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08.04.2005 General News

Victor Smith, Kwabena Agyepong clash - Rejoinder

By VICTOR SMITH

REJOINDER TO PUBLICATION BY GYE NYAME CONCORD AND POSTED ON GHANAWEB ON APRIL 5, 2005 RE – Victor Smith, Kwabena Agyepong clash. "Butubutu in London studio over Kufuor, Rawlings imbroglio.

The dishonesty and mischievousness of certain media houses and some of their journalists is as blatant as that of their paymasters in the NPP government, if not worse.

The Gye Nyame Concord newspaper of 4th or 5th April, 2005, in reporting on a radio interview carried out by a Ghanaian radio station, based in London, mischievously attempted to mislead readers into thinking both Kwabena Agyepong and I were in a London studio and went on to misrepresent what actually transpired in that interview.

The impression the writer sought to create in that article is laughable because I can state categorically that I was never in any studio in London with Kwabena Agyapong, neither were we on parallel lines during that morning's interview, to warrant the term "butubutu". How dishonest!

As characteristic of the Gye Nyame Concord as with the rest of the Government paid newspapers, the Gye Nyame Concord reported almost verbatim, everything Kwabena Agyepong said in that interview and disingenuously sought to trivialize what I had said. How unprofessional and skew-brained can the reporter be?

For the benefit of readers who may not have been privy to the interview in question, the interview was really about the remarks of the Christian Council's General Secretary relating to reconciling Former President Rawlings and President Kufuor as reported in the Daily Graphic of Tuesday 29 March, 2005.

In the submissions I made on several radio stations relating to the Daily Graphic story in question, I categorically disapproved of the approach suggested by the Christian Council and indicated that President Rawlings had met with leaders of Charismatic Churches in Accra many months ago and assured them of his willingness to join in the effort by the churches to broker peace and lower the heightening political tension in the country.

But I hastened to add that President Rawlings was more concerned about the insensitivity of the Kufuor Government to the plight of all citizens except those who are either close friends or relatives of the President.

I stated that should any reconciliation meeting be arranged by the Church leaders President Rawlings would highlight issues of national significance such as the high level of corruption in Government; the nepotism ; the killing of the overlord of Dagbon, the Ya Na and 40 others and the failure of government to ensure a thorough and satisfactory investigation to prosecute the real killers; the torture and eventual murder of Alhaji Issa Molbilla in a Military barracks; the serial murder of women in the run up to the 2000 elections and subsequent unsatisfactory investigation; the persecution of NDC Ministers and persons associated with President Rawlings; the badmouthing of President Rawlings by President Kufuor and his Ministers whenever they travel abroad.

On the question of former President using harsh/abusive language on President Kufuor I was of the view that the use of abusive language had come from the NPP side even when President Rawlings was Head of State. President Kufuor, then NPP flag bearer Kufuor, had referred to President Rawlings and cabinet as a bunch of rogues.

President Kufuor has, on more than one occasion, referred to former President Rawlings as "Abonsam" and "that character" etc.

Indeed Mr. Kufuor found it funny/hilarious and laughed when, in his presence, some of his party men such as Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and Kennedy Agyepong, amongst others, rained insults on the former President and his relations.

Kwabena Agyepong, the President's spokesman, has persistently made very derogatory remarks about President Rawlings, such as has been exhibited in the interview in question.

Neither President Kufuor nor any of his advisers have found it morally prudent to call Agyepong to order but they have been quick to find anything and everything wrong with the name Ataa Ayi being used during a protest march.

It doesn't surprise me that certain journalists who are, without doubt, on the benefits-roll of the government/national security, recklessly and without shame, jump to the rescue when senior government officials commit serious blunders such as the case of Vice- President Alhaji Aliu Mahama in the JJ Rawlings-UDS award saga, in which the poor UDS council chairman has now become a laughing stock and a scape goat who must be sacrificed.

No where in the national constitution does it state or say that journalists should set the national agenda for all to follow. Those journalists who have arrogated to themselves powers that they do not have or cannot handle intelligently, should think again.

VICTOR SMITH

SPECIAL ASSISTANT AND DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

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