The Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah is of the view that the use of intemperate language by politicians is to convey to electorates that they are tough and have what it takes to lead.
According to Mr Braimah, these statements that set the tone for physical violence appear to be sought after by members of the general public.
“It does appear to me that increasingly, what is happening is people resorting to pro-violence language, hard-hitting language to prove that they are tough and it appears that perhaps that is what the followers would want to hear to prove that we have a candidate who is tough, we have a candidate who doesn’t fear, a candidate who is prepared to go all out,” he said.
His comments come at a time when Ghanaians have expressed conflicting opinions to a recent comment by former President John Mahama which many have described as insidious.
The 2020 NDC Presidential candidate during his thank you tour on September 7, reiterated his suspicion that the opposition political party was “clearly robbed” but accepted the Supreme Court’s verdict “for the sake of peace.”
Speaking on Techima-based Akina FM, Mr John Mahama added that “I want to state here that the next elections would be won or lost at the polling station. So at the polling station, it will be ‘do or die’. I am not saying ‘all die be die’. I’m saying it will be ‘do or die’ because the right thing must be done.”
For members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), his comment is in bad taste and undemocratic and are demanding a retraction.
But the former President says there is no need for retraction as his statement is an idiomatic expression meant to inform NDC executives to be vigilant at the polling stations to ensure that the next election is not rigged.
“What I’m saying is, NDC must not wait to go to the Supreme Court. We have to be vigilant at the polling station and collation centres. And so I don’t retract. The next election for NDC is going to be a do or die affair,” he said.
Speaking on JoyNews‘ PM Express on Tuesday, the Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa, noted that the controversial comment from John Mahama comes as no surprise because of the current demand although he, as a former statesman has been known to be a man who speaks against such actions.
“President Mahama by nature and given that we know him during his days in Parliament and as spokesperson of the party, I don’t know him to be somebody who dabbles in these kinds of expressions. But that should tell you the extent to which party supporters think that the way to go is to use hard-hitting language. That could also be motivated by the fact that NPP leads in 2016, they won, lead in 2020 and they win so, I am not surprised that President Mahama will begin to go this route in terms of this cause.”
He further explained to host, Evans Mensah that persons who have been identified as most abusive are those praised the most in their political parties.
“So if you look at the 2020 data, for example, you would see Chairman Wontumi, as one of the topmost persons in terms of abusive language. You would see Abrobye DCE, you would see Kennedy Agyapong.”
Regardless of where such comments originate, Mr Sulemana Braimah has advised against the use of verbal abuse. He stated that when it loses its potency, the only option would be physical abuse.
“Because it is verbal, we seem to say that there is no problem. If we begin to say that violence only if it is verbal is okay, then we are virtually preparing the grounds for the translation of verbal violence into physical violence.
“When people are used to verbal violence and its potency can no longer do anything, then the next level is who is more effective when it comes to physical violence. That is the stage we don’t want to get to. That is why we are discouraging the use of abusive language in our politics so that we can focus on issues. Right now, it seems to me winning an election perhaps is not determined by the quality of your ideas, but by how much you can abuse, insult and prove that you are tough verbally,” he concluded.
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