Political Rhetoric and Public Opinion: An Online Analysis of Ghana’s Vice President’s Economic Claims
Author: Mohammed Gali Salam (Kessben University College, Ghana)
Speaker: Mohammed Gali Salam
Topic: Discourse Analysis
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session
Measuring public opinion can come in diverse ways as there exist several ways to ascertain peoples’ impression about issues and why they form opinions on those issues. Several studies have explored the role public opinion plays on political attitudes in democratic nations and concluded that where public opinion is in full support of ruling or incumbent government, the political attitude and behavior of their citizens falls in tandem with implemented policies thereby creating a positive image for the ruling government. This qualitative study investigated the political rhetoric of Ghana’s current vice president on the state of the Ghanaian economy and the opinion of the public using an online news portal. The study’s main objective is to analyse the opinion of the Ghanaian public on claims made by the current vice president of Ghana on the management of the Ghanaian economy. Using content analysis, the study was underpinned by two research questions; (a)What are the rhetorical choices in Ghana’s current vice president’s speech on the state of the Ghanaian economy? (b) What are the opinions of Ghanaians on the claims made by the current vice president of Ghana on the state of the Ghanaian economy? The study purposively sampled the views of Ghanaians on Ghanaweb.com and the full speech of the vice president of Ghana delivered at the Millennium City at Kasoa on 7 th April, 2022 during the New Patriotic Party’s national TESCON conference. The study revealed that, the vice president of Ghana in his speech about Ghana’s state of the economy made use of lexico-semantic language such as the use of personal and collective pronouns in taking responsibility and commitment and at the same time used figurative language like metaphors to make comparison to his political party’s performance to the opposition party’s.
The study again, revealed that, the perception of Ghanaians on the speech of the vice president regarding the current state of the Ghanaian economy was negative as he and his party were vilified, and perceived as mismanaging the Ghanaian economy due incompetence. Conclusively, the study showed how politicians in Africa utilize language in their political discourse in the bid to shape and direct public opinion in their favor.
Keywords: Political Rhetoric, Ghana’s vice president, Economic Claims