NDC’s Fire by the River Side: A Political Communications lens

In the history of this country, whilst the NPP brags of being the group that designs and implements the most socially robust interventions (however controversial some have become) the NDC is gradually becoming the strongest opposition employing so much creativity in its communications. Talk of HIPC, the NHIA, the Free SHS Policy, and NABCO of the NPP; The evidence-based speech by former president JDM in parliament in February 2016; JDM’s facebook live as a campaign strategy this year; the symbolic beret regalia for the ‘Kum Y3n Pr3ko’ demonstration as well as this weekend’s by-the-river side fury of a speech by the NDC’s communications officer Sammy Gyamfi on the controversial galamsey fight by the NADAA government. Aside the Moment of Truth Series which became a common press communication strategy employed by both parties either in opposition or in government, the two seem to have some peculiarities like the above examples.

Talking about the evidence-based state of the nation addrees delivered by JDM at parliament 2016, Donald Trump of the Americas also used such approach in his recent address to Senate when he bid for more healthcare support for mothers and children.

Evidence-based speeches have become a standard political communications in recent times in Ghana, but when the name of the party that first adopted that in Ghana’s history is to be acknowledged (at least when I gained consciousness of Ghana’s politics), the NDC gets the credit.

Sammy Gyamfi leads the party in its opposition season. In my lens, the communicator continues to raise the bar, however controversial, reactionary , theatrical or extreme some may appear.

Over the weekend, he seemed to have combined two of the above NDC contemporary communications module i.e evidence-based and strong and controversial political activism.

The speech was by a river, River Pra, one of the rivers of the Central Region which has been polluted by the activities of illegal miners. It was there, a fury of a speech by the largest opposition was given.

Critically speaking, the NDC communications machinery had a difficulty by choosing this concept. It was how to project the speech content (which was the most relevant) as well as the location, without the latter overshadowing the other. The difficulty was how to make sure the media doesn’t lose focus on his speech even though the venue was also “loud” because of its novelty. It shouldn’t look like it was theatrics.

It was achieved in one breadth because the speech sought to bring to light the effect of the subject on the venue, it justified the choice of venue. The venue added more color and picture to the claims being discussed by the NDC in the presser.

On the other hand, those who think the module through which the NDC made its case, was theatrical, seems to focus more on the extremity of the venue and its sudden “loud posture” on the subject (fight against galamsey).

In summary, the strategy took everyone by surprise and its purpose of taking the ruling party by storm was also achieved based on the many reactions on social media, and in-camp accounts. Moreso, most media are running with the story this morning. Aside the importance of the subject of galamsey and alleged corrupt acts in the ruling government, the agenda by the opposition was set.

And to think a whole pulpit was transported to the river bank in the Twifo Praso district, makes the NDC communication machinery very versatile and hungry for power.

Another history in Pol. Comm. made, an addendum to evidence-based communications. Of course one which caused a stir in camps, homes and social media.

The writer is Kabu Nartey. He’s GJA Student Journalist of the year ; a political writer and political communications enthusiast.



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