The Minority in Ghana’s Parliament has cautioned government against “intolerance and vicious attacks” on Joy News’ investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni.
The call which was made at a press conference addressed by Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi, follows Awuni’s latest investigative piece, “The Militia in the Heart of the Nation,” which they labeled as “world-class courageous and impressive undercover reportage” which “deserve high praise.”
Among other things, the NDC parliamentarians said, “We condemn this negative culture which Anas Aremeyaw Anas has been subjected to in recent days and caution that Manasseh Azure Awuni should not be made to suffer the same.”
The statement issued Friday added; “The Minority decries the creeping culture of intolerance and vicious attacks perpetrated by officials and agents of the government on innocent journalists whose only crime is that they are pursuing their profession without fear or favour.”
Since the premiering of Awuni’s work on Thursday, Government has condemned it describing same as “conjecture, malice, mischief, sensationalism and unvalidated suspicions” which contains “significant misrepresentations and misleading impressions.”
This was also contained in a four-page statement signed by Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.
Government’s reaction to the Joy News documentary which revealed how a pro-New Patriotic Party militia group is being trained at the Osu Castle came on Friday. The undercover work disclosed how a former bodyguard of the president led the training of the militia group, De-Eye, on the grounds of public property.
Operating for the past two years, Manasseh found that the group had already provided security for a number of government functions of which the president had taken part in.
A leader of the group, Nana Wireko Addo in the undercover work, after one of such functions, conveyed President Akufo-Addo’s warm impressions of the group when they provided security for an event at the International Conference Centre in 2018.
Members of the group, dressed in black suits with white shirts during one of their meetings
The documentary has come as a shock to the nation, especially at a time when President Akufo-Addo has himself tasked the two leading political parties – NPP and NDC – to meet and find a solution to the party militia menace in the country.
Aside from calling for protection for Awuni, the Minority in Parliament are also calling for the immediate resignation of the President saying he has “lost all moral right” to occupy the highest office of the land.
But the government has rejected that also.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Mr Oppong Nkrumah, who is also MP for Ofoase-Ayirebi denied among other things that the young men and women who converge at the Castle thrice a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday – are a militia group under training.
He added that describing the Castle as a security zone as was done by Manasseh in his documentary, is upsetting.
“The narrative in Manasseh’s promotion, in particular, that connotes the Castle, Osu, as a “Security Zone”, which is being used to train militia and vigilantes, is most worrying,” the Minister said.
“Indeed, if this group was still operating from the Castle, wouldn’t the Commission of Inquiry currently looking into the events at the Ayawaso West Wuogon election have noticed them by now,” he queried.