Feature Article of Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Columnist: Kwankwaso, Abu Musah

Gomda's Contribution to a Peaceful Zongo?

Minister Slapped Story - Gomda's Contribution to a Peaceful Zongo?

I was and still am angry, outraged and palpably disappointed for all it’s worth.

What a journalist sought to achieve personally by putting together a story of how Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, a Member of Parliament and a deputy minister was slapped by a young man left me wondering and I continue so to do since the story broke.

The story was a front page piece on a Monday morning, and could best be described as a scoop of sorts from over the weekend. I am not surprised at the story or at the conduit through which the story came as I am of the author and portions of the story.

I am certain that the editorial team of Daily Guide newspaper, arguably the biggest private political newspaper; would have had no issues with a story as that with all the political implications and sensationalism that comes with the piece.

As they have done time without number and rightfully so, commercialization held sway over all other factors relative to what occupies the lead story. No qualms.

The author? Alhaji A.R. Gomda. The MP in question is said to have traded slaps with a young man during a keep fit brawl and the catch was that, the MP landed the first slap and received in excess of what he gave - and what did the NDC supporters behind the Minister do, seeing him being slapped multiple times, little wonder Gomda wrote the story strictly on an account of others.

Alhaji Gomda proceeds to ridicule our senses by stating that the supporters of the MP whisked him away “when it became obvious that the *** supporter wanted to descend on him for the unprovoked attack,” given that the MP really did slap the young man first, Gomda’s sources failed to tell him what led to that action?

In one such paragraph Gomda mentions how Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fofana, an aspiring MP confirmed that Mustapha did slap the young man in question, whose name he said was being withheld for security reasons. Indeed! Does keeping his name out of the story make him anymore anonymous, with the NDC guys who were around. The story rather than the man should have been kept secret [if it did take place at all]

The story is written as though all of this happened in a small street corner, that an MP was slapped with teeming keep fit supporters and the young man who [as a Muslims as I suspect] should have known better, returns multiple slaps. Wal Laahi [I swear by Allah, that but for politics, a level headed Muslim man CANNOT and SHOULD NOT do this]

Political tensions are rising and Gomda thinks reporting such a story is a nice way of cooling these tensions especially in a society where we are seen as largely hotbeds of political instability and zealotry.

What did Gomda stand to gain; I won’t go into that but certainly the person alleged to have been slapped and the subject of the headline, gets to respond very late on in the story denying any such thing happened.

I shudder to think what Net2 capturing an apology was meant to achieve in the general scheme of events. Who in that clip was apologizing and to who, where was the young man; being the action man Gomda failed to reach him? Amazing.

In the end, Gomda succeeded for the better part of that Monday morning in putting a Muslim in the line of ridicule on several political talk programs, for a story I dare say was full of inconsistencies and one that was very leaky in several parts.

Politics has become a SOCIAL EVIL [caps mine] that we as Muslims are having to live with, we are the best witnesses of how successfully, these politicians have abandoned us [either Muslims or not] whenever they succeed in getting our votes/mandate.

Political divisions and commitments have greatly eroded our true bond of brotherhood as Muslims. So do we find in current times that we act politically instead of islamically. A reminder to Gomda and his like:

a. Our ties as Muslims should supersede all others

b. No Muslims is worth being ridiculed for any political reason

c. Politics SHOULD be practiced within limits ordained by Allah [mutual respect]

For the better time, what have we seen, politics keeps eroding respect at a frightening pace, so much so that a young man is said to have slapped an elderly man [again, granted that the MP launched the attack]

We must be careful that after the political season, uniting should not become too much an uphill task because of the very things that we said about each other, issues that boarder on slander and defamation just because we crave to occupy a political seat.

Politicians, if anything at all are worse than each other. The hypocrisy, blatant lies and pomposity that they exude is not only Islamic but I dare say: exactly what we deserve if we continue to rip apart social bonds just to elect them.

Back to Gomda, even if this story was by another journalist, you should have stood in to either quell blowing it out, but nay; you stepped up and put it out BIG TIME [caps mine].

Question: is it all stories that enter the newsroom that have been published? Certainly not! Your story did not boarder on criminality or anything in the national interest, but yet for reasons best known to you, this is how far we have come.

Who am I to rebuke anyone, when I have my own sins to plead forgiveness from Allah. My thoughts may have stepped certain boundaries for which I seek forgiveness. May Allah grant us good, lead us to it and grant us the will to act upon good.

Salam and belated eid Mubarak!

Abu Musah Kwankwaso