Feature: Our (Ghanaian) Journalists Lack Dignity and Self-Respect – Says Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.
Here, too, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I mean, what is this beef about having “soli”-oriented journalists packed into the tray, or “bucket” (that’s how one reporter put it), of a tipper truck at the Black Star Square during Ghana’s 59th Independence Anniversary festivities? (See “GIBA Angry Over ‘Tipper Truck Journalists’ at Ghana @59” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 3/7/16). When I asked my wife what she thought about this incident, she simply snorted and said, “But this is the routine in Ghana.”

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Well, when I first read about this incident, it set me thinking about the recent “roadkill” of Mr. Samuel Nuamah, the 37-year-old Ghanaian Times reporter who was attached to the Flagstaff House as one of the so-called Presidential Reporters. It all happened when the press bus on which they had traveled to cover an event that President John Mahama had keynoted in Ho, the Volta regional capital, hosted by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana, was unceremoniously snatched from these reporters by a Flagstaff House official who had discovered a better use for the same.

Legend has it that in exchange for the commandeered Flagstaff House’s press bus, these patent “Presidential Chicken Feeds” had been ceded a hulking and barely roadworthy mini-bus driven by an inexperienced operator who had, predictably, crashed the vehicle into a creek-swept ravine. Mr. Nuamah’s untimely death would result from a severe injury sustained when the Times’ reporter landed on his head. The ill-fated vehicle had upended and finally settled on its side.

Well, I don’t see where the real beef is if the objectives of having these photo-journalists mount the tray or bucket of the tipper truck was to give them a higher and better view of Black-Star Square. I have been there many times in the past when I lived at Osu-Kuku Hill and taught English, Literature, Commerce and History to SENDO students at the Osu Presbyterian Secondary School between 1983 and 1984 as an “A”-Level National Service Teacher. As I vividly recall, 1984 was a bumper year for my Fifth-Form students – I also taught Form-Four students – and a record-setting year for SENDO at the GCE “O”-Level examinations.

At any rate, what I really wanted to ask somebody, perhaps even the dear reader, is the difference between Black-Star Square and Independence Square. I have been a little confused about these two historic landmarks for quite a while now, even before I departed our beloved country a little over three decades ago.

The tipper-truck episode evoked into my mnemonic faculties that classic, jazzy number so inimitably composed and delectably rendered by Master Drummer Mr. Okyerema Asante, the globally renowned music maestro. The title of that number is “Crabs in a Bucket.” Still, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, the President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters’ Association (GIBA) had a point when he bitterly decried this most shabby treatment of Ghanaian journalists by their own democratically elected government. I bet nobody recalls the I. K. Acheampong-led junta of both the so-called National Redemption Council (NRC) and the Supreme Military Council (SMC-I) packing journalists into the trays, or buckets, of tipper trucks to cover independent anniversary festivities.

And yet, listening to the Trokosi Boys narrate their version of the country’s political history, one would think that the man who built the single largest public real-estate project in the country, the Dansoman Estates, at the time the largest of its kind in the West African sub-region, as well as the world-famous Azumah Nelson Sports Complex, at Kaneshie, Accra, was the worst and most extortionate military dictator ever to be visited on the pates of the Ghanaian people.

Actually, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman ought to have directed whatever ire or resentment he may have harbored for the tipper-truck episode at these improperly credentialed photo-journalists themselves. For in the final analysis, if they had not so docilely and lamely consented to being subjected to such sub-human treatment, by flatly refusing to climb themselves up and into the tray, or bucket, of the tipper truck nobody could have forced them to do so. And then the Flagstaff House’s Communications Directorate could have gone to hell on this revolutionary turnaround.

You see, the extent to which Ghanaian journalists can be mistreated by government operatives directly correlates with the extent to which these journalists are willing to be pushed around. Pushovers have absolutely no right to being treated with respect and dignity of the kind which the Flagstaff House’s Abongo Boys are bound to recognize and/or respect unless, of course, these journalists are also willing to force these cynical political scumbags to play by the time-proven rules of civilized engagement.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

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