By Winnie Kabintie
A good speech is always a key communication tool for politicians. The world’s most celebrated leaders are more often than not remembered by their speeches.
John F. Kennedy, for instance, will forever be remembered for his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” While for Martin Luther King his I Have a Dream Speech – American Rhetoric, delivered 28 August 1963 has always been a historic masterpiece.
US president Barrack Obama’s prominence in the race to becoming America’s first black president is attributed to his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. Obama, then a one-term senator from Illinois stated that; “there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America”, a speech that has been christened “the speech that made Obama president.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a shortage of good political speeches lately going by the recent incidents where leaders have treated themselves to a to a public scoff by reciting plagiarized speeches.
Ghana’s President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo became the latest victim to suffer a global shame over the weekend after it emerged that his inaugural address plagiarized quotes from speeches by U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
“I ask you to be citizens, citizens, not spectators, citizens not subjects, responsible citizens building your communities and our nation,” he said, a quote that mirrors Bush’s inaugural address in 2001.
The second bit of Addo’s speech that was lifted from Clinton’s inaugural speech in 1993; “Though our challenges are fearsome, so are our strengths. Americans have ever been a restless, questing, hopeful people and we must bring to our task today the vision and will of those who came before us.”
president Akufo’s speech had the exact statement only that it read “Ghanaians” instead of Americans as in Clinton’s speech.
The President’s communications director Eugene Arhin, apologized for the errors on Facebook, describing it a “complete oversight and never deliberate”. He also noted that the speech contained four correctly attributed quotations.
President Akufo-Addo’s plagiarized speech comes barely before social media mockery of Melania Trump has settled down, following her plagiarized speech from Michelle Obama.
Five months ago, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari also plagiarized barrack Obama’s 2008 inaugural speech, while launching the Change Begins with Me campaign in Nigeria.