The former Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), Dr Michael Kpessah Whyte, has hit hard at head of Political Science Department at the University of Ghana (UG), Professor Ransford Gyampo, over his claim that former President John Mahama, did nothing to inspire patriotism.
Dr Kpessah Whyte said, Prof. Gyampo, must stop the serial caller style of approaching public discourse and present practical solutions both as a lecturer and a public speaker in instilling patriotism in Ghanaian.
He said, politicians of today, did not come from another plant and so attempt by some to make them look like they are so different, was unfortunate.
“I happen to be located on both ends of the axis by my recent experience in public service, and I get surprised when Ghanaians, especially those expected to know better assume that our politicians come from another planet. My friend Gyampo, should tell us his own contributions as lecturer to making his past or present students patriotic.
We must be glad that this kind of serial caller approach to public discussions characteristic of my good friend, does not reflect the fine and celebrated scholarship for which Legon and the many fine collection of academics and intellectuals there are known for”, he said in a post”, Dr. Kpessah Whyte said.
His comment is a reply to Prof. Gyampo’s response to ex-President John Mahama’s recent comment that Ghanaians are no longer patriotic.
Speaking at the NDC ideological institute during the first batch of students’ intake, ex-President Mahama said, most Ghanaians are no longer interested in working to improve the lives of ordinary people, preferring to cater for their personal interests and those of their relatives.
“Nationalism and patriotism have become very deficient in Ghana today—We all think about ourselves first, our families second, our parties third, maybe our communities fourth and Ghana comes a fifth or even 10th”, the former president said on Friday.
The comment by Mr. Mahama, however, did not go down well with the lecturer who took him to the cleaners, advising him to accept the fact that he was part of the reasons most Ghanaians are not patriotic.
Professor Gyampo, said Mr. Mahama, could have changed the very thing he was complaining about during his stay in power but, he rather spent time seeking the interest of his relations and personal friends.
The lecturer said, the former leader failed to live “exemplary” life and that was emulated by some of his appointees, who felt emboldened to plunder, while majority of the citizens live in penury.
But having served under his government less than a year ago, Dr. Kpessah Whyte, a political science lecturer too, could not sit down aloof, while his former boss is tossed around.
In a quick response, the former NSS boss, said he was amazed his colleague descended to that level questioning why Prof. Gyampo, will come to that conclusion in the first place when part of the blame could be apportioned to him?
According to him, if lecturers will blame politicians for everything that goes wrong in society, then the time has come for society to also ask what lecturers are teaching students to inspire patriotism in students.
He said, political leaders are no different from the people they lead and so if his colleague is complaining about the current crop of leaders coming out, then it is only fair that, part of the blame is put squarely at the doorsteps of society and lecturers too.
Dr. Kpessah Whyte, said it was important academics contribute to public discussions and provide alternative, but they must do so by moving away from making categorical statements.
“By all means academics must shape public policy discourse, but that is better done when we avoid categorical statements and focus on providing alternative options or alternative interpretations. Let’s leave serial caller style talk to serial callers.
Let’s get real, our politicians reflect us, yes they reflect our greed, our dishonesty, our deceitfulness, our corrupt habits, our envy, our pettiness, and our pretense among others.
They are our siblings, church members, classmates, friends, former business partners, and so they just are as good as we are, and as bad as we are. We are no different. They reflect us in much the same way our clergy, businessmen, and others mirror us.
The academic route to fame lies not in serial caller style castigation of public officials but in ground breaking research that provides solutions to the very problems that frustrate all of us”, he submitted.
Prof. Gyampo, has since replied Dr. Kpessah Whyte ,calling him a bootlicker.
Below is Dr. Kpessah Whyte’s write up and Prof. Gyampo’s reply…
Dr Kpessa-Whyte wrote:
I wonder how my friend Gyampo came to his conclusions in his response to Prez Mahama’s recent comments about the declining patriotism among Ghanaians. If those of us who teach politics blame those practicing politics for the ills in our society, should the society begin to question what is taught by us as lecturers? Perhaps? Perhaps not?
I happen to be located on both ends of the axis by my recent experience in public service, and I get surprised when Ghanaians especially those expected to know better assume that our politicians come from another planet. My friend Gyampo should tell us his own contributions as lecturer to making his past or present students patriotic.
