The Poor State of Ghanaian Journalism – Part 1

Feature Article The Poor State of Ghanaian Journalism – Part 1
MAR 28, 2023 LISTEN

We learn at least a couple of lessons from the stabbing death of the iPhone mugging of Ghana Armed Forces’ Trooper Imoro Sheriff (See “Ashaiman Murder: Police Details How Imoro Sheriff Was Killed, 6 Suspects in Custody” 3/12/23). The first lesson, even as hundreds, if not millions, of bloggers and social media users have already pointed out, is the fact that an insignificantly little has changed since the so-called Rawlings’ Revolution, some 40 years ago, vis-à-vis the general attitude and the relationship between the personnel of the GAF – that is, the Ghana Armed Forces – and the general Ghanaian public or citizenry. The members of the Ghana Armed Forces, by and large, continue to behave or, more appropriately, misbehave like the members of a foreign occupying military establishment. Perhaps strikingly akin to the erstwhile British Colonial Armed Forces.

You see, as I pointed out on the Facebook-streamed “4 Stars Radio” current affairs weekly program, hosted from Atlanta, Georgia, and monitored in Ghana most Sundays, the first line of response ought to have come from the members of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), especially in the wake of reports that the corpse of a male human had been found in the security-challenged Greater-Accra suburban township of Ashaiman, near the Tema Industrial Township or within the Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area, Accra, of course, being Ghana’s capital. And then once the mortal remains of the apparent victim of a violent assault and robbery had been credibly and positively identified, the next step should have been to dispatch personnel from the mufti or plainclothes division of the Ghana Police Service. We are here, of course, referring to officers from the Criminal Investigations Division or Department of the Ghana Police Service.

The latter detachment could then have been followed up or boosted by personnel from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), formerly known as the Special Branch of the Ghana Police Service. Here in the United States of America, the BNI is functionally akin to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). And then judicial justice would have been allowed to take its logical or natural course, as it were. Instead, what we had in the wake of the violent assault and the brutal murder of Trooper Imoro Sheriff, was the equally brutal and downright barbaric swarming of the Ashaiman township by irate members of the Ghana Armed Forces, who have been widely and reliably alleged to have indiscriminately attacked some residents of the Ashaiman neighborhood where Trooper Imoro Sheriff was savagely felled by some suspected professional armed robbers.

As of this writing and press preparation, there was a report making the rounds to the effect that at least one of the victims of the brutal assault by some enraged members of the Ghana Armed Forces had died as a direct result of injuries and wounds sustained at the hands of our taxpayer-salaried members of the Ghana Armed Forces, whose foremost line of duty or primary responsibility, by the way, is to protect all Ghanaian citizens and residents from external or foreign aggression, and not to brutally or savagely constitute themselves into the law of the land, as they have done when the military ruled the country. We witnessed this same horrific situation and indescribable level of barbarism in the wake of the globally infamous stoning death of Captain Mahama, posthumously promoted to the senior commissioned officer’s rank of a Major in 2017, if this author recalls accurately, in the wake of the assumption of the democratic reins of governance by the then newly elected President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in the Denkyira-Oboase/Obuasi district in the Central Region.

The eventual discovery that the victim of that most heinous and barbaric incident had been agnatically or paternally been related to the just-ousted – democratically speaking, that is – President John Dramani Mahama, may very well have further complicated matters, in terms of the extent of the punitive brutality and savagery with which a vengeful and indiscriminate assault was unleashed upon the virtually defenseless residents of Denkyira-Oboase/Obuasi by some members of the Ghana Armed Forces. To the best of my knowledge, absolutely none of these uniformed and politically undisciplined assailants were ever brought to justice. This is an inexcusable and decidedly eradicable blight on the professionalism and the disciplinary integrity of both the members of the Ghana Armed Forces as well as on the very institutional establishment of the Ghana Armed Forces itself. Equal blame, it goes without saying, must be apportioned to the Government of Ghana. And on the latter count, the reference is to both the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as well as the ideologically and politically independent institutional establishment of the three-pronged apparatus of the Executive, the Legislative/Legislature and the Judiciary.

You see, Dear Reader, one would have expected that in the wake of the near-constitutional crisis provoked by the brutal stoning death or murder of Major Mahama, or rather a veritable crisis and the apparent paralysis of national leadership, that a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry would have been established to seriously and comprehensively examine this chronic and apparently permanent or perpetual inability of Ghanaian leaders of all institutional establishments to ensure the radical, positive and the progressive transformation of the institutional establishment of the Ghana Armed Forces into an organic and cohesive part and parcel of a civilized and Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana, in much the same manner as the taxpayer-funded coercive statutory institutional establishments as routinely prevails in such politically advanced democracies as Britain, France, Germany, the United States of America and Canada, to name just a handful of the most obvious exemplary institutional establishments around the globe.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
March 19, 2023
E-mail: [email protected]