How did the camera turn into a gun at Ejura in 2021? How did the media become the cause of the violence they were covering? The dust seemed to have settled on the Ejura debacle, but like a huge scar on my face, every morning look in the mirror reminds me of how to close myself and my team came to dying in an attempt to document the truth.

The year 2021 will go down in my life and career as the year that I came face to face with death in the discharge of my duties as a journalist but got vilified for it. A year that my family thought I was dead.

A week before Tuesday, the 29th of June, 2021, news, press releases and mentions of the death of one “Kaka Macho” at Ejura in the Ashanti Region, had filled the Ghanaian media landscape.

I only read of his horrible death at the hands of unknown assailants in the media. My colleagues in Accra and Nurudeen Mohammed, our correspondent for Ejura and its environs were the ones following the story. Aside from the normal anxiety and apprehension I feel when I hear stories of such brutalities, I didn’t pay much attention to the back story.

A day before June 29, I heard of some disturbances arising out of an intended demonstration over Kaka’s death. As a journalist, I had other ‘fishes to fry’ and since it wasn’t directly in my line of coverage, I didn’t pay so much attention.

I had returned from a day out with my family and was retiring to bed when I got a call from my late boss and then Managing Editor of Joy Brands, Elvis Kwashie.

“Kwaku Donkor, sorry to disturb your evening. Prepare to take over the Ejura case, I beg you,” he said over the phone.

Sounding surprised and reluctant at the sudden change of my plans for the next day, and my unwillingness to go on such an expedition, I protested.

“But boss, Nurudeen has been following this and is already in the community,” I responded.

“I’m not getting the full feel of the story that is unfolding at Ejura. Kwaku Donkor get out of your slumber and help me. I need you to get a team ready, go there and stay there for some days if possible and get us all the angles,” he replied.

The life of a journalist like me is unpredictable. I get a rude awakening to unplanned schedules that come with various types of risks. My difficulty always is saying goodbye to my family, knowing the anxiety that such trips present to my lovely wife and children.

But that is the path I have chosen.

At this point, I had no option but to call the local office and get a team ready. The ever-dynamic and talented camera technician, Kofi Asare and the experienced driver, Peter Zigah formed my team in Ejura.

After packing some personal effects that evening, I had to start digging through every piece of information available on the death of “Macho Kakaa” and the unfolding events at Ejura.

Nurudeen Mohammed who was already in the town was very helpful.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021.

We started our Journey to Ejura around 7:00 in the morning. We were supposed to reach Ejura in time to meet news bulletin deadlines for TV, Radio and online. But in our minds, our target was the midday news.


As is synonymous with me on such trips, my mind was full of a jamboree of thoughts; family, personal challenges and anxiety about what was happening in Ejura and what we would face while there.

My momentary daydreaming was jolted by the sudden concern raised by Peter Zigah, our driver, about the lifeless body of a dog lying in the middle of the road at Tafo, a suburb of Kumasi.

He told me: “This is the third dog we’ve encountered, knocked down on this stretch since we started the journey this morning”.

As spiritual as he is, he wanted to tell me it meant something, but I dismissed the thought, asking what could possibly happen on this journey.

He kept quiet and drove on but the look on his face was indicative that he is still holding on to his beliefs.

The ride to Ejura was smooth. The outskirts of the town looked peaceful when we entered, around 10:30 in the morning.

For a moment I thought we may have been wrongly briefed.

But as we moved towards the Ejura Government Hospital area, we saw an angry crowd, mainly young men wielding sticks, stones and clubs advancing from about a mile.

They looked menacing, chanting and lamenting angrily.

As our vehicle approached, I saw them waving their hands and angrily speaking in our direction but I couldn’t decode the import of their communication.

I told the driver to stop in front of them, and as we got down to film, a number of them violently protested waving sticks in our faces and threatening to beat us if we didn’t lower our cameras.

They emphasized they don’t need our coverage. Their anger as I listened to them, stemmed from what they described as low reportage on the death of “Macho Kakaa”. In effect, they felt the media failed to seek justice for their brother when they needed it most.

This wasn’t my first time dealing with a violent and hostile situation in my line of duty. The safe way was to pause, study your environment, and refrain from filming or doing anything contrary to their demands until you have a better understanding of the situation and common ground.

Tempers flared and it was just wise and consistent with my training, to remain calm and try to use my brain.

Communication in Twi was not working, so we relied on Mohammed who tried calming them down in Hausa.

At this point, over five hundred of them had gathered around our vehicle. Some were angrily banging on the pick-up truck.

I directed the driver to move away from the scene and leave us there. Crazy decision but from experience I felt in hindsight, we were not the direct target of their anger and if we use our interpersonal skills and our escorts, we could still do our job safely.

One of them, who we came to identify as Nafiu Mohammed, came to our rescue.

He addressed the mob in Hausa and managed to calm them down allowing us to film the demonstration on the street.

He told them: “We are the reason they are here, so the leaders would hear our plea. So allow them to work.”

The frontliners backed off, but a few attempted to attack my team but they were prevented by Nafiu Mohammed who now became our guide.

The crowd got thicker by the minute and about thirty minutes after our arrival, the Ejura High Street was filled with over a thousand angry youth. Nafiu had now become our guide, shielding me and my team from the angry mob and allowing us to do our job.

The demonstrators were mainly young men between the ages of 15 and 40. More angry youth were joining the action and soon the street was swarming with over a thousand full-blooded angry youth.

Like bees attacking an intruder, they took control of the Ejura main street, banging on cars and burning tyres. The memory is still fresh of how they, in their anguish, attacked and brought down a makeshift structure designed in NPP colours.