We must be glad that this kind of serial caller approach to public discussions characteristic of my good friend does not reflect the fine and celebrated scholarship for which Legon and the many fine collection of academics and intellectuals there are known for.
By all means academics must shape public policy discourse but that is better done when we avoid categorical statements and focus on providing alternatives options or alternative interpretations. Let’s leave serial caller style talk to serial callers.
Let’s get real, our politicians reflect us, yes they reflect our greed, our dishonesty, our deceitfulness, our corrupt habits, our envy, our pettiness, and our pretense among others. They are our siblings, church members, classmates, friends, former business partners, and so they just are as good as we are, and as bad as we are. We are no different. They reflect us in much the same way our clergy, businessmen, and others mirror us.
The academic route to fame lies not in serial caller style castigation of public officials but in ground breaking research that provides solution to the very problems that frustrate all of us.
Greetings from the hills of Abetifi.
I have read the attacks of Kpessa-Whyte and I have decided not to respond in the manner I wanted to. I will briefly summarize my epistle I earlier wrote to him.
1. I offered a classical definition for Patriotism yesterday in my interview with Citi Fm.
2. Any serious minded academic who goes by that definition would appreciate the truism that patriotism is dead in Ghana and no one seem to want to die for the country.
3. In my interview, I identified the mechanisms for instilling patriotism. They include civic education, and exemplary political leadership.
4. It is a truism that we have severe deficits of civic education and exemplary leadership in promoting patriotism in Ghana.
5. Exemplary leadership as a tool for instilling patriotism inter alia, manifests in passionate speeches that calls on citizens to give their best and to die for their country. It also manifests in the modest attitude of leaders. It manifests in the sacrifices leaders make just for the sake of their nation, including halving salaries, refusing to take per diems and other allowances in a poor country. It manifests in a leader’s willingness to affiliate with ordinary people and joining them to clean choked gutters like Jerry Rawlings used to do. It manifests in willingness to save money and not incurring huge costs for the nation.
6. These and other tangible manifestations charges people emotionally and make them willing to also die a little for the country. These manifestations would make people voluntarily willing to be posted into rural villages just to undertake their National Service.
7. Kpessa Whyte may have forgotten that at least on two occasions in Ghana’s political history, university students, without being forced, abandoned their studies and went into the hinterlands to carry lock up cocoa beans and also harvest sugar cane for processing.
8. This is what we call patriotism, a spirit lacking these days. Rawlings did his best to instill this among many young people. But I insist John Mahama, though affable and obviously a pleasant personality, could not do much in this area.
9. This is my position. I won’t change it just because of Kpessa Whyte’s insults. I expected him to challenged my views by offering superior argument.
10. With regards to what I am doing to instill patriotism among students, I would respectfully urge Kpessa Whyte to come and sit in my Level 300 class on Governance and Leadership to be abreast with what I tell my students. Indeed, just this week I reiterated my call on my students as future leaders to put into practice what they are learning from me.
11. I will keep making this appeal passionately in the hope that they would abide by them after school. I am certain that after school, they would not abandon what they have been taught just because of Political appointment.
12. You initially paraded yourself as an independent scholar. I was particularly elated when you were given an appointment to serve in the administration of JDM. But you suddenly sacrificed your objectivity and couldn’t help sanitize our politics. Your attempt to draft fresh graduates as traffic wardens could not promote patriotism because it was not properly thought through. To say the least, it was jaundiced.
13. As to what gives academic fame, I agree with you that it doesn’t come as a result of serial calling analysis. You insinuated that my analysis were like a serial caller. That’s your opinion. As an academic, I know the more one climbs higher the ladder of academic progression, the more one gets to know he knows nothing. So, forgive me if you think my analysis are like a serial caller. I am still learning. But if you have time, kindly “google-scholar” me to see my serial calling research outputs and where they have been published.
14. Finally, you seem to take offense anytime I criticize those you bootlick. Remember it all started when I criticized the late Prof Mills. But what you still haven’t found about me is that I don’t fear those you bootlick, let alone your good self. I will keep on firing my mind at all times and you are free to respond at anytime. But when you do, please lift the bar a little by offering superior argument, not the argumentum ad hominem fallacies you commit in your responses.
PAV Ansah Street