I have been following the debate surrounding the tenuous consideration of a social media ban on Election Day by the highest officer of law enforcement in Ghana, the Inspector General of Police. There is no indication if this decision has the support of the rank and file of the Police Service and crucially the service heads such as the Chief of Defence Staff, Air and Naval commanders.
While the IGP may have self-entertaining reasons such as the fanning and spread of rumours and outright lies on social media to experiment his Gestapo type crackdown, he may want to first find out the underlying embers that could trigger such scenarios.
Apart from deep rooted ignorance, illiteracy and some level of permissible idiocy by the well lettered on social media, the two major high risk phenomena he should be concerned about are a very uninspiring Electoral Commission with a terrible communication strategy and the second of course is skyrocketing unemployment, which I must admit he can’t do much about. However, his careless utterances and posturing can give work to the millions of idle youth and that won’t be pretty.
The IGP should not overreach himself and try to impress the President of Ghana. I am sure the President, a fervent believer in free speech, having held Communications portfolios in the past and an avid user of social media will frown on such passive aggressiveness and he must be heard distancing his government from such retrogressive tendencies by the IGP.
It will be very promising of the IGP if he invested his accumulated years of experience in strengthening inter agency and electoral stakeholder discussions to consider a trusting electoral exercise and outcome. He can also consider inviting religious leaders too to say a prayer but he should get busy with thinking, fast and slow.
May 28 2016