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Opinions of Thursday, 21 December 2017

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Had the young award-winning journalist been paying attention

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Attempting to make a punching-bag or scapegoat out of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the most unwise and career-ruining tack that any patriotic activist-journalist could take, particularly vis-à-vis the handling of the apparent outbreak of the yet-to-be-clearly-identified epidemic that has gripped several senior high school campuses across the country and is reported to have killed at least a dozen students (See “Fear Grips Kumasi Academy As One More Student Dies, 44 Admitted to Hospital” / 12/6/17).

Intemperately picking on the President in the charged and panicky atmosphere which the epidemic appears to have induced could be career-ruining, because the Akufo-Addo Administration has tackled this most heart-wrenching issue in the best globally possible manner. Needless to say, it constitutes the height of naivety, as I hinted in a previous column on this subject, for any reporter or journalist worthy of such designation in practice to suppose that the best approach to tackling this epidemic is for the President to have staged an elaborate publicity stunt, by rushing into the proverbial eye-of-the-storm, as if his mere presence were the equivalent of having purposely trained first-responders arrive on the scene.

We know for a fact that by the time that Nana Akufo-Addo, whom we have just learned had been exposed to the dangers of whatever this still unidentified epidemic poses, arrived on the campus of the Kumasi Academy High School (aka KUMACA), the Asante Regional Minister, Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah, and medical experts from the Disease Surveillance Department of the Ghana Health Service (DSD-GHS) had already begun a full-scale investigation into the cause or causes of the deaths of the students. Then also, we learn that blood samples and other relevant tissue samples from the remains of some of the deceased students had been taken to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, located on the campus of the University of Ghana, if memory serves yours truly accurately, for examination.

Officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) had also visited the school and distributed the powerful general-purpose antibiotic called Azithromycin to all members of Kumasi Academy’s campus community, as a means of containing the epidemic. And so short of personal animosity or vendetta towards Nana Akufo-Addo, it is not clear why the young award-winning Joy-Fm broadcast journalist would accuse the President and his cabinet appointees of gross executive irresponsibility and dereliction of duty. The critic may very well be in dire need of psychiatric examination. And his mischievous enablers also need to take a critical look at the new inescapably nihilistic agenda assumed by one of their most prominent employees at the Multimedia corporate establishment.

Amidst all the preceding must also be squarely put into context the arson-torching of the medical stores of the Ministry of Health in the waning months of the Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

In other words, a lot of criminal dirty dealings went on in the health sector under the watch of President John Dramani Mahama that needs to be taken full account of by major media players like the young, talented broadcast journalist under discussion here and his ilk.

Playing politics with a serious crisis like that which is being presently discussed is definitely not a good journalistic practice. At best, it amounts to a cheap publicity stunt. There are far better and more constructive ways for any progressive media operative to get his or her name out in the banner headlines.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York


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