If the story about the overnight detention of Ernest Owusu-Bempah, and his being charged for spreading false news likely to "cause fear and panic" are true, then Ghana's reputation as one of Africa's most liberal societies, in which civil society groups and ordinary citizens guard the right to freedom of expression jealously, has unfortunately taken another battering.
Now, yet another chancer - and self-confessed liar, one gathers - whose critics say seems to see the media as a fast route up the greasy pole, and, according to those selfsame critics, is an opportunist with absolutely no regard for the truth, who has apparently latched on to politics for what he can get out of it, has needlessly been made a martyr.
And like others of his ilk in the media detained before him in similar circumstances - and who plumb the depths of extreme bad taste with their endless dissimulation - his unnecessary detention will be ruthlessly exploited for propaganda purposes, by the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) perfidious communications team. Talk about scoring an own goal.
And it will all be because of the usual lack of care shown by the inept individuals who handle communications at the Osu Castle - who give one the unfortunate impression, neither think things through properly, nor ever fully weigh their implications.
If they wanted to stop any harm being done to the reputation of the First Lady, would it not have been more effective, just putting out a full list, of all those who received various sums of money from Woyome's judgement-debt payment bonanza?
Would that not have been rock-solid evidence to expose what is said to be a blatant lie - whose author apparently admits as much, one gathers? In the end, is all they have achieved, not simply been to end up succeeding in lumbering their hapless regime, with another albatross hanging round its collective neck?
Do those geniuses not still understand that in a democracy, when dubious media-types besmirch others with their falsehood, instead of the usual knee-jerk reaction of cracking-a-nut-with-a-sledgehammer, in which the police are lent on (by power-drunk individuals in high places who ought to know better) to detain and press charges against such charlatans, prudence dictates that those whose hard-won reputations are damaged unfairly, ought to be simply encouraged to sue their accusers for libel, in the law courts?
Why did the sodden Osu Castle communications team not simply advise the First Lady's lawyers to put out a statement denying what is said to be a false allegation, and furthermore, suggest to them that they tell the world that she will be seeking redress in the law courts, for the damage done so unfairly to her hard-won reputation, and make sure that that is promptly done?
In any case, what self-respecting judge in the Ghana of today, will convict any individual brought before him or her, by the police, for causing "fear and panic" - merely by falsely alleging that our honest First Lady received money from the infamous judgement-debt payment made to Woyome, I ask? Or, more to the point, causing "fear and panic" in whom, exactly, dear reader?
Now their short-sightedness and ineptness has guaranteed that this pure nonsense-on-bamboo-stilts tittle-tattle, from that garrulous leading light of FONKAR (Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings), will gain a life of its own - and a smart Alec, said to be a loose-tongue with no shame by his detractors, will milk it for all its worth to him, till kingdom come. Pity.
The days when the British colonialists occupied our country, are long gone - and it is time the highly-educated professionals in the top echelons of the Ghana Police Service, stopped doing the dirty work of the blackguards amongst our political class' dirty work, for them.
The top brass in the Ghana Police Service, really ought to make the manipulation of what is a law enforcement body recognised by the constitution, by those in power, a thing of the past. It does their image no good at all, when they allow themselves to be prevailed on by politicians to do their bidding.
One also hopes that it will be impressed upon the Osu Castle communications team - who will then understand clearly henceforth - that it is best to leave the police out of such matters: and, above all, that as democrats, they must never put themselves in a situation in which they can be accused by their opponents, of seeking to bring back the dubious and undemocratic ends, previously sought by the repealed criminal libel laws, through the back-door - using a pernicious catch-all colonial-era law (on actions and words said to be likely to cause fear and panic amongst the general public), as perfect legal cover. A word to the wise...
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