One of the key characteristics of a human rights champion — and one does not even have to be a lawyer to do this — is, beyond empty words, to demonstrate the principle that you will defend all persons, including your sworn enemies. Defending your friends, your family, party folks or media persons fighting against the government that you hope to unseat, is just a matter of course. It inures to your benefit that you do. Nothing special here.
The words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall tells you who a true Champion of human rights is:
“I [may] disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Is this a principle that resonates with our media created human rights champion and now President? Anyone who dares stand up to him never “survives” or becomes an eternal enemy who faces constant persecution from him.
Self-preservation should never be mistaken for patriotism.
Are you telling me in his first week as President with Nana Akufo-Addo in the Jubilee House where a senior police officer was assaulted by his private terrorist group, the Invisble Forces, and the incident recorded; now, the fact the first action taken by government was to find out and arrest those who leaked the video — are you saying that this was a sterling demonstration of his human rights credentials?
What of Ayawaso gun violence against voters? Did he not swear that the election was free and fair with no major incident, congratulated Lydia Alhassan and jetted out of town, leaving his own innocent citizens traumatised, wounded with some crippled for life? Did it not take international pressure before he reluctantly set up a commission to enquire into what happened and later complain about people leaking portions of the report that criticised his government’s complicity in the attacks?
What of Gregory Afoko? Clearly unhappy about the court granting his enemy’s brother bail, could the President not have demonstrated what some people convince themselves he is by sacking his officials who flouted the court order by still illegally keeping Gregory Afoko in jail?
What of having close to 200 radio stations operating without renewed licenses, and yet supervising the closure of less than 10; in fact, surgically shutting down all the opposition stations, the only mouthpieces of dissent that don’t fall in a long line and sing his praises? As we speak, other stations are operating without renewed licenses, but not the opposition owned stations. Is it not the case that we are not shocked because we know who he truly is?
What of presiding over a regime that is so hostile to critical media that his former colleague in arms, Dr. Wireku Brobbey, considers press freedom under “human rights champion” President Akufo-Addo the worst among all the 4th Republican Presidents? Of course, even without Dr. Wireku Brobbey confirming what we all know (even though some would pretend as usual), the examples of journalists who have gone into exile and others tortured as a direct consequence for their work seen as anti-government, is fresh in our memory.
I could go on and on and on. But there really is no need.
It’s simply not fair to our president that we are describing him in ways that he is not.
Once again, only a true human rights champion can live by the creed, “I [may] disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Forget about the dying part but there is no way our President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is willing, or is even capable of following a creed that would empower someone he considers an enemy. He has proven it over and over and over and examples are there for all to see. The President’s enemy, if he can help it, suffers.
But even if the President has been dressed up in flattering borrowed words, the truth is the Emperor is naked and people can see it.
The taste of the pudding is in the eating, not its sparkling appearance. By their fruits ye shall know them.
Source: Kwame Nkrumah Addo
The Writer is a lecturer and Political Commentator