Monday, 29 August 2016

Intemperate Language In Ghana's Body Politic

It came as a joyous daybreak to end a long night of captivity when the world witnessed a new flag replacing the Union Jack. Those who thought it was impossible had a rude awakening when the Red, Gold, Green and the Black star was hoisted in the place of the British Flag. It was a dawn when the forebears of Ghana's independence promised in their speeches that democracy would be practised in its truest meaning. About eight centuries ago, before the Magna Carta, it was impossible to challenge those in authority either in words or in action. The future looked promising as citizens had hoped that their freedom was guaranteed. In that light, the founding fathers of this country laid down their lives and fought for its independence so democracy would be practised. After more than half a century on, the question on the lips of many is, is Ghana really practicing democracy?

Ideally, democracy is to tolerate dissenting views. It is meant to collate different ideas for a common purpose. And more often the majority carries the day in decision making. Unlike before when only monarchs and their courts made laws and decreed on their subjects, democracy seeks to give power to the subjects, and as well subject those in authority to the power of the law. Now, the king, the president, the judge, the legislator and the clergy can be questioned when they go against the laws. Democracy comes with respect for individual freedoms and rights. It is however unfortunate that some people are indulging in certain unacceptable conducts in the name of democracy.

As a result, the beauty of democracy is being destroyed. The most worrying trend is the use of abusive and intemperate language in Ghana's body politic. The jaw-jaw idea of democracy is giving way to war-war and the brain power giving way to blow power. Now, freedom of speech is expressed through insults, character assassination, mudslinging, and vitriolic rhetorics. Since the repeal of the criminal libel law, circumspection and decorum have been thrown to the dogs. The repeal of the criminal libel law has become more or less a blank cheque for reckless and unguarded comments. It is disgusting that people resort to bad mouthing those in authority and those who hold different views to theirs. Must this continue? Insults of adults and others under whatever circumstance is unGhanaian. Ghana is the centre of the world, it is the gateway to Africa. The world looks up to this country. Let us not be polarised by self-centred individuals for their parochial interest. We are the gold, when we lose our lustre through slaying one another, strangers will inherit our land. Let us interrogate, decipher and pore on conflicting views to ours. We do not come from the same home, or school and therefore our views would not be the same.

By all means, let us agree to disagree. But as a progressive society, let us see farther from what we deem as sacrosanct in our views and consider that of others. In so doing, Ghana will be great again.

BY CHARLES YEBOAH, A SOCIAL COMMENTATOR

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