This gaffe must not happen again!

H. E. Akufo-Addo


THE Oxford Dictionary defines plagiarism as an act/practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. Thus, it was grossly irresponsible on the part of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s inaugural speech writer to copy texts from scripts without acknowledging the source.

PLAGIARISM is a serious academic offence which when committed can see one’s thesis or Long Essay cancelled outright. The wife of US President-elect, Melania Trump, received loads of flaks when it emerged that she had plagiarised a speech of outgoing US First Lady, Michelle Obama.

SO it came as a shock when news went viral that parts of President Akufo-Addo’s inaugural speech were plagiarised. According to reports, there was clear evidence to show that parts of the President’s address were lifted from the inaugural address of former United States President, George W. Bush Jnr., which address was delivered in January 2001.

IN the inaugural address of President Bush in January 2001, he said: “I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character.”

INTERESTINGLY, the above statement was exactly the same quotation in the inaugural speech of President Akufo-Addo whose investiture came off on Saturday, January 7, 2017. While a section of the Ghanaian populace see nothing wrong with it and even see it as a minor issue, Today does not think so.

WE must understand that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the President of the Republic of Ghana. Therefore, any embarrassment that comes to his presidency directly affects us as a people and a country.

IT is against this backdrop that such a gaffe must not happen again. It was a blatant gaffe to say the least. Today was not surprised that Communications Director at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, who is believed to be the author of the address, received loads of bashing, following that obvious mistake.

HOWEVER, the call by some Ghanaians for Mr. Arhin to resign or be relieved by the President of his post, we think, is too harsh, especially in the light of the fact that Mr. Arhin himself has admitted and apologised unreservedly.

ON his Facebook wall at the weekend Mr. Arhin wrote: “My attention has been drawn to references being made to a statement in the speech delivered by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at his swearing in on Saturday, January 7, 2017 which was not duly acknowledged.

“I unreservedly apologise for the non-acknowledgement of this quote to the original author. It was a complete oversight, and never deliberate. It is insightful to note that in the same speech were quotes from J.B. Danquah, Dr. K.A. Busia, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the Bible which were all duly attributed and acknowledged,” Mr. Arhin apologised.

AND once he has admitted the mistake and apologised we think the matter should be laid to rest to enable us tackle more pressing issues which should engage the attention of the current administration. For after all, to err, they say is human.

SHORT of that gaffe we think President Akufo-Addo’s speech was indeed inspiring and one that rallies all of us as Ghanaians to contribute to make Ghana a prosperous nation.

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