|John Dumeo, Pattinson Papafio at NDC rally|
This election year unlike previous election years has seen an increase in celebrity endorsements of mostly the two major political parties in the country, NPP and NDC.
Hitherto this period, citizens of this country were of the view that these celebrities did not endorse political parties by their own volition but were influenced by money and some great promises. But now, the story seems to have taken a different twist as most celebrities endorse and work for these parties voluntarily. (I stand to be corrected)
The rise in endorsement has come with great criticism with some section of the citizens saying “it is good to like a political party but helping them publicly to gain votes is not the best for a celebrity”. It could be inferred from what people have said both on social media and in various conversations with friends and family that, celebrities do not have to openly support political parties of their choice.
There have been other arguments as to whether it is right for celebrities to openly declare their support for a political party considering the kind of politics run in this part of the world called Ghana. Some argue that to do politics, one needs to read about it and understand the terrain before he/she ventures into it. “Do what you are an expert at” quoting Richie Mensah in an interview with Doreen Andoh on Joy FM’S Cosmopolitan Mix.
|Agya Koo endorsed Nana Addo|
Yes, it is agreed that in order to get into any other thing on earth, it is imperative that you get an idea of how the thing works before you venture into it, else, you are heading for failure.
That notwithstanding, individuals contesting why celebrities should not openly endorse political parties seem to forget some things which I will attempt to bring to the fore in three sections.
Firstly, regardless of their status as celebrities and the influence they wield, they are citizens of their country. The day to day administration of the country affects them directly and indirectly hence the need to come out to support the political party they think can propel the country to a good standing. Yes, some may argue that they can do this by keeping quiet and vote their party in during the election. But no, what if they vote and their party does not garner the needed votes to win? It is better to use their influence to get the country solidly behind the party they think can do the work so that the party is elected.
Secondly, regardless of their status as celebrities, they have rights which are clearly spelt out in the 1992 constitution. Every Ghanaian and for that matter celebrities has the freedom of association. The constitution stipulates this in its fifth chapter that “all persons should have the right to freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form or join trade unions or other associations, national or international, for the protection of their interest”. Since every Ghanaian is free to join any association of his/her choice, why then does that of a celebrity become a worry? If that’s the case, then I guess celebrities who are members of churches should also not contribute to winning souls for God or?
|Bukom Banku endorsed President Mahama|
Thirdly, the world is evolving and the understanding of issues continue to change as the days go by. People have argued that declaring their support for party A or B will have an adverse effect on their brand going forward. However, I beg to differ here. Politics in itself is an exchange of ideas and with the spate at which Ghana is enjoying growth and dynamism, it will be flawed for one to suggest that their art will not be patronised after they have declared support for a particular political party of their choice.
We (including celebrities) are the government and the choices we make today determines the outcome of tomorrow’s Ghana. Celebrities must be left to their choices and be spared the criticism because “Everybody Got Choices”.
By Ayeh Offei-Akoto