The Daily Graphic and the enlightenment

By Kofi Akosah-Sarpong

Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN boss (left), Mr. Paul Victor Obeng, Chairperson of the Nat. Devpment Planning Commission(right)

“Then, in a positive response to the concerns raised by Mr. Annan, the Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Mr. P. V. Obeng, advocated the inclusion of all political parties on the commission, to ensure that long-term national development plans were sustained, and not truncated by the pull-him-down syndrome, which had permeated our political landscape …”

national planning

While the enlightenment crusade welcomes the Daily Graphic’s innovative thinking, of concern is lack of open mention of Ghanaian/African cultural values, as part of the inclusion into national planning. Whether in Annan or Obeng, as echoed by the enlightenment thinkers, the onus unwaveringly, rests with Ghanaian/African bureaucrats, the Daily Graphic and other mass media, elites (as directors of progress), and Obeng’s National Development Planning Commission.

The National House of Chiefs, as gleaners of culture, will be a superb national policy sounding board. Once again, in floating this new development thinking, where all Ghanaians “co-author and own” the national planning (as the Daily Graphic fittingly said), the ownership and authoring should be pollinated in Ghanaian/African cultural values.

This is for psychological, historical and psychic whys and wherefores, such as refining the “PHD” syndrome and opening the floodgates for true development on all frontiers … It is also the way to achieve sustainable development that can lead to long and healthy lives, enlightenment and knowledge, and access to resources needed for a decent standard of living, and being able to participate fully in the decision-making process,” as the Daily Graphic contends.

Having recovered itself from years of misperception, the editorial room of the Daily Graphic is expected to become the hot incubator for the new development thinking, where Ghanaian/African traditional values will be used to prepare new clear-cut realistic national policies.

In this context, with its mature age, enormous national outreach and vast mass communications powers, the Daily Graphic becomes the philosophical playground for the emerging Ghanaian/African development thinking in the 21st Century.

It is in this thermosphere that a new African journalism philosophy, brewed from within Ghanaian/African cultural values, will be famously hatched, as the driver of a re-invigorated Ghana/Africa progress.

Such new thinking will fit into the backdrop of the younger ‘The Ghanaian Chronicle’ saying that: “It is instructive to note that the incoherent implementation of development projects by successive governments is inimical to the forward march of the country’s development agenda.”

Whether in Annan, Obeng, The Ghanaian Chronicle or the Daily Graphic, the issue is development thinking that emanates from the core ideals of Ghanaian/African traditional values, histories and experiences such as the legacies of colonialism.
And the product of this mixture can aptly be called, both philosophically and practically, the African Consensus.

The African Consensus, in the face of the Daily Graphic’s new editorial beliefs, will be a response to the USA-based Time Magazine’s Michael Schuman jadedly asking, “India vs. China: Which is the best role model for the developing world?” While India or China may be of shining development footnote to Ghana/Africa, of progress intelligence is the fact that their successes are partly driven by their core traditional values and histories, swayed by their elites and mass media. China’s Confucianism and progress; India’s Sanskritism and advancement.

Yes, as Schuman indicated, “Every up-and-coming poor nation wants to ‘be like China’.” But how to be like China involves clear weighty thinking by each poor nation’s elites. And that means reasoning from within the poor nation’s cultural elements and experiences.

media houses

After 60 years of the Daily Graphic existence, and after 53 years of Ghana’s birth, after many tumbles within its editorial room, the Daily Graphic, among other emerging enlightening media houses, doubts the development policies currently running Ghana, and by extension Africa.

The policies aren’t realistic, they are convoluted, and they aren’t overwhelmingly informed by Ghanaian/African cultural values.

Ghana and other African states were founded on ex-colonial Western development paradigms that didn’t adequately factor in Ghanaian/African cultural values, the Daily Graphic’s new real thinking calls for a re-orientation of the country’s development paradigms, manufactured from within Ghana’s and Africa’s cultural values.

Once again, the strategy is to appropriate the enabling aspects and refine the inhibiting values for progress. Globally, the Daily Graphic is warming up to the enlightenment thinkers who draw from the global prosperity ideals. From Southeast Asian to Europe, nations that have prospered, and sustained it, have done so from within their core cultural values, and play them with other worldly prosperity ideals.

Time’s Schuman indicates that “The rise of China has made the West doubt the continued validity of its cherished principles of democratic, fee-market capitalism … The old “Washington Consensus,” based on a devotion to free markets and free enterprise, is being replaced by the “Beijing Consensus.” But, is China’s Beijing Consensus really the winning formula for poor nations? Larry Summers, Obama’s assistant on economic policy, raised the idea in a recent speech that India’s political-economic model, which he labeled the “Mumbai Consensus,” may in the end, win the day.”

Consequently, this question from Schuman will be appropriate to the Daily Graphic’s new bearing: “So what’s a better model for” Ghana’s and Africa’s progress? “– the Mumbai Consensus or the Beijing Consensus?” Though the best model for Ghana and Africa isn’t either, but the one from within themselves, occasionally, Ghanaians/Africans and the Daily Graphic could draw lessons from the Chinese and Indian models. And that means the Daily Graphic, with its vast communications powers, will join the enlightenment thinkers in giving birth to the African Consensus.

There surely has to be an African Consensus, if Ghanaians/Africans are to live sustainably real comfortable lives. As we are experiencing from Ghanaians from diverse stations of life getting involved in the selfless enlightenment campaigns, this will be assisted by researchers, the mass media, thinkers, traditional institutions, opinion leaders and elites.

This will aid the Daily Graphic, in its new thinking, help grow the real Ghana/African development philosophy, and open the way to the renewal of Ghana’s and Africa’s progress.

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