“Now the trumpet summons us again-not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need-but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out. ‘rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation’- a struggle against the common enemies of man: ‘tyranny, corruption, cronyism, nepotism, poverty, disease’..”-John F. Kennedy
It is appropriate, methinks, that in times like this, I intone a felicitous hymn to encapsulate the state of the media under the two years reign of Mr. Wiiliam Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and his minions who have set our nation on a rapid path of deterioration, an obvious failing democracy and a creeping anarchism.
Even as I set to do this I am very much aware that there is a price to pay for daring to spearhead the battle against dictatorship, censorship, tyranny and cronyism which is manifest in a government made up of persons who have been on the streets for years fighting military dictatorship and injustices.
I am not oblivious that the killers of Ahmed Hussein-Suale, a young man who chose Journalism as a patriotic call to serve his nation and humanity are out there, and with their tools; looking for their next prey. Nor have I forgotten, that just last week, another journalist, Edward Adeti, who exposed the dark activities of one of the Jubilee House ‘vultures’ and his agents only managed to escape with his young family; the grisly adventure of his pursuers.
I shall allow you a moment to ponder the advice you might give your love ones, friends, practitioners and would-be journalists who might be the target of the infirmities of these incongruous escorts of Ghana’s democracy after we all woke up to the news yesterday that, one of our famous actors in the inky fraternity, an investigative Journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni has become a fugitive as his prize for revealing the horror of De-Eye Group, an agency set for the training of a militia that labours for the buccaneering department of the Jubilee house.
But, the desire to unmask the mendaciousness of the men of ‘integrity’ is lit in me, now than ever before and my resolve is fortified by the words of Demosthenes, a Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens, that, “The worst calamity that can befall a nation is to be deprived of the freedom of speech”
It is not surprising that insecurity has become the common theme in this trajectory of economic hardships in many homes, increasing streetism, filth engulfing our cities amidst rising corruption, kidnapping, assassinations and outright impunity in our justice delivery system? Indeed, these are the signs of a failing state and unless we begin to unpack, we dare become a shocker to other African sister nations who use to look up to us for direction.
It does not matter that our nation was once the beckon of hope to many countries, including those who struggled to overpower the rude adventures of powerful dictators, the seeds of destruction are gradually crippling our 27-year-old well-groomed 4TH REPUBLIC with the recent actors fertilizing the bane with impunity.
Greed and avarice, insatiable desire for power and abrupt disdain for patriotism has taken over the conscience of the men who preached virtues on our streets only yesterday, the men and women who mounted the pulpits to decree the role of God’s servant as apostles of democracy.
Indeed! It is one of those men who led the ‘Alliance for Change’ a pressure group which fought the erstwhile ‘dictatorial’ regime of then flight Lft. Jerry John Rawlings and later the first NDC government of the 4th Republic, the man who once prided himself as a torchbearer of human rights, one of our own, now on rampage.
And all of a sudden, men cannot speak from the pulpit without threats of death, if they were to speak against the greed of Akufo Addo and his Appointees.
Journalist cannot critique the government free from fears of having state sponsored murderers coming after them in the night or the mutiny of hired labourers who are fed fat on the taxpayers’ money and their ally fifth columnists launch sophistries at them.
Even the men and women in uniform employed to protect law and order have become themselves victims of the ferocious attack dogs of ‘He that must be obeyed’ and have to adjust in order to save their jobs and provide for their families.
But the afflictions of journalists or media practitioners are not limited to threats of physical harm, intimidation, denial or segregation by state actors.
Today in Ghana, media houses who gather the courage to be objective, or critical of government, are targeted for victimization socially, economically and politically.
Not only do appointees of the government threaten to isolate businesses which place their advertisement with critical media establishments but those who dare flout the orders of ‘His Emperor Majesty’ Akufo Addo and his marching orders through his appointees are dealt with in various ways when negotiations fail.
In fact, it is not only regular businesses who are cowed into submission, but also corporate organizations which have media affiliates and which are suspected to have relationships with opposition political parties who have been ruthlessly dealt with.
The last time I had a conversation with one of the ruling party’s veteran politician, she feared that the nation is fighting a ‘demon of obliteration’ scarier than she had imagined in her nearly 65yrs of existence.
Suddenly, a few members of the government who have the sense of justice and patriotism still running through their veins are being admonished not to patronize the critical media and those who do, are under the threat of losing their parliamentary seats or political appointments.
Incredibly, some of the people, such as Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe, Kwesi Pratt Junior, Dr. Wereko Brobbey but a few who were with Akufo Addo in the fight against all forms of injustices under the Rawlings autocratic regime have become his avowed enemies. Ironically, Rawlings and his sweet wife who were accused by Akufo Addo for allegedly discharging the key of the vehicle that carried the three murdered justices, to the ‘slaughter house’ are now the friends of Akufo Addo.
To cut my long epistle short, I am trying to say that, we are not in normal times. The struggle has just begun and it looks like there will be quiet a journey before sanity prevails again. Looking at the rate at which the government and it’s actors have accelerated corruption activities and quest to retain political power at all cost, not only Journalist but the Clergy, civil society loud mouths, professionals, labour activists, the academia… must be prepare to fight the ‘Demon’ or risk dying in silence.
By DAVID TAMAKLOE