Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has called for a thorough consideration of the remarks by Sir Samuel Essson Jonah, over his recent claims that a culture of silence has crept back into the country with journalists and others afraid to talk about the ills in the Ghanaian society.
Mr Kufuor, described Mr Jonah, Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital, an equity fund based in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a very responsible high member of the community to say that, it should not be treated casually.
"For Sam, very responsible high member of the community to say that, it should not be treated casually…he must have something he is advocating and it is not for me to dispute him, I am just saying when you allege you prove it, you don't put it all on government as such," the former president added.
Jonah made the comments as part of a speech he delivered as a special guest of honour for a Rotary International event that took place over the weekend.
Kufuor is, however, happy that Sir Jonah is able to freely express himself despite the perceived culture of silence which he insists those that allege exist, must prove.
Speaking on a Citi TV interview, snippets of which were played on the station's Monday night 'The Point of View' program hosted by Bernard Avle, Kufuor also asked Ghanaians to be circumspect with how they accuse the government of crimes or complicity in the same.
"They have their experiences [relating to the culture of silence] so I am in no position to say what they are saying is unfounded. But for a man like Sam to speak like the way you are citing him or quoting him…would suggest perhaps he has some evidence. "But at least he is talking, he is there to speak. They say freedom is not handed on a silver platter, you sometimes have to fight for it," he added.
Kufuor also tasked the media to stand and sit up to its responsibilities of championing public interest: "This is part of the uses of the media that we are speaking about, to dare to speak up. To uphold public interest, public interest being we are independent sovereign people, why should anybody try to bottle us up?
What did Sir Sam Jonah say about the culture of silence? In the past, when all had failed, academia was the last vanguard. We all remember the role that the Legon Observer played. Under the hallowed cloak of academic freedom, men and women of conscience could write and speak words that penetrated the halls of power.
It appears to me that in recent times in our fourth Republican dispensation, the courage to stand up for the truth and the determination to uphold the common good is lost. In our dark moments as a nation, it is concerning that the voices of the intellectuals are receding into oblivion.
Sadly, it is a consequence of the deep partisan polarization of our country such that everything is seen through the lenses of politics. It appears to me that the culture of silence has returned. This time, not enforced by legal and military power, but through convenience, parochialism, hypocrisy and lack of conviction. Where are our Adu Boahens and PV Ansah's?
For the last couple of months business mogul, Dr Kofi Amoah has been championing an agenda to have the country stop borrowing for consumption.
He currently has a loan petition up and running on social media where he is calling on well-meaning Ghanaians to sign and impress on the government to stop the excessive borrowing.
That fight by Dr Amoah dubbed "Ghana Beyond Debt' seemed lonely had seemed until Mr. Jonah waded into the conversation after speaking loudly on the country's rising debt stock, despondency, joblessness and a plethora of other issues confronting the nation.
Taking to his social media on Sunday, April 25 Dr Amoah said: "The obvious thing to do, when it seems you're the only lone voice out there, is to give up! Kudos to Sir Sam Jonah for adding his eminent voice to Ghana's enormous Debt that's choking our present and future but citizens seem not to care." Dr Amoah's message has been simple all the while.
He insists that with no clear plan borrowing only cripples a country's economy and future. He said, "Ghana Awake, a new slogan that we must ponder deeply, n replace with a mindset for progress ought to be: GHANA BEYOND DEBT, RETHINK! We will set up a money system that will shut them down forever, keeping them and their children in debt ~ Rockefeller." Dr Amoah's concerns were carried by Sir Sam Jonah who delivered a speech at the Rotary Club over the weekend.
In a speech titled 'Sam Jonah: Down the up escalator – Reflections on Ghana's future by a senior citizen", the mining tycoon said he feared for the future of this country because of the joblessness that abounds.
He stated, "I am afraid that unless there are clear plans to ensure that the economy creates jobs a sense of hopelessness and helplessness will be the lot of our children and grandchildren. The debt will suffocate them. This is what concerns me."
He continued, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the inevitable conclusion from all of this is that the sustainability of our current sources of revenue is under threat. We are borrowing huge sums of money for our children and grandchildren to pay yet we are not seeing realistic strategies that assure us of our capacity to pay back. How are the 30-year, 40-year bonds going to be paid?"