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Opinions of Friday, 16 October 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

A Most Apt Call

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Oct. 10, 2015

Mr. Stanislav Xoese Dogbe may be one boorish human animal too many on the staff of President John Dramani Mahama. This is ironic, because the same Chief-of-State who recently offered a post-hoc immunity to Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas, for criminally, albeit laudably, inducing some Ghanaian judges and magistrates into accepting bribes and vacating their professional sense of integrity, in the name of extirpating corruption among members of the judiciary, has flatly refused to sanction one of his own staffers rightly accused of mauling a reporter in the employ of the government-owned and operated Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). Now, let me quickly dispose of the Anas angle to this discussion before I get grossly and crassly misunderstood once more. I am absolutely in no way either saying or implying that Mr. Anas’ secret videotaping of the judges and magistrates, even as he illegally baited them with kickbacks, is necessarily a fundamental act of criminality of the first order, even though that is precisely what it irrefutably is. But as even my elder sister pointed out to me just this morning (Oct. 11), Ghana has no viable statutory mechanism for effectively rooting out the sort of reprobates that the Tiger-Eye PI team heroically went after.

My sister also maintains that even if Mr. Anas had attempted to use legitimate means of rooting out these judicial misfits, such as seeking permission and cover from key operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), his cover would have been unconscionably blown by some of the same BNI operatives who may have promptly alerted some of their friends and relatives on the bench to be on the lookout. And Mr. Anas’ life and safety, as well as those of his investigative collaborators, would have been unwisely compromised. My sister’s quite sound argument, therefore, is that until the proper mechanism and conducive political and cultural climate have been established in the country, the “Anasian” approach to investigative journalism is the most ideal for any serious investigative journalist in the country.

At any rate, the irony further thickens because as a professionally trained lawyer, the country’s foremost investigative journalist fully knew the law and the fact that he ought to have first sought a warrant or permission from the relevant national security or law-enforcement agency, such as the Bureau of National Investigations or the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), before he heroically and admirably slipped undercover with the express purpose of exposing and causing the eradication of these rotten judicial apples from the bench.

President Mahama says that he is determined to drastically reduce the level of corruption in the country, especially in the civil service over which he wields primary control and responsibility. And yet, the President refuses to sanction Mr. Dogbe for brutally and criminally assaulting Mr. Yahyah Kwamoah, whom an evidently paranoid Mr. Dogbe had falsely accused of eavesdropping on a conversation between him and Dr. Edward Omane-Boamah, Ghana’s Communications Minister, at the 37th Military Hospital, in the wake of the tragic accident involving a corps of reporters officially attached to the Flagstaff House that resulted in the untimely death of the Ghanaian Times’s reporter Mr. Samuel Nuamah.

The brutal mauling of Mr. Kwamoah also allegedly resulted in the total destruction of the state-owned digital recorder with which the victimized reporter had gone out to do a story on the aforesaid incident. The Flagstaff House-attached reporters, officially known as Presidential Reporters, had accompanied the President to a church-related event in the Volta regional capital of Ho. What makes this incident even more outrageous is the fact that the physical injuries allegedly sustained by Mr. Kwamoah disturbingly appear to have been given the worst possible short-shrift treatment. Nearly all the stories that have dealt with this incident have highlighted the fact that the young reporter’s damaged or destroyed digital audio-recorder has been replaced. We are told, for example, that the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), the Prof. Kwame Karikari-founded media watchdog, Mr. Sulemana Braimah, has replaced Mr. Kwamoah’s audio-recorder. Then also, we are informed that the Flagstaff House has offered GHC 1,000 (One-Thousand Cedis) for the replacement of the same equipment.

And so it clearly appears that both President Mahama and Dr. Omane-Boamah would rather have the Earth open up and swallow Mr. Kwamoah, so as to enable these executive operatives to go back to business as usual, than having to honestly and frontally deal with the disciplinary aspect of this criminal assault of a man diligently and studiously going about the job for which he was specially trained. And Mr. Mahama wants Ghanaians to trust him to protect them against corrupt judges and other morally regressive and criminal and anti-social elements among Ghanaian citizenry. Mr. Sulemana Braimah, the Executive Director of the MFWA, is reported to have written a letter to the Chief Resident of the Flagstaff House decrying the flagrant failure of Mr. Mahama to sanction Mr. Stanislav Dogbe, himself a professionally trained journalist. The President is also widely known to be a professionally trained media maven and/or operative. Which leaves the concerned observer wondering whether this is some sort of Cosa Nostra in Sicilian-Mafia parlance.

Well, as I vividly recall, I was one of the first avid watchers of the Ghanaian political scene to advise President Mahama to promptly fire Mr. Dogbe or he was likely to be mired in more controversy down the pike. This was in the wake of Mr. Dogbe’s rather unprofessional decision to leak the demands of striking members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on his private Face-Book Wall. Now it clearly appears as if the culprit must all along have had the full and unreserved blessing of the Chief Bwana of Jubilee House. Indeed, Mr. Mahama may well have even collaborated with Mr. Dogbe on this patently nauseating attempt to put the long-suffering Ghanaian doctors in bad light.