More Drama Over Coomson
A PRESS conference organized by Nana Kofi Coomson, Publisher of The Chronicle newspaper yesterday to announce his intention to contest the Effia-Kwesimintsim parliamentary seat on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December elections, nearly came to an abrupt end following confusion that characterized the proceedings.
The confusion, which halted proceedings for about 10 minutes, started when a reporter of Coomson's Chronicle in Takoradi, Zam Samin attempted to answer a question directed at his boss by a journalist from the local SKYY Power FM, Kwabena Amofa.
Kofi Coomson, who is already embroiled in controversy following allegations that he had falsified the NPP letterhead to raise between $70,000 and $150,000 to support his political ambitions, called the press conference to unveil his vision for the constituency only to create further confusion.
The broadcast journalist had wanted to find out from Mr Coomson who claimed to be a true member of the ruling party, why certain stories in his newspaper sometimes sought to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of some NPP stalwarts, undermining the credibility of the party. According to Amofa, as a journalist he sometimes went behind some of the stories in the Chronicle, particularly those about certain NPP personalities to investigate and found out that they were either false or one-sided.
He cited a recent report in The Chronicle alleging that Joe Ghartey, MP for Essikado-Ketan who doubles as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, was chased out of a meeting by his constituents because he did not meet the needs of the people.
The Skyy Fm reporter claimed The Chronicle publication was concocted just to tarnish the reputation of Hon Ghartey, citing the denial by the queen-mother whose name was mentioned as the source of the story.
“So why don't you cross-check your facts from your own NPP men before you publish such stories?” Amofa asked.
However, instead of allowing Mr. Coomson to answer the question, Zam, who was also one of the two MCs at the programme, jumped in and attempted to answer the question because as he put it, “the question was too personal”.
“This question is too personal and as a staff of The Chronicle, I think I need to tell Amofa something,” Zam roared.
Amofa insisted that the question be answered by Mr Coomson, which stand was supported by other journalists who started hooting at Zam.
After calm had been restored, Coomson picked the microphone and said as publisher of The Chronicle, he had no control over the paper's editorial content.
He said he had no influence over his reporters so if there were any doubts about the credibility of any story in the paper, the respective reporters should be held accountable.
Mr Coomson heightened the drama at the event as he shed uncontrollable tears when he was asked about the money he raised for the family of the late Hawa Yakubu, first vice chairperson of the NPP who died in a London hospital last year.
Amid tears, he said even though he was the one who initiated the move to raise some funds for the family of the late Madam Hawa Yakubu, the party had to take over, adding, “But I personally produced her entire brochure.”
Mr. Coomson, who was reported to have said that he would not be comfortable sleeping under the Presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the NPP, this time showered tons of accolades on Nana, saying that he was a great person who was well-versed in human rights issues and the man of the moment.
“I have a very good relationship with Nana that was why he mentioned my name several times in his maiden encounter with the press in Accra prior to the NPP's national congress in December last year,” Mr. Coomson boasted.
He said now that congress had elected Nana Akufo-Addo as the party's flagbearer, there was the need for all those who supported the other candidates to bury the hatchet and support the winner to victory come December 7, 2008.
He made it clear that he had nothing against Hon. Joe Baidoo-Ansah, incumbent MP for Effia-Kwesimintsim and that the MP was his younger brother whom he (Coomson) had supported financially to go to Parliament.
On what new thing he would do for the constituency that the incumbent MP was not doing, Coomson said he would help bring transparency in governance in general.
In response to how much money he had been able to raise with his alleged falsified NPP letterhead for his campaign, he mentioned that so far he had got nothing, stressing that he did not use NPP letterhead but used the party's logo.
He told the press conference that he had secured his nomination form, completed it and hoped to submit it with the non-refundable fee of GH¢1,000 by the close of nomination on March 31, 2008.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi