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10.06.2021 Feature Article

What is propaganda, and what exactly is ‘fix the country?'

What is propaganda, and what exactly is ‘fix the country?'
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The meaning of propaganda traces its roots to the “Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide”- a committee of Cardinals founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV to oversee the spread of Catholicism abroad, by any means necessary.

Consequently, the word propaganda came to mean the concerted effort to spread any belief Propagandists are associated with. Thus propaganda is regarded as "a deliberate attempt to alter or maintain a balance of power that is advantageous to the propagandists."

Propaganda can also be defined in its most neutral and simple sense as “the persuasive dissemination of particular ideas or material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause.”

In other words, “propagandism” is the systematic propagation of a doctrine or information reflecting the views and interests of those propagating such information or doctrine.

The experts however contend that a message can be classified as propaganda if it “suggests something negative and dishonest”.

The preceding definitions invariably summarise Hitler’s observation on propaganda. Hitler observed: "With the help of a skilful and continuous application of propaganda, it is possible to make the people conceive even of heaven as hell (Adolf Hitler)."

Apparently, the Rwandan genocide, the Bosnian conflict, the Holocaust (the barbaric crime against the Jews) and the devastation that befell the Americans’ on September 11 2001 were all facilitated by propagandistic gimmicks.

While propaganda was first prosecuted as an international crime during the Nuremburg Trials, it was not officially prohibited by international law until the adoption of Article 20 of the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1966.

In as much as the purpose of propaganda may be as benign as the encouragement of party supporters by leaders’ to resist any form of violence, or show patriotic pride, propaganda can also have a darker side.

Indeed, wars, crimes and genocides against humanity are arguably expedited through the use of propaganda aimed at securing popular support for illegal and violent action.

This can be witnessed in the modern era. For we can attest to the Nazi propaganda which preceded the Holocaust, the Radio and Television propaganda which preceded the Rwandan Genocide and al-Qaeda propaganda which preceded the attacks on ‘World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001.

Ghana, indeed, has social amenities and infrastructure deficit mainly due to habitual lack of care by the successive governments since attaining independence in 1957.

Take, for example, since regaining the independence from the British in 1957, the NDC tradition (PNDC and NDC) had governed Ghana more than any other tradition I can think of. In fact, that tradition had governed Ghana for approximately 27 years out of Ghana’s 64 years with a little to show for.

So what else would make the same people who failed abysmally to fix the country jump on the bandwagon and impertinently breathe down the neck of the incumbent government to fix all the problems since 1957 within four years? How unfair and unreasonable?

Some of us, as a matter of principle, cannot get our heads around how and why the NDC loyalists, who could not work their socks off before leaving power a short while ago, would muster all the courage and accuse the current administration of Ghana’s underdevelopment. Isn’t it a sign of irresponsibility?

In fact, anyone who has a passing familiarity with the revoltingly ugly events which took place during the erstwhile NDC administration will be extremely surprised to hear that the NDC faithful are evocatively accusing the incumbent NPP government of not doing enough to turn around Ghana’s economic fortunes.

It is extremely baffling to keep hearing and reading from the same people who wilfully collapsed the once thriving economy (Moved the economic growth from 14% in 2011 to 3.4% in 2016) up in arms and shouting from the roof top about the current state of Ghana’s economy just after four years of exiting power.

How could individuals who disgustingly send Ghana’s economy deeper and deeper into the mire turn around and accuse the NPP government of economic mismanagement?

Well, considering the fact that the erstwhile NDC government left a huge debt amid massive economic meltdown, one would have expected the same people who wilfully caused such a mess to show a little remorse and refrain from accusing the NPP government of not turning the economy around quickly.

Strangely, however, the NDC operatives are all over the place nagging, grumbling and censuring the NPP government for perceived slow pace in development in a little over four years in office.

The fact however remains that if the corrupt and greedy officials of the erstwhile NDC government (four people have since been convicted and sentenced) had not squandered the funds meant for various developmental projects, the NPP government would have enough funds at its disposal to undertake a lot of developmental projects.

There is absolutely nothing surprising for the critics to argue that the NDC faithful, who apparently take pride in the social democratic ideology, are not in the business of promoting the welfare of the masses, but are rather on a mission to advance their parochial interests by persistently hoodwinking the unsuspecting voters to gain electoral advantage.

One would have thought that individuals who pride themselves as social democrats will be extremely empathetic to the needs of the masses, but this has not been the case with the NDC apparatchiks.

In fact, I find it extremely difficult to comprehend how and why any political party worth its salt would persistently resort to propagation of vile propaganda with the view to winning political power.

Are they still taking the good people of Ghana for granted?

Why can’t they stick to issue-based politics and produce facts and figures to buttress their claims?

How long would they keep insulting the intelligence of the good people of Ghana?

Dearest reader, tell me, how can a political party, seriously vying for power, keep criticising the government in power without proffering any alternative solutions to problems?

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” (Adolf Hitler).

References:
Blank, J. S., Grinter, E. L, Magyar, P. K, Ware, B. L, and Weathers, E. B, (2002) The Cultural and Historical Causes of Conflicts

Hayden, M. R. (2002) “Antagonistic Tolerance: Competitive Sharing of Religious Sites in South Asia and the Balkans”

Marks, S. P. (1998) “From the "Single Confused Page" to the "Decalogue for Six Billion Persons: The Roots of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the French Revolution

Reynolds, D. (2002) “From World War to Cold War: The Wartime Alliance and Post-War Transitions, 1941-1947”

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