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General News of Saturday, 23 May 2009

Source: daily democrat

Statesman Newspaper is Broke

To SACK OVER 35 out of 49 WORKERS soon

Free 50million monthly support no more

Senior staff Salaries in arrears since January

THE NATION'S OLDEST NEWS paper, the Statesman, established in the forties, originally owned by Nana Akuffo-Addo, former NPP Minister for Foreign Affairs and Flagbearer of the party, later sold to his cousin Ken Offori-Atta and Mr. Keli Gadzepko, both of Data Bank, is in serious crisis. Simply put, Statesman ˜is broke.

The deteriorated state of the company was announced to the workers at an emergency meeting held on 4th May 2008 and chaired by Gabby Ockyere Darko, Editor- In chief and head of the Danquah Institute.

According to sources close to the Statesman newspaper, Gabby disclosed that their present bad financial situation is basically due to the inability of the paper to continue to enjoy the over 50million support they were getting every month during the NPP regime to supplement dwindling sales.

The sources said Gabby subsequently met Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta on 19th May to deliberate on the way forward and draw up stimulus plans to save the Statesman newspaper which they believe will play a crucial role in Nana Addo’s 2012 presidential Bid.

The source said, instead for Gabby to sympathize with the workers, he brags that the affected workers will not receive any money from the company they have served for over five years. .You are leaving at the end of the month,” he stressed.

The workers however blame Gabby Asare Ockyere-Darko for his lack of foresight and mismanagement that have resulted in the mess. They allege that apart from the over 50 million Cedis monthly support, somebody has used their name to collect money and other things for his or her own benefit.

Some of the workers who spoke to The Daily Democrat appealed to Nana Addo to help save the paper from total collapse so as to keep them in employment. Management's insensitivity to workers plight is evident in the poor working conditions under which the employees work. It emerged that some workers take-home pay is between 70 and 80 Ghana Cedis, inadequate to take them through the month.

About the Statesman

Our mission

The mission of The Statesman, founded in 1949, is to make a courageous, consubstantial, constructive contribution to nation-building, and to the enhancement of the life of every individual citizen of this country by bringing and maintaining democracy, national leadership, individual and collective responsibility into balance through faith in God, belief in the supreme dignity of humankind, and an uncompromising defence and promotion of the rights and freedoms of every individual to live and let live in a multi-democratic and liberal economic environment, where access to the ladder of vertical socio-economic mobility is opened to all.

 A brief history

The Statesman was first established in 1949 by Edward Akufo-Addo, a founding member of the first political party of the Gold Coast, the United Gold Coast Convention, a party formed with the main objective to win independence for the country.

Edward Akufo-Addo (1906 - 1979) was a founding member of Ghana, one of the so-called Big Six who led the fight for Ghana's independence from the British colonial order, which was achieved on March 6, 1957. He served in the 1960s as Chief Justice. He served as the President of Ghana from 31 August 1970 until he was deposed in a coup d'etat on 13 January 1972.

The Statesman story is the story of this country's struggle for freedom. It was a victim of the clamp-down on freedom of expression under the First Republic. It was revived after the 1966 coup, but suffered once again when dictatorship returned to sweep away the Second Republic under the military rule of Kutu Acheampong in 1972.

The Statesman did not have another revival opportunity with the albeit short sojourn of the Third Republic in 1979. The publisher Edward Akufo-Addo died the same year of natural causes.

In 1992, however, his first born son revived The Statesman; Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo re-established the paper on 14 May 1992, as the country prepared for the coming of the Fourth Republic return to the multi-party democracy. With Nana Akufo-Addo being the campaign manager of the presidential candidate for the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party, it was only natural that the paper, dubbed a political paper, became effectively the mouthpiece of the NPP.

The role of The Statesman in Ghana's nascent Fourth Republic became even more obvious and potent as the NPP boycotted the parliamentary election after declaring the presidential ballot "The Stolen Verdict." Thus, for four years, The Statesman served as the 'frontbench microphone' for the opposition without Parliament. The paper was in the frontline in the battle to inject the true values of constitutional rule in Ghana's body politics. The content and sales of the paper, hitting 100,000 copies, reflected this crucial reality.

The paper was managed and edited by Yaw Amfo-Kwakye, an LLB graduate educated in London, with the late Ferdinand Ayim rising quickly to become its Chief Correspondent. By the 1996 general elections, Harunna Atta, a columnist, had become the editor

He (Akufo-Addo) sold The Statesman in August 2004 to his cousin Ken Ofori-Atta and Keli Gadzepko, both of Databank Financial Services. The two men are often cited as a prime example of the heights to which Ghanaians can attain. The Yale- and Harvard-trained bankers have since 1990 turned a $10,000 investment into a multi-million dollar African success story, with Databank as Africa's leading stockbrokers and asset managers.

The paper's Editor-in-Chief is Asare Otchere-Darko, a lawyer and PR consultant. He joined the paper on October 1, 2001, after serving it as a columnist and foreign correspondent for seven years. Frank Agyei-Twum is the Editor, with Annaliza Agyare as General Manager.

The paper has a current staff population of 49.

The philosophy of the journal formed 57 years ago has always fundamentally been the same: to strive for the best for this country and her people through freedom. It is conservative in its respect for the traditional order and conviction that our traditional value systems should be seen and utilised in forming our national identity and facing modern challenges. It shares their deeply Ghanaian faith in the providence of the Almighty.

But, it is also a freethinker and in fact encourages ideas that offer constructive and positive challenges to the status quo, being it psychological or structural.

The paper shares the liberal philosophies of the Danquah-Busia tradition, with faith in God, believing in the supreme dignity of humankind, in common love and sense of purpose of all Ghanaians everywhere, and in the right of every individual to freedom of expression, conscience, association and economic advancement, irrespective of class, creed, colour, race, religion or ethnicity.

It shares the concept of property-owning democracy and is committed to the extensive and indiscriminate realisation of that goal, which would see all Ghanaians having access to the ladder of vertical progress and having a proprietary stake in wealth and assets of this nation.

The Statesman became a daily newspaper on June 12, 2006, symbolically, the day that Ghana made its maiden appearance on the World Cup stage in Germany.. It has plans to establish a monthly magazine and a weekly business paper in collaboration with Databank Research