29.03.2023 Feature Article

The Poor State of Ghanaian Journalism – Part 2

The Poor State of Ghanaian Journalism – Part 2
29.03.2023 LISTEN

The very painful second lesson that we learn from the brutal stabbing death and post-midnight robbery of Ghana Armed Forces’ Trooper Imoro Sheriff is the fact that, by and large, Ghanaian journalism woefully lacks the sort of seriousness that ought to make the general public and the citizenry feel secure and comfortable that there is, indeed, a bevy of vigilant watchdogs watching out for their safety. You see, the first media reaction to the brutal murder and robbery or mugging of the late Trooper Imoro Sheriff and one that, as it turns out, may even have a modicum of credibility, was about what the deceased, officially stationed in Sunyani, capital of the Old Brong-Ahafo Region and, presently, capital of the Akufo-Addo-created Bono Region (Proper), was to speculatively question what the victim was doing in Ashaiman Township at the patently ungodly hour of a little past midnight.

On the latter count, of course, I am referring to the fact that the late Trooper Imoro Sheriff would be walking the streets of Ashaiman at such a very late hour in one of the most dangerous townships or suburban communities in the Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area and, in fact, the entire nation at large. Now, the Dear Reader ought not to get the wrong vibe from this writer. The foregoing aspect of the brutal and tragic story of the young patriotic trooper with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) is very important. But it was definitely secondary to the story of the deadly assault of the victim; and it was clearly one that the alleged murder suspects may very well not have been the least bit concerned about. And on the latter count, we are referring to the fact of whether, indeed, the deceased soldier had gone to Ashaiman to have a jolly good time with a, reportedly, two-timing or double-crossing lover or girlfriend.

I am highlighting this aspect of the narrative because rather than squarely focus on the immediate circumstances surrounding the brutal and grisly murder of Trooper Imoro Sheriff, the focus orgiastically became one that was almost exclusively about the purported peccadilloes of the victim and the stereotypically “roguish” and “rakish” lifestyle of a remarkable portion of the members of the Ghana Armed Forces at large. Now, we all know, and yours truly who had at least a half-dozen maternal uncles in the Ghana Armed Forces, perhaps even more than a dozen maternal uncles, depending on one’s “Afrocentric” count, most of them among the senior-rank membership of the Ghana Armed Forces, that is, from the rank of Major and up, could readily testify to the fact that gallivanting is almost second nature to many of these professionally trained national security combatants. But, of course, this is scarcely all that there is to these otherwise generally patriotic-minded personnel or officers.

And, by the way, I also tend to believe that the very stressful nature of the job – and on the latter count, at least, I am looking at matters from the standpoint of the several nephews and cousins and other relatives, some of them distant and not-so-distant relatives, that I have in active service with the United States Military (USM) – may very well have quite a lot to do with this apparently avid need for coital pleasure and release on the least given chance. I personally have a paternal nephew who served in the US Army during the US Invasion of Iraq and had what might be, perhaps, aptly described as an inordinate penchant for a gallivanting frolicsome life. I must, however, also quickly note that today, this “kid’s” kind of frolicsome frivolity, as it were, occurred while my nephew was his mid-20s to his late 20s and his very early 30s and was decidedly a no-strings-attached bachelor. Today, KG is a happily married veteran with the US Army National Guard and is employed with the United States Customs Service somewhere in the Washington, DC vicinity.

I guess the upshot of my narrative here is that whether an Army Trooper is given to the life of a pleasure-seeking hedonist or not does not absolutely preclude one’s inalienable right, especially the inalienable right of a patriotic brave warrior, or even one merely trained as such, like the tragically slain 21-year-old Imoro Sheriff, a bona fide first-rate Ghanaian citizen, from walking the streets of any of our towns and villages at any hour of the day or night without the urgent fear or the uneasy feeling of having one’s life endangered because of the criminal prowling of murderous predators like the 6 alleged suspects either already charged with or about to be shortly charged with the bestially brutal slaying of Trooper Imoro Sheriff.

Now, this dire situation calls for the imperative necessity of the Government and the leaderships of all our national security apparatuses or establishments to swiftly and systematically map out all the most deadly troubled spots around the country and to fiercely respond with the sort of beefed up security or vigilance that would make these antisocial elements fully appreciate the need to take their acts of capital criminality and economically parasitic business elsewhere, perhaps somewhere well beyond the territorial boundaries of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana and back to those crime-breeding and security-challenged neighboring countries where a remarkable percentage of these thugs and societal vermin are known to have originated.

In short, the Government must not under any circumstances, whatsoever, allow the positive aspects of the need for a cohesive and economically prosperous confederal establishment of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) blind us to the drawbacks or the negatives aspects of this otherwise very progressive order of contemporary postcolonial existence. We make this observation because it has increasingly become clear that a disproportionate percentage of these deadly acts of heinous criminality is known to almost invariably be perpetrated by foreign nationals. Now, what this means is that the Government and, by logical extension, the Ghanaian taxpayer, is being undesirably and illegally saddled with expenditures that ought to be borne by the countries of origin of these hardened and deadly criminals.

It is also significant to note that barely one month ago, this author’s visiting wife – she is a native-born Ghanaian citizen, by the way – had her iPhone literally snatched from her at “weapon-point” by some two men on a motorbike, who spoke with a heavy “foreign” West African accent, in the “After-25” vicinity of the Tema Industrial Township. My wife tells me our newly completed self-contained three-bedroom house is located in a place called Dawhenya. It is not very far from Ashaiman, where Trooper Imoro Sheriff was brutally slaughtered about three weeks ago. And, by the way, reports also have it that the deceased trooper’s mother and some very close relatives live in Ashaiman Township and that, in fact, Trooper Sheriff had spent some time with them prior to his gruesome slaying that fateful night.

*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]