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From the March 2000 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 47, No. 3)

GHANA

The Pot and the Kettle

Barry Shelby, World Press Review contributing editor


Recent press comment in Ghana has focused on speeches by President Jerry John Rawlings attacking the opposition for indulging in the “politics of acrimony.” This is the proverbial pot calling the kettle black, according to the independent weekly Ghanaian Chronicle of Accra (Jan. 12).

“We find nothing wrong with a leader exhorting his people to eschew bitterness and rancor in their practice of politics. But we find everything wrong with a leader making such exhortations when he himself and the political party he leads are second to none in their pursuit of politics with bitterness and vindictiveness….and even brute force against those who cross him in the political arena.”

“Sometimes one is at a loss what to make of [Rawling’s] speeches…, whether to take him seriously or not, or even if he himself wants his listeners to take him seriously,” says the Chronicle

Some observers think that Rawlings’s departure from prepared text gets him into trouble.

Eddie Fisher writes in his “Serious Business” column for the rightest weekly Free Press of Accra (Dec. 24-30), “Many Ghanaians have been genuinely worried about the president’s propensity to...speak extempore, which is mostly full of invectives.” Given that Rawlings and his wife are “the worse offenders as far as [public] insults are concerned,” Fisher says that if he “is now calling a cease-fire, then he himself should set the ball rolling.”

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