Differences opinion is an important part of society building. It affords every member of a society the opportunity to say what they think and feel. This is why almost every country in the world make provision for freedom of speech in their constitutions. An atmosphere of silence and intimidation should not be encouraged if society has to move forward.
Whereas freedom of speech is non negotiable, it is equally important that those who exercise this freedom, do so with high level of responsibility. Abuse of this inalienable right can have devastating consequences and we’ve seen this elsewhere. Society therefore, must at all times, set standards as I alluded to in my article: ” When Public Space is Taken Over by Weak Minds”, for people who use public space to manifest their right to free speech.
In my opinion, some of the most reckless uses of freedom of speech, are to use it for the purposes of i. defaming/slandering other citizens, ii. running down state institutions for no justifiable reasons, and iii. inciting violence. If anyone were to do just one of the three things I have mentioned, then I would categorise such a person as an irresponsible use of the freedom of speech. In such a situation, if I have control over platforms, I will deny such a person from having access to it because the effect of just one of the three on an entire society, may be irredeemably dire.
So what if all three uses (defaming/slandering other citizens, running down state institutions, and inciting violence) are combined in a person? Huh, I will recommend, though extreme, for such a person to be completely banned from talking in public. Undoubtedly, such a person is a loose cannon whose unfettered access to public space, poses a danger to the very existence of society.
One person who has exhibited the highest level of irresponsibility in respect of the use of freedom of speech is Kennedy Agyapong. He virtually has attacked every person of reverence in Ghana. Almost none of the people he has denigrated has been found guilty of any crime yet. He has attacked the military for stating that his claim of getting people into the military is false, he has attacked the presidency and accused it of complicity in bribe-taking, he has attacked Franklin Cudjoe of Imani Africa for stating his opinions on national issues, he has attacked Albert Kan Dapaah and accused him of planning together with some NPP bigwigs to assassinate him, he has attacked Hon Kyei Mensah Bonsu and parliamentary calling it useless and cheap, he has attacked ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas for exposing corruption, and he recently attacked the IGP; the entire Police Service and called the IGP an asshole. There’re several other examples of his verbal assault on revered people in our society. Guess who got on his radar last week, respected Sam Okudzeto twinned with the enviably reputable GLC and lawyers in this country.
Kennedy Agyapong claims the venerable Okudzeto who serves on the General Legal Council (GLC) at the behest of the president, is a dishonest man. And that the GLC which is made up of revered Supreme Court judges, is not credible. Ghanaian lawyers he claims, are not truthful. Why, because his frivolous complaint against Anas was thrown into the dustbin by the GLC. His acerbic attacks on Sam Okudzeto who has made his mark in Ghana and beyond for the many roles he played in the independence struggle in many capacities including being president of the Ghana Bar Association, is most unfortunate and grotesque. Should we accept that Okudzeto is worthless because a certain Kennedy Agyapong says so? No!
Is it not amazing that, a man like Kennedy Agyapong, who on many occasions has proven to be dishonest, would rather go to town impugning on the integrity of others? Does it mean anyone or institution of state who disagrees with him, is corrupt or dishonest? What is his definition of dishonesty? Why has this loose cannon taken the media as the prosecution grounds for his targets? Is he playing mind games with Ghanaians? On one breathe he want us to accept his opinions though uneducated, as sacrosanct and then on the other hand, he wants us to reject findings/rulings of lawfully constituted bodies of experts. We may have to create a different country for Kennedy Agyapong where the standards and trial for wrong would be done in the media.
So who would be his next target? It may be you. Let’s unite and speak against irresponsible talkative like Kennedy Agyapong! We need a society of thinkers not talkers.
Writer: Alhajj Suleman, Stuttgart, Germany
Writer’s Email: [email protected]
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