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Pardoning the Montie 3, an August surprise from the president


Well, the president has sprung an August surprise on us—pardoning the Montie trio with a nod from the council of elders, a fact we should not gloss over when discussing the pardon. Shrewd as the president is,  he made sure he had somebody to give the stamp of approval to his decision, and the council of elders was more than willing to oblige.

Predictably, the pardon ignited a chain of reactions from the usual camps; a vociferous euphoria from the president’s side of the aisle, and unrestrained condemnation from the other side. Come what may, the president has acted on an issue I would rather he hadn’t touched with a ten foot pole only because it is divisive and polarizing, its ignominious qualities.

Whether the president will pay a heavy electoral price for his decision as some of his critics are steadfastly maintaining remains to be seen. A president with a 50 percent approval rating, amidst an economic down turn and other troubling indicators, must be doing something right. He has an enormous support base that will rally to his side at the drop of a hat come December.

Ghanaians have already made up their minds as to who they will cast their votes for. Nothing at this stage, not even a rigorous vilification of the president’s decision to grant pardon to the Montie radio-head and his two accomplices, will change that dynamic. The nation is divided evenly between the two major political entities, the NPP and the NDC, and that will be the deciding factor in the coming elections.

My fervent wish is that now that the president has taken this momentous decision, he would address Ghanaians in a national broadcast and explain why he made that move. Of course, that would appeal to his supporters and turn off his opponents.

But ultimately, the messages behind the broadcast will be loud and clear; presidents are allowed by the constitution to grant pardons by invoking article 72 and he did just that. There was nothing malicious or partisan about the decision, the president should inform his country men and women.

Mr Mahama could also use the broadcast to remind the nation that the judiciary is still independent of the executive, and his decision does not in any way, undermine its authority. But crucially, the president could seize this opportunity to remind the Ghanaian media to discharge its duties without hatred and prejudice.

In the final analysis, the hope is that three amigos have been chastened by their nearly three weeks incarceration. They sure have learned a lesson; that it does not pay to play hard ball. Journalism is about telling truth to power and holding it accountable.

Jarring as it is, their punishment would,with all certainty, be a wake up call to Ghanaian reporters not to dabble in rumors, threats and the peddling of falsehoods. The journalism profession which some of us cherish with all our hearts, must not be stained by a few disgruntled political operatives.



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