I could have easily predicted that the media hungry and cheap publicity-hogging Chairman Jerry John Rawlings would jump into the sex-for-grades scandal that recently rocked the country’s flagship academy, the University of Ghana, Legon, and the University of Lagos, Nigeria, for whatever value the retired junta leader and Ghana’s longest-ruling dictator could cash out of the same. Reports have it that on Thursday, October 31, 2019, the National Executive Members of the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) had called on the fast-aging former dictator at his office in the Ridge section of Ghana’s capital city of Accra. This courtesy call came on the heels of the BBC-TV’s uncovering of a sex-for-grades racket on the sprawling campuses of the University of Ghana and the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
We are not given the precise context in which the bloody “revolutionary” Chairman Rawlings made the following clearly media-baiting remark: “Actually, I must admit that this thing has happened to one of my daughters. It wasn’t to do with sex” (See “My Daughter Was Not a Victim of ‘Sex-for-Grades’ – Rawlings Clarifies” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 11/1/19). Now, let us work our way backwards on the preceding Rawlings’ quote, so as to fully appreciate the glaringly inescapable fact that it was deliberately calculated to impugn the credibility and integrity of the country’s media community. Not that I would feel sorry for the Mahama-toadying Affail Monney Gang. The relevant question to ask here is: why would the garrulous and quarrelsome retired dictator “even go there,” that is, even clearly suggest that “Actually, I must admit that this thing has happened to one of my daughters before,” while he was clearly speaking to the subject of “sex-for-grades” scandal that had recently rocked the campuses and the faculties of the University of Ghana and the University of Lagos, and then quickly add that [but] “It wasn’t to do with sex”?
If it wasn’t to do with sex-for-grades at all, then why draw “this thing” into the salacious context of the subject at issue, if Chairman Rawlings was not really intent on pulling some sort of mischief on the leaders of the country’s media community, with the clearly obvious objective of creating a dubious aperture for assault on the credibility and integrity of the members of the media community who, more than any other Ghanaian leader, Mr. Rawlings has relentlessly assaulted, both verbally and physically, as well as systematically persecuted during the 19-odd years when he politically held Ghanaian citizens, literally, by our scruff?
At any rate, the real problem here is far less the fact that Chairman Rawlings deliberately and mischievously tricked the media, in particular the editors and reporters of the Ghanaian Chronicle newspaper, into going for the bait, and then deviously using the opportunity created to self-righteously light, albeit vacuously, into the question of the institutional credibility and the professional integrity of the practitioners of the country’s media establishment. Another far more courageous and conscientious President of the Ghana Journalists’ Association, other than the severely intellectually and professionally challenged present one, would have taken the fight to the habitually media-stampeding megalomaniac. Indeed, it is an open secret that his cold-calculated strategy of stampeding and systematically and perennially harassing the members of the media establishment was one of the major reasons why the Rawlings-led junta of the erstwhile Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) was able to literally hold Ghanaians hostage for as long as it did.
And to be certain, the situation never changed any significantly under the stewardship or tenures of the successive National Democratic Congress-sponsored regimes, especially under former President John Dramani Mahama, when a specially appointed Presidential Staffer by the name of Stanislav X. Dogbe was put in charge of the physical assault and the tactical and strategic marginalization of media operatives department at the Mahama Presidency. For those of our readers who may have so soon forgotten the same, it was such act of media harassment and political inferiorization that directly culminated in the road-killing of 27-year-old Mr. Samuel Nuamah, the Ghanaian Times correspondent who was at the time of his preventable brutal death attached to the Mahama Flagstaff House.
And now, deservedly dispatched onto the margins of opposition political culture, the leaders of the National Democratic Congress would have the Ghanaian public believe that it is rather President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the visionary statesman who crafted the landmark Repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, who is the bane of Ghana’s free press.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
December 30, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs