations.

Let us hope that this is the dawn of a new political atmosphere in our country; the government has taken the first step, the initiative to heal the wounds it helped open by  the relentless vitriol. It is now the turn of the opposition NDC to offer an olive branch.









Ghanaian voters were naturally turned off by this

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