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John Kumah
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The speed with which news about an NPP activistís arrest spread around the country and the accompanying disdain for the action by a cross-section of the citizenry underscores the repugnance of Ghanaians to the culture of silence.

Ghanaians left that state of politics many years ago and do not intend returning to it again. That was why they opted for democracy.

There might be challenges in our application of the freedom of expression as a component of democracy, but these are not enough to warrant its mishandling by oppressors or insincere politicians. Regardless of the shortcomings of democracy, Ghanaians prefer a challenged freedom of expression to a state enforced culture of silence.

The event of last Wednesday is an apt example of governmentís intolerance of divergent views and remarks it deems unpalatable.

Even if President Mills ordered the release of the suspect, as propagandists want us to believe, after his arrest and detention at the CID Headquarters, having had him arrested in the first place makes nonsense of the so-called good natured gesture if it really passes for one.

We think that in subsequent days, especially when the President is saturated with similar unpalatable remarks, he could just snap and order the arrest of his opponents. We pray that matters do not graduate to a level as to cause the President to go on rampage and turn the countryís democracy into a laughing stock. We do not want the international community to downgrade our governance rating.

For many Africa watchers, Ghana is an exceptional case in tolerance of divergent views but this we think is beginning to wane.

We are not by any stretch of imagination supportive of the abrasive polemics featuring in local politics today. The insults and outright lies against opponents, sometimes by persons holding top government appointments and the vice versa, are disturbing.

We have had cause to complain about this trend in our body-politic and regret that change in the conduct of those perpetrating it is nowhere near in sight.

President Mills, who has on some occasions complained about the trend, has gone to the extent of hosting religious leaders on the subject. Regrettably, he is yet to convince many Ghanaians about his sincerity in stemming the worrying tide.

We recall the insulting remarks spewed by the Presidentís own spokesperson when he vented his spleen on Dr. Ekwow Spio-Gabrah and even on former President Kufuor.

Unfortunately, the President did not squirm, let alone react to the bad conduct of his subordinate. One of his ministers lashed at an opposing political partyís scribe and in the event insulted the indigenes of a particular part of the country.

We were shocked by the silence of the President in all the foregone and would therefore remain steadfast in our stance that his approach to indecency in local politics cannot pass a credibility and sincerity test.

Until the presidentís hounds are tethered, we should expect the political temperature to rise further. As for the flash arrests and discharge, they only add more scum to the image of the government.
Source: d-guide (editorial)

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