22.06.2022 Feature Article

Wanted: Effective Communication Strategy For Government!

Wanted: Effective Communication Strategy For Government!
22.06.2022 LISTEN

MY OLD, rarely used and dusty Webster's Dictionary of Contemporary English Language defines communication as a social contact or the science and activity of transmitting information. If I am to go by this definition, then the NPP, as a political party, is not doing well for the government in power. The communication outfit of the party has woefully failed and must be disbanded and reformed if not rejuvenated.

For the past five years, I have used tons of ink to fill my fountain pen to write about this topic but it seems I am fighting a lost battle since things remain the same. I am one more time tackling this very important topic because the President himself complained about the failure of the communication outfit of his government recently. The Akans say until the person chasing you stops, you have to keep on running. So I have to keep on writing on this topic.

In this 21st Century and ICT era, communication is paramount in governance. The ruled always wants to know what the ruler is doing or not doing so that he or she can make an informed choice, particularly in a democratic dispensation like ours. The celebrated literature guru of Nigeria, Chinua Achebe, wrote in his book, Things Fall Apart that it was the lizard that fell down from the iroko tree who said that if nobody praised it for not getting wounded after such a fall, it will praise itself. The numerous success stories of this government are not told and need to be told. What the entire NPP communication outfit does is to defend, forgetting that like a football match, the best form of defence is to attack. Why should the NPP communicators sit down for the NDC to take the fight to them before they call press conferences to set records straight, when records could have been explained to ward off any attack? The NPP communicators should not expect the NDC communicators to sing the praises of the government. In fact, it is not for the NDC to propagate the good job being done by the government. Their main mission is to find the perceived faults of the ruling government and trumpet it loudly to the hearing of the masses. And they are doing very well in this their chosen path of mischief. Unlike other jurisdictions where opposition parties give alternatives in their criticisms, what we see in Ghana is the Pull Him Down 'PHD' attitude.

Take the issue of Agenda 111 for example. The government has promised to build one hundred and eleven hospitals across the country, which is laudable. The projects have already started. Contractors are on site in many districts working fervently to execute the projects. The NDC communicator in Accra doesn't know that the people in Prang, somewhere in the Bono East Region, for example, are witnessing the construction of a hospital under the Agenda 111 programme. So after eating his Ga kenkey, the NDC communicator sits on radio or TV in Accra and tells the world that no single hospital has been started under the Agenda 111 programme. And people believe in such blatant lies because they have indeed, seen nothing. What are the GTV and many TV stations for? What keeps the NPP party communicators in Prang in particular and the Bono East in general, from blowing their own horns? In fact, what is the MCE of the area doing in this respect? Similar projects are going on in other districts but they are not published for the good people of Ghana to see. But somebody sits somewhere and calls himself constituency, regional or national communication director.

The NDC is paying huge sums of monies to rented press houses to do propaganda for them while the NPP only comes out to defend when the harm had already been done. Sad! In this era, portable radio sets are very common and cheap. Some even listen to radio on their mobile phones on their way to their farms and work places. So when you sit down for people to lie before you come out to defend, remember, maybe, at the time of your defence, the one who heard the lies may not be listening to radio that day. And what if the person is listening to a different channel, considering the fact that radio channels are in abundance these days?

The war in Ukraine has brought about an unprecedented global economic meltdown. Inflation is skyrocketing, cost of iron rod is very high, cost of flour is unbearable, prices of crude oil and gas have hit the sky, cost of cooking oil is beyond the reach of the worker. The reason is that these items are mainly produced in Russia and Ukraine where war is raging and sea routes are blocked or mined. India, the third largest producer of wheat, the raw material for flour, has put an embargo on the exportation of wheat from the country of more than one billion souls. After all, if a stone is falling down from the sky, each and everyone covers his head with his own hands. European Union, United Nation leaders and leaders of European countries are shuttling between their various countries and Ukraine to help stop the senseless war and the world is sitting on tenterhooks. The NDC is aware of this calamity that has befallen the world, but for the sake of political power, they continue to lie between their sharp teeth. What are the NPP communicators doing to dilute this poison?

The saddest day in my life was when I heard an NDC communicator, a whole lawyer, speaking on radio that the Nana Addo-led government is importing terrorists into Ghana to kill Christians. Habba! Has it come this far? And this idiot defends his clients in Ghana's law court! I now understand why they say politics is a dirty game. In their desperation to grab power and misrule again, the NDC will do everything, including fabrication of naked lies to come to power. Ghanaians should be wary because if these people come to power again, the whole apple cart will be turned upside down. Their first target will be the cancellation of the Free SHS programme which they vehemently kicked against when the idea was mooted.

A lot of well-meaning Ghanaians are asking: How will the NPP fight and win this vile propaganda of the NDC? To start with, the party should look for a more vibrant, dynamic, intelligent and smart guy to be appointed as the National Communications Director of the party. The party should direct all resources at their command – every tool of intelligence to know the plans of the NDC's dangerous communicators before they come out with their lies, marshal every financial influence and every instrument of communication to defeat these NDC propagandists. Ghanaians will not listen to the NPP if they sit aloof for the NDC to lie their way to power and later say the NDC won the 2024 elections through lies and propaganda. It will not be tenable since the NPP has all the opportunities at their disposal to counter and neutralise the propaganda machinery of the NDC. Anyway, who appoints the national communications team of the NPP? Members of the team seem to be concentrated in Accra as if Accra is synonymous to Ghana.

It is about time NPP members began to look for vibrant communicators to drum home the many positive interventions of the Akufo-Addo-led administration especially, those being rolled out to cushion Ghanaians from the harsh realities of the Russia–Ukraine war on the world economy. In fact the communication team is not doing any job as far as the NDC's propaganda machinery is concerned.

BY Eric Bawah