President John Dramani Mahama and the governing National Democratic Congress will in the coming days have a herculean task parrying blatant lies and half-truths from members of the opposition New Patriotic Party and their media surrogates.
This follows a decision by managers of two foremost pro-NDC radio stations, Radio Gold and Montie FM, to suspend their programs and resort to marshal music in protest of a four month jail term handed to one of their employees, Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, and two radio panelists, Alistair Tairo Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn by the Supreme Court.
The ‘shutdown’ of the two pro-NDC radio stations comes at a time President Mahama and NDC and gearing up for this year’s campaign to reelect the president for his second term while the party executives hope to make history by being the only political party in Ghana to have won three elections on the trot.
According to many admirers of the ruling party, “now that Radio Gold and Montie Fm are off”, the NPP and its media allies will have a field day to paint government black and pitch it against the electorates to further their course of wining this year’s elections.
“Radio Gold have over the years worked to expose almost all the lies NPP have told about government. When Montie Fm was added, it brought respite to some of us because they were also countering some of the lies told on the Twi speaking stations…now that they are both off, who will speak for NDC and Mahama,” a worried NDC supporter told The aL-hAJJ.
Another NDC supporter based in Ablekuma Central constituency, Eric Ankamah, also said though he shares the sentiments of the mangers of the two radio stations, “I plead with them to get back to work because if they continue like this, it will affect us in the election…the election is just some few months away.
Almost all the media houses in Ghana are in bed with the NPP and over the years Radio Gold has done yeoman’s job by propagating the good works of government while exposing the viciousness of the opposition. I plead with them to get back to work.”
The Supreme Court last week sentenced the two communicators of the NDC, Godwin Ako Gunn and Alistair Nelson, and host of Montie Fm’s Pampaso program to four months in prison for criminal contempt. They were also asked to pay GHC10, 000 each.
Directors of Network Broadcasting Company, operators of Montie FM – Edward Addo, Ato Ahwoi and Kwesi Kyei Atuah, and owner of Montie Fm, Harry Zakour have been fined 30,000 cedis each.
While lawyers for the Montrio have petitioned the president to pardon their clients on ground that their sentencing was harsh and attack on free speech, supporters and well-wishers of the party are also collecting signatures to petition the president to grant them pardon.
Perhaps, irked by the judgment, and also to sympathize with the jailed Montie trio, Managers of the radio stations were reported to have instructed their workers to suspend all programs until further notice.
Ask if the shutdown of the two pro-government stations was intended to pile pressure on President Mahama to grant the Montie trio pardon, he retorted “I don’t want to believe that is the reason for the shutdown. It is understandable that when something like this happen to your staff, you sympathize with him and I want to believe the shutdown was to sympathize with Mugabe and his friends and not to pile pressure on the president…in any case some of the owners of the two radio stations are kingpins of the NDC so I don’t think they will do something like that.”
Meanwhile, a senior member of the NDC, who does not want his name mentioned, has also pleaded with managers of the stations to restore their programs while “all of us assist in working around the clock to get our jailed brothers out.”
“Now that the election is just around the corner, and looking at the way NPP and their allies have gang up to lie their way to power, we cannot prosecute this campaign without Radio Gold and Montie Fm. We are all against what has happened to our colleagues, but let’s deal with devoid of emotions,” he noted.