Gordon Offin-Amaniampong writes
Sir, I dare you to take Anas to court. Why ask somebody to do it..?
You may describe him as an anti-graft campaigner. Heâ€™s not charitable with his words when talking about corruption and people who are looting Ghanaâ€™s treasury. Over the years the NPP lawmaker Kennedy Ohene Agyapong had lambasted many Ghanaians deemed to be corrupt. Heâ€™d once if not multiple times called for the arrest and prosecution of Ibrahim Mahama â€“the younger brother of former President John Mahama for his alleged corrupt practices.
The Assin North Member of Parliament (MP) is on record to have even vowed that heâ€™d commit suicide if Mr. Ibrahim isnâ€™t jailed by the Akufo-Addo government. That suicidal mission is yet to happen since he made the statement on Thursday March 30 2017.
But what went wrong here?
He seems to be unhappy at the yet-to-be released sting undercover documentary —-Number 12, put together by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, BBC (The British public service broadcaster) and his â€˜tigereyepiâ€™ team. Hence my question: Is ken really an anti-graft campaigner?
I donâ€™t seem to get it. And Iâ€™m unsure if I understand his stance.
“Do you think Anas has the right to do what he is doing? Do you think so? We should be careful the way things are going. We kept quiet over the judges’ issue. Now he is at GFA. Tomorrow it could be you or me. He could be in your bedroom whilst you are asleep with your wife,” says the MP.
Mr. Agyapong has questioned the methods used by the award-winning undercover journalist and also wants him to be prevented from premiering his latest expose on football and politics. On Wednesday 23, May 2018 the CID invited Kwesi Nyantakyi, president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) over fraud allegations.
The invitation followed a complaint by President Akufo-Addo to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service that the GFA boss was using the President’s name fraudulently. Discussing the purported scandal, Mr. Agyapong told Net 2 Dialogue program that Anas should be stopped from going ahead with the intended premiering of the documentary.
â€œI totally disagree with his approach. Somebody should take him to court right now to stop him from what he is doing. You want to premier this? We have to stop him or else, he will end up one-day recording you whilst you are asleep with your wife and premiere it in public,” Mr Agyapong said.
Is this claim logical?
â€˜We kept quiet over the judges’ issue. Now he is at GFA. â€œTomorrow it could be you or me. He could be in your bedroom whilst you are asleep with your wife.â€™
After carefully examining the claim or argument by Mr. Agyapong Iâ€™ve learned that there are possible fallacies. And as journalists we need to be cognizant of possible fallacies in statements given by public officials particularly politicians. A fallacy can be defined as a flaw or error in reasoning. His premise may be relevant however, it doesnâ€™t support the conclusion of the argument.
Writer and poet John Mark Green says:â€œThe self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.â€
First of all, why would Anas go into someoneâ€™s bedroom to video him and his wife? What have they done wrong to warrant his intrusion? Itâ€™s a straw man argument which seeks to attack the person rather than debate the issue. Again, why should somebody take Anas to court when he Ken is the one trumpeting his â€˜crucifixionâ€™?
I think the ants go to where they find sugar.
What an irony? Give them honey theyâ€™d say no. Give them money and theyâ€™d come running. When the kitty is empty we know who to blame without any hesitancy. But we wholly lack the preventive and proactive measures to stymie the canker at its nascent stage.
We point our forefingers like an arrow at one another as though that would help stop corruption in the system. Our institutions seem to be failing us by the day. Thereâ€™s looting at our ports and harbours. Thereâ€™s slaughter on our roads. Most of our roads have literally become deathtrapsâ€”killing motorists and passengers even though funds have been earmarked either for their upgrading or asphalting, they remain the same. Where are the funds and whoâ€™re responsible?
Do you remember this?
â€œHeâ€™s not a good choice. That man will collapse NPP, mark my wordsâ€¦.â€ That was Mr. Agyapong in February this year (2018), when Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu was at Parliament for vetting. He called him arrogant.
â€I would have walked him out straight, if I were chairman of the committee.â€
Certainly, Special â€˜Kwesi Peterâ€™ Martin A Amidu is an acclaimed lawyer, honest, bold and firm, yet in the eyes of Mr. Agyapong he isnâ€™t a good choice. Heâ€™s arrogant and unfit for the position.
Consider this: If some judges could be caught on cameras receiving bribes, if journalists are aiding and abetting crime doers to perpetuate crime, if tax â€“ masters are siphoning the taxpayersâ€™ monies and law makers are themselves breaking the laws then it begs the question. And this is why weâ€™re here and which is why investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas is doing what heâ€™s doing.
Has Anas Gone Rogue?
People who have ants in their pants are very restless. Oftâ€™ they canâ€™t stand steady when pestered by these little ones. And I suspect there are some individuals that are currently going through such unpleasant feelings.
Jesus had to rebuke the Pharisees and Sadducee on Sabbath observance. Komfo Anokye was compelled to flee his native hometown because of the stiff opposition and existential threat. And didnâ€™t they say Noah had gone crazy. Evidently the building of the Ark defied conventional wisdom. The approach was unheard of, crude and unworkable. But it worked.
There are rules in every game much as every profession has its regulations and guidelines. The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the National Media Commission (NMC) are more than explicit on their code & ethics, as to how media practitioners in Ghana must obtain information.
â€œAs a general rule, journalists must not use, or publish materials obtained by subterfuge, using clandestine devices such as hidden cameras and hidden tape-tape recorders. Such activity may, however, be justified in special circumstances such as detecting and inspecting crime sites or protecting public health and safety,â€™ states the National media Commission.
And this is GJAâ€™s version of the same guidelines: â€œObtains information, videos, data, photographs and illustrations only by honest, straightforward, fair and open meansâ€”unless otherwise tampered by public interest considerations.â€
Both bodies have urged media practitioners to recognise the publicâ€™s right to fair, unbiased, accurate, balanced and comprehensive information.
And it seems to me Anasâ€™ works have often been predicated on those exceptions–â€™unless otherwise tampered by public interest considerations,â€™ and â€˜such activity may, however, be justified in special circumstances such as detecting and inspecting crime sites or protecting public health and safety.â€™
Yet, tough talking Mr. Agyapong doesnâ€™t fancy the work of the investigative journalist as he plans to stop Anas in his tracks before he darts into their bedrooms.
In October 2015, when then Chief Justice Georgina Wood established a â€˜prima facie case of stated misbehaviour against 12 High Court judges, seven out of the 12 were suspended. Also 22 lower court judges and magistrates suffered the same fate. Well, it was the same method and forever it shall be, until the lootees stop looting.