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Of Monkey Tails, NDC And Journalists   
 
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05-Feb-2010  
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The other day at Sunyani, when some journalists were being pummeled into pulps and others took to their heels like Usain Bolt, in the presence of the former President, Mr. JJ Rawlings, I was in the Brong Ahafo Regional capital. In fact I was sitting “my somewhere” in the room of a friend and cooling it off with “pure water”.

I was very far away from the scene where the war between the NDC apparatchiks and the journalists was raging on. Since the NDC came to power, I have sworn never to attend any programme organized by these people who graduated from the bloody and barbaric revolutionary days to become social democrats as they call themselves today.

Where I come from, our elders have a saying that if you do not want a monkey tail to touch you, you don’t go to a monkey dance. Monkeys have very long tails, and so if you attend a dance organized by monkeys, a monkey tail will touch you. Because I do not want a monkey tail to touch me, I don’t go to a monkey dance. What happened that day has vindicated me.

If I had been grabbed by these goons that would have been the last time you will ever hear of a man called Eric Bawah, the irrepressible Earth Angel. Even though I was not around, somebody took the punishment that was intended for me. That was the way God planned it.

A gentleman called Ernest Bawuah received a double slap on my behalf. Thank you very much Bawuah!! It happened when one of the journalists called out to the said Ernest Bawuah, a journalist working for one of the radio stations in the Brong Ahafo Region, to run because somebody was approaching with a club.

The hooligans thought he was the Eric Bawah that they were looking for and pounced on him. “This is the guy who has been writing nonsense about JJ and the NDC”, shouted one of the drunk and drugged hooligans.

Before Bawuah could answer, the slaps came flying like thunderbolt. When they realized he was not the Eric Bawah they wanted they let Mr. Bawuah off the hook with a bloody nose and puffy cheeks.

Allahu Akbar!!! When later the story was narrated to me, I gave praises to the Almighty God for small mercies. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want! When I saw the picture of the Veep in a handshake with the Brong Ahafo Regional chairman of the GJA in the Daily Graphic with the accompanying story that he, the Veep, condemned the attack, I laughed till I nearly broke a rib.

Do they think we are kindergarten boys? The truth is that, given the opportunity the NDC goons will attack again and again. They have a track record of beating up journalists and later begging as if they were sorry, only for them to repeat the dosage again at another time.

They started with shit bombing. They followed it up with assassination attempts and graduated to beating. As for those who will honour their invitations, they can go ahead, but as for your Earth Angel Gabriel, I will not dare because I have my children to cater for and life is not something that one can toy with.

Only those who have not taken time to study the history of the (P)NDC will refuse to accept the fact that the NDC are practitioners of organized vandalism and orchestrated state-sponsored terrorism.

But come to think of this: will the NDC ever learn a lesson as far as their relation with the press is concerned? In the run-up to the 2000 general elections, the NDC supporters shit bombed and molested journalists from the private media. Some top journalists were even jailed in the process.

Those who mattered in the NDC were quick to justify the behaviour of the supporters of the then ruling NDC. All this intimidation did not break the back of the press as they kept the fire burning till the party was removed from power. This time around they have added the state media houses and private radio stations. At the said beatings of journalists at Sunyani, reporters from the Ghanaian Times, GNA and other private media houses were brutally assaulted.

One will not be surprised if the National President of the Ghana Journalists Association is beaten up one of these days.

I must admit, even as a journalist, that journalism is not an attractive job. The number of journalists killed, maimed and wounded across the length and breadth of the world is something that is worrisome. Journalists who are sent to war fronts unarmed are mowed down whiles others are kidnapped. Here in Africa, politicians see the journalist as inquisitive and “too known”.

When the journalist writes something good about a politician, they like it, but when the journalist becomes very candid and writes what he saw and heard, hell breaks lose.

The politician thinks the journalist should always write only the good things about him or her. Anything contrary puts the journalist in an awkward corner. There are a few of us in the inky fraternity who will dare the devil to say it as it is. Indeed, we do so at a high risk but we have come this far because those who want to hear the truth are more than those who prefer to always listen to lies.

Oh yes, I must admit again that there are sometimes a few journalistic foibles and peccadillos. Sometimes we let loose our mischievous selves, vitiating the niceties of journalistic etiquette.

Here in Ghana, there is an abundant lack of professional touch in some of the newspapers. In some cases, facts are freely mixed with comments; speculation is presented with categorical self-assurance as if it were an objective. Sometimes the level of reasoning of some writers in some newspapers is almost tantamount to a declaration of war on logic or even common sense.

But in the face of all these minor mistakes committed by some of our friends in the inky fraternity, the wheat should be sieved from the chaff. Society cannot lump all of us together. Like politicians, there are bad and good nuts in every profession.

For the eight years that the NPP government held the reins of power, no journalist was detained. The expunging of the wicked Criminal Libel Law in our status book helped in no small way to uplift the standard of journalism in this country.

Indeed one cannot run away from the fact that the credit should go to the past government, but I for one see no reason why we should thank the past Kufuor government for not having detained any journalist despite the unjustified onslaught on the government.

It is however true that our general attitude is killing journalism in this country, but that is how it should be considering the fact that for more than two decades the (P)NDC regimes cowed journalists into submission.

For more than two decades, we the journalists in this country were able to wear the crown of martyrdom, but now the crown has become too heavy for us to wear in this democratic dispensation.

And so if a sadistic half-baked literate and half-baked prison warder thought a cameraman from the Daily Guide should seek permission from him before taking pictures of convicted armed robbers, I think that imbecile needs to go home, look into the mirror and see what an idiot looks like.

That is absolute balderdash! As for the judge who ordered the guy to be locked up in the cells, he should visit his library, get the General Principles of English Law and read the Maxim of Equity, one of which says equity looks at the intention rather than the form.
Was the cameraman going to chew the picture, my Lord? I put it to you. (Abi this one bi contempt of court, your highness?).
 
 
Source: [email protected]/daily guide
 
 

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