‘Toh-Beei!…..Toh-Beei!’ Political ‘Discourse’

K1 – Koo, did you listen to any of the radio/TV discussions on the theme, ‘The NPP’s One-Year-In- Government’?

  • K2 – Listen?How could anyone listen to any of that? It was a matter of having one’s ears assailed by people who think that if you shout into a microphone, then you’re making your point “in a strong manner!”

– K1: You mean our political parties have still not learnt that those who invented the radio advised its users to imagine that the speaker was having a conversation with a man or woman who is having a meal with his her family; a tired executive being driven home after work and half-dozing on the back seat; a young lover anxious to reach the home of his girl-friend before she says, “you came too late!”; …….

  • K2 – You mean the politicians have not yet got the idea that radio/TV must be seen as a competitorto other forms of human interaction?
  • Yes! Shouting one’s opponents down is to invite the viewer/listener to switch the damned thing off. Why should he listen to someone who is incapable of listening to another person’s point of view? Viewers/listeners are usually fair-minded people, and if one flouts their sense of decorum, they will push the button. If they wanted to hear ‘To-bei!…..To-bei!” gibberish , they would have walked into a crowded market and shouted some outrageously provocative slogan like “God does not exist!” or “Electricity and water are regularly abundant everywhere in Ghana”!
  • Hahahahaha! Ei, Koo, your witchcraft is gaining in momentum! It’s as if you’ve come inside my head and uncovered from my memory ions that:
  • “Saturday: no electricity; no water; electricity comes on for two hours while I’m asleep and then vanishes into thin air; CONCLUSION: The assurances about the house being habitable were economical with the truth.

Sunday: No electricity, no water. Worst parttoilet unflushed; Next worst part: when the electricity came on for two hours in the night, it apparently set the water-pump going, which sent water coursing through unfixed leakage points in the bathroom, which flooded the bathroom. Worst worst thing: trying to use an unflushed toilet with one’s feet in a pool of water on the bathroom floor!….”

  • Koo, please don’t go on. You are reminding me of the time I was residing at Ashale-Botwe and ….
  • Koo, you too? Please none of that! What I wanted to say was that if after a shortage, they switch you back on, and you gratefully turn on the TV/ radio to find some distraction to relax you, that’s when some people come on and begin shouting “TOH-BEI!-TOH-BEI!” to you! You then….
  • Throw the instrument at the wall?
  • You can-t do that because you’d have to buy a new one.
  • So many politicians are making themselves unpopular with their shouting matches?
  • Yes! But because some do win elections, they attribute good politics with strong “performances on the air”.
  • It’s the moderators of radio/TV discussions who are mostly to blame. Many are untrained but are assumed to be worth listening to. However, moderating a discussion on hot political issues is no child’s play. Strict rules must be prescribed beforehand:participants must be warned that they would be taken off the air if they flout the rules. “If you interrupt four times, you will be taken off, and you will never be invited again!” should be a sobering pre-appearance stipulation. And if such a stipulation is made, it must be strictly adhered to! But if the public figure is invited at the suggestion of the station’s proprietor…..
  • Then they can’t adhere to a rule like that. You can, in fact, detect that many of the moderators and their guests are members of a mutually admiring society.
  • Yet allowing speakers to indulge in TV/radio discussion taboos – talking across others when they are speaking, for example – results in nobody at all being heard.
  • OK, Koo. So, other than that, what do you have to say about the NPP’s One Year In Power?
  • I guess all I can say is that the members of the government are beginning to realise that being in government is not as easy as they at first thought. To be thrown head first (as it were) into a den populated by the higher echelons of the Ghana public service, is to be subjected to possible intellectual manslaughter. Everything must be done later, never now. “Dumsor” is coming back?” Yes but…..” “But what?” “But Minister, the Electricity Company of Ghana is meeting severe challenges whilst trying to enhance its revenue base with the installation of pre-paid meters and…and….” “So they didn’t know that bringing in a completely new system would cause problems that must be anticipated and solved?” “But Minister, it’s impossible to ….” Blah-blah-blah.
  • Ei, Koo, so did we go or did we come?
  • Koo, it’s hard to say. Ministers who have their hearts in the right place and think of things other than their bank balances, may not necessarily have the experienceto detect and thwart obstacles put in their way in order to preserve the apathy for which the public service is generally known. Ministers who have the experience, on the other hand, may be side-tracked by grandiose plans/projects announced on the campaign trail to lose sight of the detail from which the public judges them.
  • And it’s all laid at the feet of the President and Commander-In-Chief?
  • Poor man! He must have the ears of a thousand men; the eyes of a thousand seers; and the brains of a thousand Einsteins.
  • Agyei! [Ouch!] Koo, say that again!
  • Agyei!