"... there is nothing wrong with celebrity endorsement if only it is based on principle and not on financial inducement."
As the election season heats up, lots of celebrities continue to declare support for their favourite candidates and political parties. As it has been in previous elections, some of these celebrities compose songs in their bid to “win more souls” for their preferred candidates or political parties.
Latest to endorse a presidential candidate is Kumawood popular actor, Agya Koo, who has declared his support for the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo. Other celebrities who have endorsed the candidature of the NPP standard bearer include: Matilda Asare, Ras Nene, Daddy Lumba, Kwabena Kwabena and a host of others.
Those who have thrown their weight behind the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) candidate, President John Dramani Mahama, are Belinda Nana Akua Amoah, known in showbiz as Mzbel, John Dumelo, Mr. Beautiful, Bukum Banku, Papa Nii, among others.
These celebrities, who are believed to have huge following, have come under intense criticism from a section of Ghanaians for openly declaring support for political parties. \
However, Senior lecturer and head of the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Dr. Margaret Ivy Amoakohene says there is nothing wrong with celebrity endorsement if only it is based on principle and not on financial inducement.
Dr. Amoakohene said celebrity endorsements which are based on personal interests are immoral and hypocritical.
She said: “there is nothing wrong at all with anybody endorsing a political party if it’s based on principle, if it’s based on the party’s performance or what you perceive to be its capability once it comes into power. We’ve had people endorsing left, right and centre but we need to ask, what is the motivation for these endorsements? And for some of them it’s clearly because they got something from the people they are endorsing and that is where I think it’s immoral, it’s hypocritical and doesn’t set the example that we need role models to set.”
On the impact these endorsements may have on the political fortunes of the candidates they endorse, Dr. Amoakohene said some of the celebrities think too highly of themselves and are deceived into thinking they can influence their followers to vote in a particular, which is not always the case.
“I may love your music, I may love the way you act, but I also think that you have been induced to say what you are saying about a political party and for me that reduces your esteem,” she stated.
She however concedes that some people may be influenced into supporting the candidates their favourite celebrities endorse.
Dr. Amoakohene advised celebrities to be more of principled people since they are role models and their actions have influence on the youth and particularly, children.
By Yahaya Masahudu