The Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper has taken a swipe at politicians who are scheming to derail the democratic credentials of the country, stating the height of incendiary comments is “frightening”. Mr Pratt said Ghanaians must rise up and stem the tide before the whole nation is plunged into the abyss of violence and genocide like other African nations.
Speaking at a public debate under the auspices of the Forum for Governance and Justice in Accra, Mr Pratt bemoaned the spate at which hate-speeches permeate the political and media landscapes in Ghana. In his view, the situation is escalating because of the quest of self-seeking politicians to win political power by fair or foul means.
He condemned the inciting comments made by the Member of Parliament of Assin North, Kennedy Agyapong, describing it as reckless. Mr Agyapong has been charged with treason felony, attempted genocide and engaging in acts of terrorism for inciting Ashantis against Gas and Ewes. A human rights court and an Accra Fast Track High court granted him bail last week to the tune of GHS400,000. He has also been bonded to be of good behaviour.
But delivering a speech on the topic: Hate-Speech and Incitement to Genocide, the veteran journalist said, “we should not allow anybody to destroy what patriots like Nkrumah and others put together.” He alleged that such occurrences are the continuation of what Nkrumah’s opponents did prior to his overthrow in 1966.
He is therefore calling on the Ghanaian populace to stand against any politician, who preaches violence, stating: “this is the time for the masses, and the masses must act to save our country.”
Mr Pratt said politicians hire ordinary Ghanaians to engage in unlawful acts on their behalf in their thirst for power. He cautioned therefore that: “you must be extremely foolish to accept GHS 100 to go and fight. Taking money to go and fight is an extremely foolish enterprise.”
“If all-die-be-die is a good thing, then it should be done by the presidential candidates and their running-mates. Anytime people break heads and light themselves, check the faces of those involved. You will not see the presidential candidate; you will not see the running-mate, you will not see the businessmen…”
Mr Pratt, an avowed Nkrumahist affirmed that the “recklessness of those who want power by all and any means [must be] prevented” to forestall any trouble ahead of the December polls.
“Ghanaians are getting fed up with politicians who think that they can say these things and go scot free… It is important for decent Ghanaians to condemn it.
“The salvation of this country is not the business of the Bar Association alone, the salvation of this country is not the business of the chiefs alone, the salvation of this country is not the business of those who put on the cassock. It is the business of every Ghanaian,” Kwesi Pratt said.
He slammed civil society groups for looking on while the country’s reputation is dented with irresponsible commentary by politicians. He said over the years, “these institutions have been working to maintain the status quo, which is destroying the nation.”
He said such groups do not have better morals than teachers nor taxi drivers and therefore should not be relied upon to champion such course.
Mr Pratt went onto condemn comments by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Kpegah, that Ewes were ready for any onslaught by the Ashantis, saying one does not correct a wrong by doing wrong. He called on Ghanaians to stand up against such misguided statements for the sake of posterity.
Another speaker at the forum, Major General Henry Kwami Anyidoho (Rtd.), said Ghana is experiencing signs of the irresponsible actions of the media and the ethnic groups that led to the death of many in Rwanda.
Maj. General Anyidoho who headed Ghana’s UN Peace keeping Mission in Rwanda during the genocide advised the media to be circumspect in their reportage. He also called on politicians to eschew inflammatory comments.
At the end of the forum, patrons were treated to the movie titled, Hotel Rwanda, which tells the story about the millions of Hutus and Tutsis who perished in the Rwandan genocide in 1994.