Propaganda, Lies and Ignorance

Propaganda, Lies and ignorance Propaganda, Lies and ignorance

Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang has become a poor victim of the trinity of propaganda, lies and ignorance since John Dramani Mahama had the sheer audacity to announce her as his running mate.It appears that the maxim in the circles of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is "just throw anything and everything at her" in the hope that somehow at some point, something will stick like a cancerous material and destroy her.They had calculated that John Mahama was going to pick a regular politician they had known for a long time like Professor Kwesi Botchwey or Dr. Kwabena Duffour. They had prepared to hit Dr. Botchwey in the face with the effects of the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) launched in 1983 and its twin sister called the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). Dr. Duffour would have been hit with questions on the banking sector reforms.Interestingly, John Mahama dribbled them all. He selected Naana Jane, a Professor of English who is not your regular or average politician. No one could find skeletons anywhere near her. She is not a thief and she is not a liar. She is scandal free. They were desperate. They had to do something. Naana could not be allowed to shine without blemish so they first threw in Chairman Wuntumi who struggled in extraordinary english to dent her reputation.All that Wuntumi could say was that Naana's hairstyle was not nice enough and that her kaba and sleet could not be appropriate for a Vice Presidential candidate. He even went on to say that her shoes were not nice enough.This gibberish did not go far. In fact, it didn't go anywhere as those who listened to Wuntumi paid more attention to his problems with the english language.From here Abronye took over and only succeeded in annoying all women by claiming that women going through menopause cannot think. This also collapsed very quickly.The majority leader Kyei Mensah- Bonsu's attempt at mudslinging was even more pathetic. He angered all female teachers by suggesting that they could not be trusted to hold the high office of Vice President.A lot more propagandists joined the frey and collapsed one after the other. They included those who said that Naana is not an economist and therefore cannot be Vice President; those who insisted that Ghanaian culture frowns on women being given leadership positions and those who threatened that she would die before December7.Then hail presto!Professor Kwamena Ahwoi wrote a controversial book about the old soldier, Jerry John Rawlings and managed to get Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang to write the forward to it. The jubilation in the NPP communications team started instantly. Now they taught they had something to nail Naana with. She must be made to take responsibility for the contents of the book in a childish effort to pitch her against Mr. Rawlings.As professor Gyampo of the University of Ghana explains, forewards are mere introductions to books and they do not necessarily endorse the contents. Indeed, the Oxford Thesaurus dictionary defines foreword as "noun (he wrote the foreward to one of her books) preface, introductions, prologue, preamble, opening remarks, opening statement, preliminary matters, front matters, forward matters, informal into…….."Clearly the mixture of propaganda, lies and ignorance is collapsing again and can only thrive if what Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang wrote as foreword to the book is not made available. I have read it, and is clear that it does not endorse the contents of the book in any way. She managed to distance herself from the views of fellow Professor Kwamena Ahwoi and focused attention on the technicalities of writing books including style.Here is what she wrote; "The twelve chapters and postscript that form working with Rawlings attempt to do those things that many biographies or memories or even autobiographies do. The text achieves this by tracing, recording and retelling experience as lived. The distinct feature here is that, unlike the usual biography that deals with the entire life of an individual, this text merely uses the biographical mode to focus tightly on a defined space and time of a relationship with a particular collection of events. Those events revolve around the life of the writer and that of his boss, Jerry John Rawlings, a leader who has worn many hats including that of the chairman of the PNDC to that of the founding President of the Forth Republic, in both capacities as Head of State of Ghana."Maybe the intention of working with Rawlings is to answer the simple question which many want to ask: "what was it like?" that is, working with a man who excites extreme emotions and whose life and actions have impacted our country so much. It could be a complex question, but it is also one the author answers in an accessible but thought-provoking way.In the process of narrating "what it was like' the text spans the decades of the authors close, exciting and revealing encounters with Jerry John Rawlings in all his complexity- a person tightly focused on his convictions-humane, a family man with a heart that beats and sometimes, bleeds. The book, as well, displays the authors own moments of elation, bewilderment, resolve and downright confusion, if not regret, at various elements, is filtered through the evolving relationship between the author and his subject.In the course of the narrative, the reader is, thus, made privy to the evolution of many different lives running concurrently. The reader gets the sense of something akin to and building on "two Trains Running", (to borrow the title of August Wilson's fine play) to describe what the book reveals about its two major characters. Furthermore, the text goes on to chronicle the life of another, an entity now humanized: the nation Ghana, as she also grows from a military regime to a democratic one.Whereas the average biography will dwell on one life to the exclusion of the narrator's, here we get the opportunity to witness the ebb and flow of the nature of the connection between writer and subject of investigation. Yet, even though that and the title, Working With Rawlings, seem to invite readers to focus on the duo, the pleasant surprise is what lies under the surface. It is most revealing to tack the changing landscape as it grows under different forms of governance. It is finally about three Trains Running, the author, the subject and the state.It is within this three-way trajectory that the reader is allowed into some of the most personal reactions to developing events that are necessarily shelved away from the public or might well escape the eye even of an astute journalist, as s/he prepares a synopsis for an in-depth interview.Written in clear, engaging prose, the writer invites the reader to receive the content of the narrative as an account honestly delivered. The vivid, engaging and deeply reflective eye witness account couched in unencumbered prose, brings to the fore events narrated with open honesty and transparency.The first-person narrative perspective releases the reader from the potentially uncomfortable position of an intruder to that of a trusted addressee. This is especially so as the text grounds its content in verifiable fact, at times seeking and receiving the approval of non-fictive persons.Part of the strength of Working With Rawlings may be located within the crevices of a growing body of questions for the protagonist, the author, but I daresay that, as good books do, this book will invite the readers to unearth some questions for themselves as well".Naana J. Opoku-Agyemang, Chancellor- Women's University in Africa.

Source: By: James Osegu Boateng