The profile summary of President John Mahama’s Twitter account reads: “Official account of H.E. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, run by Campaign Staff. Tweets by H.E. are signed – JM. http://www.johnmahama.org.”
And below is a tweet sent out by a presidential staffer on August 29, 2013, shortly after the Ghana Supreme Court upheld President John Mahama’s victory in Election 2012. Well, I am convinced that a presidential staffer rather than the president sent out the tweet, because tweets coming directly from the president are allegedly signed with the letters JM. The said tweet stated, “The Supreme Court has spoken and validated our Dec2012 victory. Let peace rein. This is a victory for Ghana’s democracy. Long live #Ghana. John Dramani Mahama @JDMahama.”
Like many Ghanaians, I follow President John Mahama on Twitter. It was quite appalling, therefore, to see this grammatically incorrect tweet posted by a presidential staffer on the president’s Twitter page on August 29, 2013. (I hope the reader has identified the error, which is not one of those ostensibly acceptable shorthands found in a typical tweet.)
Although I had pointed out the error in the tweet on President Mahama’s Twitter page, no one at Flagstaff House, the seat of government, has done anything about it. I sincerely hope that the person who manages this high-profile Twitter account will make the necessary correction as soon as he or she reads this article, as it is unacceptable for tweets sent out in the name of the president – any president – to contain rudimentary grammatical errors.
You may be wondering why I seem irritated by this grammatically incorrect Twitter post. Well, I am quite annoyed for several reasons: If the president of Ghana has poor grammar associated with the information posted on his Twitter page, what does that tell both Ghanaians and foreigners about the writing skills of our presidential staffers? What does it portend for the future of our educational system? What does it portend for our children who must suffer within such a decrepit educational system that produced the “illiterate” who wrote the tweet? What does it portend for the future of Ghana?
Bob Costas, the famous NBC News sportscaster, once remarked: “Writing is everybody’s business.” He could not be more correct. Poor writing skills have been known to lead to skirmishes, fights, and even wars, which is why anyone lucky enough to work at the Ghanaian presidency must proofread his or her work before posting it in the public domain, especially if it is done in the name of the nation’s foremost public servant. The blunder in question is simply unacceptable. Are there no proofreaders at the presidency, if I may ask?
I was quite impressed with Dr. Nii Moi Thompson’s recent call on Ghanaian journalists to make a concerted effort to produce grammatically correct news items and articles for public consumption. Indeed, the standards of journalism in Ghana have fallen below acceptable levels, and a perusal of items purportedly coming from the Ghana News Agency (GNA) is all the reader needs to understand how dire the situation is across the country. In other words, if journalists affiliated with the GNA, Ghana’s flagship agency for news dissemination, cannot write well, then we have a very serious problem in the country.
Perhaps, accomplished Ghanaian writers/academics like Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe and Nii Moi Thompson can hold writing workshops in Ghana each summer to help our poorly trained journalists hone their writing skills. This matter demands utmost urgency from those tasked with maintaining the academic standards germane to the survival of our entire educational system – from kindergarten to the university. In fact, our collective honor is tied to this pivotal issue! Perhaps, the minister of education will accept this challenge and work towards improving the nation’s educational standards, which, sadly, have been declining since a ragtag group of soldiers without university education foolishly converted an effective educational system into a monstrous caricature thirty years ago. It is not too late, however, to reverse the damage.
© All rights reserved. The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, can be reached at [email protected] He may be followed on Twitter: @DanielKPryce. He invites the reader to join the pressure group “Good Governance in Ghana” on Facebook.com, which he superintends. “Good Governance in Ghana” is a group that emphasizes the preservation of democracy, justice, equity, and law and order in Ghana.
Source: Daniel K. Pryce
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