Opinion

STOP IT! Political Intolerance ‘Killing’ Entertainers In Ghana

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

Last week, one Dela Edem, said to be a Communicator for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) spewed invective at the most decorated musician in Ghana, Sarkodie, and threatened to derail his business.

In his outburst on Neat 100.9FM, the so-called Communicator abused the artiste, questioned his mental fortitude and to top it off, insinuated to burning the CDs of the artiste.

Sarkodie’s  crime; he called on Sammy Gyamfi to pull down a cartoon representation of George Floyd’s killing that was connected to happenings with the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

Sarkodie’s tweet was not malicious and was not insulting, it was just harmless and he was not the only entertainer or personality that called on the Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party to take the cartoon down, however, he took the most bashing.

Dela Edem

Politics Is War?

In Ghana, the situation has always been that politics is war, which means political parties are supposed to be in conflict and members/supporters should engage in skirmishes.

For years, we have heard obnoxious comments from politicians and seen unwholesome actions from followers of political parties, especially during the year of elections.

In Dela Edem’s rant on Sarkodie, he warned the artiste that if he wanted to wade into political talk, then he should be prepared to face the rigours in that fold.

This man is telling us that the terrain of politics is a war field, so one should be fully armed to the teeth to ever pass commentary on any politics related subject. He means that the world of politics in Ghana is combative, so a fellow like Sarkodie should come fully prepared.

The mindset of Dela is deep-seated – a sad reflection of many politicians in this country and the state of our politics!

Sarkodie

No Tolerance

Dela stated among other things, that he would burn and discard Sarkodie’s CDs. His justification for that unacceptable comment was hinged on the fact that, Sarkodie produced a couple of songs during the time NDC was in power and such songs were themed against the ruling government at the time, which makes the artiste a pro-NPP, the party in power now.

As a Communicator of a political party, he surely does command some influence and his words of destroying products of the artiste is also a clarion call for supporters of his party to do same.  In essence, by destroying the CDs of Sarkodie, means, terminating his business.

This Communicator is saying that, for choosing to make songs that sound political or for choosing to have a preference in politics, the business and livelihood of that entertainer should be cancelled.  For choosing a stance in politics, one should not be tolerated.

Entertainers Suffer Over Politics

Dela Edem’s unsavory commentary against Sarkodie is nothing new; it’s a phenomenon that has been prevalent in our system for years. His was just blunt and loud.

For years, Ghanaian entertainers have suffered; their reputation, businesses and livelihood have been damaged, because of one decision they made – the decision to support or work for a political party.

Grace Omaboe is a legend, her contribution to the industry is inestimable. If she found herself in another jurisdiction, she would be one of the richest venerated entertainers, yet, in Ghana, politics marred her legacy and her recognition.

Kwame Dzokoto, one of the most versatile entertainers the country has ever seen, has sunk into oblivion – all because he chose politics, in a decision to partake in active politics.

Kwame Dzokoto

Clement Bonney, affectionately called Mr. Beautiful endeared himself to the hearts of Ghanaians with his acting prowess, but a decision to align to politics has killed whatever future he had with show business.

Nacee has faced and still facing a myriad of challenges for choosing to produce a campaign song for a political party – and so is his peer in music production, Appietus, who has also talked about the challenges he’s encountered for choosing to produce a song to support the campaign of a political party. The list is endless!

We have allowed politics and politicians to destroy the industry by thwarting the lives of entertainers who had such exciting careers and were on their way to greatness in the industry.

It is worrisome, sad and sickening to have the careers and lives of such enterprising careers of most entertainers become discomforting because they chose to have a stance in politics.

We Need Changes

As a democratic country, we are always quick to draw comparisons with other nations practicing the same form of democracy, yet, we pick and choose which tenets to emulate and which to discard.

Oprah Winfrey openly supported Barack Obama in his bid to become the President of the United States of America, yet, Americans who did not like the Democrats or the decision by the Oprah, did not make any attempt to cancel her businesses. She still remained one of the richest. The same can be said for the likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Regardless of who they supported, Americans did not stop buying their CDs or any other product they were selling.

Kanye West openly supported Donald Trump to the amazement of many, yet, no Democrat made a call for Kanye’s business to be cancelled. No politicians made any frivolous call to burn his music.

Kanye is the richest black entertainer in the world now, with the patronage of his music and his shoes. That’s maturity, tolerance and sense!

The change we yearn for ought to start now, with us, speaking up to change the status quo. The stance or preference of entertainers with regard to politics should not, under any circumstance, mess up their careers or any other business venture they are engaged in.

Dela Edem buys from his favorite ‘Waakye’ joint without giving any care whether the seller is of his party or not.  He buys from the provision shop without asking the owner which political divide he’s on. He clearly doesn’t query the fueling station attendant what party colours he/she dons.

Why should the actor and musician suffer for having a preference? Why should their music and movies not be patronized? Why should their livelihoods suffer because of a choice they make?

This imbecility in our democratic dispensation must stop now!

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