Odartey Wellington fires salvo on Presidents comments...
...concerning Father’s Burial
The Odartey Wellington family has issued a statement with reference to the President Rawlings' comments on the burial of former Army Commander, the late Major-General N.A. Odartey-Wellington, who died in 1979.
The statement was signed by Mr Michael Odartey Wellington, the elder brother of Felix Odartey-Wellington, the lawyer currently embroiled in an alleged libelous case against the President.
Michael and Felix Odartey Wellington are sons of the late Major-General N.A. Odartey Wellington, who died in 1979 in an attempt to quell the June 4 uprising by Junior Officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces. Felix was arrested and later released on bail this week by the Bureau of National Investigations for making alleged libelous statements against the President on Ghana Television’s BreakFast Show programme where he doubles up as a social commentator.
The statement said that on Thursday the 9th of November, President Rawlings was shown on Ghana Television addressing Queen mothers of the Ga State during a courtesy call on the President at the Castle. The statement added that in course of the exchanges, the President said, among other matters, in Ga that he was one of the pallbearers at the burial of the late Major General in 1979.
Michael Odartey Wellington further stated that he was present at his Father’s burial at the age of fourteen and that the Odartey Wellington family states that the President’s claim is wholly inaccurate. He further added that the President was not present at his Father’s burial and neither was he one of the pall bearers, a fact which can be testified by all those who were present during the burial.
He added that with regard to the President’s comments on his Father’s professional reputation as a professional soldier, the Odartey Wellington Family would leave that to the Officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces to decide.
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) had earlier issued a statement expressing concern about the two "unfortunate incidents" this week involving the arrest and interrogation of Nana Kofi Coomson, publisher of the Ghanaian Chronicle, and Mr. Felix Odartey-Wellington, a media commentator.
A statement issued in Accra said the two incidents are unfortunate because they tend to send wrong signals in terms of a conducive environment required for campaigning in the period before election, especially as it relates to the crucial role of the media.
The GJA said it is at a loss to fathom the role of the BNI in the management of the alleged infringement of the law. It said the need for transparency and regard for due processes in the handling of such situation with possible political undertone cannot be over-emphasised. "In such a situation, the police, as the sole investigative agency and respecting due processes, would definitely have been a better option provided complainants felt so strong about the criminal aspect of the reported incidents."
The Association appealed to all who feel aggrieved by the work of media practitioners or commentators to make use of the rejuvenated Ethics/Disciplinary Committee of the GJA and the Media Commission in the first instance.
It also appealed to all parties involved in the present dispute to exercise restraint and circumspection as efforts are intensified to facilitate the resolution of the issues involved in the wider interest of Ghana and in cognisance of the letter and spirit of the constitution.