They hacked at the wooden structure from all angles, shoving and pushing at it amidst chants. The structure finally gave in and collapsed in a heap. Some of them narrowly escaped the thunderous impact.

Though the events leading to the killing of “Kakaa Macho” had political undertones, supporters of the two main political parties at Ejura, the NPP and NDC, had joined hands in protesting his death.

I was told by some of the protesting youth that the demonstration was triggered from the cemetery that morning after the burial of Kakaa.

They said a police water cannon sent to the cemetery provoked the mourners who attacked the vehicle with stones.

The angry youth marched towards the police station. We started live coverage on JoyNews. We filmed angry youth who were continuously expressing anger over the killing of somebody they considered a mouthpiece against the ills of their society. One by one, a number of them explained why they think the system failed to protect an innocent person. In all, they wanted justice for him. They wanted his killers brought to face justice. Some of them also accused the MCE of Ejura of what happened to Kaaka Macho.

Caught in the line of fire

We continued to film as the crowd moved slowly forward, chanting, ranting and raving along the line.

I was interviewing a young man when all of a sudden he froze in his thoughts. His gaze was fixed ahead of us.

I turned and saw some military personnel getting out of a pick-up vehicle. Four of them lined up in front and others also got down from another vehicle and followed. They started firing into the air.

High into the air at first and in what seemed to be a lowered firing angle, they continued firing warning shots.

The entry of the security personnel, initially, did not scare the protesters.

Some of them started throwing stones and sticks at them. But the distance was a bit far to make any impact.

My team and I had come between the demonstrators and the advancing military men. We were in effect, caught in the line of fire and we needed to take action.

My mind was racing. Fueled by thoughts of what happened in Techiman South in the 2020 elections. After reviewing videos of what happened there, I saw clearly what was a deliberate firing into the crowd by some of the security personnel, after a series of warning shots, killing some of the protesters.

Instinctively, I sensed at that moment there could be a repeat of that and if that should happen, we were standing in the line of fire and the security men may not discriminate.

I shouted to my team members; “let’s get to higher ground”!! It was chaotic! Bullets were flying and the demonstrators were retreating in droves. We run as well, trying to escape the firing and filming at the same time.

Kofi Asare, my camera technician, was running behind me with his camera and TVU equipment still running. I was holding the Joy News branded microphone and running ahead of them. Nafiu Mohammed was running with us and until now I still don’t know when he left us.

We climbed the stairs of a storey building to the first floor and continued filming the events unfolding on the streets. We were still live on Joy News TV. Even from up there, you could hear the sound of bullets flying.

By now we could see more armed military and police personnel joining the action. From where we were filming, we saw a man get hit by a bullet. He fell to the ground on the street. Some of the protesters who were fleeing the scene, tried to pick him.

They were apprehensive at first. They picked him up, but probably because of the constant firing of guns and the approaching security men, they put him down and in a flash, they came back, picked him up onto their shoulders and continued running.

He looked lifeless! I was reporting live on TV and describing the unfolding events but in my mind, I feared for my life and that of my team. Bullets were flying everywhere and for a moment I thought we could be hit by a bullet anytime.

Reporting from up there was not safe and descending was more dangerous, so we decided to stay and continue reporting.

For a moment I thought that was the end for us.

The police water cannon was useless. It huffed and puffed some few shots of water which could not even reach the demonstrators and soon the water was not even flowing again.

The firing continued for minutes, in what seemed an endless period of time.

At some points you could see some of the military men kneeling and aiming in firing positions.

Soon after the protester who was gunned down was carried away, we heard wailing and people shouting that another person has been shot and is lying in a pool of blood, beneath the building we were standing on.

We couldn’t get a good view from up there and the security men were still controlling the streets.

The military and police personnel now marched through the streets for a while, then they boarded their vehicles and sped off.

We got down from the building and checked the victim downstairs. They had already taken the person away but the pools of blood downstairs were glaring and gory.

We saw where he was shot and the thick blood smeared on the street towards the base of the building showed the distance he moved on the ground.

The traditional leaders quickly came to the grounds, granted interviews and indicated they were there to see what had happened.

One chief said to us; “We did not invite the security services to come and kill the people.”

We now learned, an electric transformer that was hanging, mid-air behind where we were reporting from, got caught in the line of fire and was leaking fuel.

Prophetically, my instincts served me well. Synonymous with what happened in Techiman South, the security did fire into the crowd. We would have been dead if we had not moved to higher ground. God indeed spoke to us and protected us.

As it turned out, our guide, Nafiu Mohammed was the person who was shot beneath the storey building. It was his blood we saw later on the streets.

Yes! There was an angry crowd. Yes! They carried machetes, clubs, sticks and knives. No! I didn’t see anybody with a gun. Yes! They were marching towards the police station. But was that the right response? Could the state have handled the situation better?

In all, two people were killed, one lost a limb, a day which started with a solemn moment of burying somebody who was brutally murdered.

But how did the camera turn into a gun at Ejura that day? Whether it was a calculated, deliberate spin to smear my company or my image, I received lots of trolls, insults and accusations on social media.

People said my team and I caused the death of those who were shot at Ejura. So, did the people demonstrate because we were at Ejura? Were the military and police incited by our reportage to shoot into the protesters? How did we cause the demonstration that we were covering?

I take solace in the fact that my team and I risked our lives to expose the truth and the truth got justice for those who died and were maimed.

In the end, the Ejura Committee, in its findings, makes several references to how our evidence aided them to arrive at a fruitful conclusion.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.