NPP v. Adakabre Frempong Manso et al
by Kwabena Opong
When the NPP announced its intention to boycott Neat FM and Okay FM shows of Adakabre Frempong Manso and Kwame Nkrumah Tikesie, it became fodder for political discourse. After a few ten or so days the intensity has died down. No surprises there. That is Ghanaian press. The only media house that went further to probe into the issue was Joy FM’s interview of Adakabre, and that was after the latter had accused Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo as having threatened his life.
The facts of the matter were laid bare by the NPP. The party was unhappy with the way they were presented by the duo on their broadcast. If you have listened to Adakabre on his Neat FM afternoon program as well as Kwame Nkrumah Tikesie on his morning talk show, you only come out to conclude that the two guys are out for the NPP’s jugular. Even as the party has instructed its communication teams not to discuss damaging information about the party on radio for the sake of party unity, these two rather relish doing otherwise on the platform of free speech.
If the duo or their employer had declared that the two programs were anti-NPP platforms as some have openly done, the NPP would not have resorted to boycotting. The party, I believe would not send anyone in the first place. Most people are missing the facts. It is essentially a rights issue. Shades of opinions have been given on the matter. There arethose who claim to be apolitical but would rather hypocritically condemn NPP’s action as too highhanded and self-righteous. I say to those: the same rights the duo utilized their platforms for are the same rights the NPP also chose to exercise. The NPP does not advocate that those two be stripped of their free speech rights, what the Americans call their first amendment rights. A University of Ghana lecturer would rather the NPP returned to the programs because according to him, the two programs command a large audience. He never alludes to the right of the NPP to refuse any invitations to the two stations because they were not comfortable with the treatment they would receive. I wonder if the lecturer ever listened to any of their broadcasts to urge the NPP to reconsider rescinding its decision on grounds of what? Democracy?
Of course NPP gadfly Arthur Kobina Kennedy has joined in the fray as usual severely chastising the NPP for its decision. The NPP is wrong because its critics say so notwithstanding the harm intended. The NPP has the same rights, as do Adakabre and Kwame Nkrumah Tikesie, to decide for the good of the party. For the better part of 2014 and 2015, never a day passed without the two inviting NPP trouble makers to ruffle the already muddied waters of the party. Always!! On several occasions Adakabre, for instance, was reprimanded by listeners for his open bias against the NPP. He was at least professional enough to read some of the text messages. Sometimes too he would be angry and scream at those who called to question his motives. Nkrumah faces the same responses. Why they chose to continue to annoy or to frustrate the NPP in an election year only they could tell.
The Media Foundation for West Africa on its part questions why the two are still on air. I remember listening to Adakabre one afternoon and coming to the same conclusion as the MFWA after two people he called to confirm a point turned out to insult him. On another occasion, he had a spat with Hon. O. B. Amoah who he accused of openly supporting a candidate for a position in the NPP. Adakabre played a tape supposedly from Europewhose origin he could not authenticate nor confirm disgracing ex-President J. A. Kufuor. Of course, he received backlash from some listeners but he never relented. He seemed to be so keen on his agenda. For his own political purposes he has inserted himself in the suspension issues in the NPP openly supporting Paul Afoko, Kwabena Agyapong and Sammy Crabbe and inviting their supporters who come armed with harmful information to the party. Someone has asked: for someone who claims allegiance to the CPP why bother with what goes on in the NPP?
The MFWA comments that the NPP must have reported the two to the National Media Commission. What could the NMC do to dissuade the two from pursuing their paid agenda? And judging from the makeup of the NMC could the NPP receive any justice? It is strange how the management of the two radio stations always jumps to the rescue of their recalcitrant employees. Same was done for Afia Schwarzenegger after her spat with Hon. Kennedy Agyepong. Why would the Despite Group become apologists for their erring boys and girls? Is the Group in on their acts? In an election year when every political party is trying its best to woo voters; at a time when the need for change has become very imminent, it is criminal to support journalists who for a pittance insist on the status quo for their own little comforts. So much has happened in the NDC these past few years that would, in any country, do considerable harm to the ruling party but Messrs. Adakabre and Tikesie choose to look elsewhere. I say to the duo, hearken to the words of a great statesman: “The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807.