Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Uninspiring Nature of Ghanaian Political Speeches

Yesterday, before the visiting dignitaries could begin congratulating President Mahama, the NPP's representative in the joy studios was evaluating his speech as being uninspiring. NDC sympathisers will take this to be sour grapes, after all, not one NPP parliamentarian will have heard the speech first hand to feel an atmosphere of inspiration since they boycotted the inauguration.

But I agree with him. That is not an indication of which side of the fence I sit. Speeches in Ghana are almost always uninspiring, they often feel more like lectures than ideological conversations with the audience. I watched all three IEA debates, and of the 8 speakers involved only the CPP vice-presidential candidate stood out as verging on the inspirational. Political speeches need to not only inform you of the speaker's plans but also compel you to be a part of it, to see the world as the speaker sees it not just for you to see the speaker.

Some of the panel suggested that the President would have written the speech himself. If that is the case I can only hope he doesn't do that again - hire a writer/blogger/journalist and bring more sparkle. There must be something that will capture the attention of the vuvuzela-blowing pure-water-selling party-T-shirt-wearing Ghanaians.

An inspiring speech is not just the words but the tone and body language. This is where the NPP must believe their guy has what it takes. Nana Akufo Addo has mastered the tone of voice in a speech. I believe that he believes every word and punctuation coming out of his mouth. His body language is a bit aggressive at times and this perhaps lets him down. Another candidate who has mastered tone is Abu Sakara the CPP presidential candidate, yet in the complete other direction of NADAA he doesn't do much on the body front. Of course we could argue that what I think of NADAA and Sakara doesn't matter since none of their speeches were made when taking the helm of the highest office of the land, and that is true which is why the NPP is justified in being so disappointed.

To be fair however, Ghanaian speeches have long lacked that vavavoom. The current generation are so set in their ways I doubt they will ever get it.

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