General News of Sunday, 17 March 2019
Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide says government is being disingenuous by placing too much emphasis on some minor issues it has with Joy News’ latest documentary.
According to Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, the specific rebuttals to specific aspects of ‘Militia in the heart of the city’ by award-winning journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, cannot take away the substantive issues raised in the documentary.
The undercover work detailed how a group known as, De-Eye Group, had been using the former seat of government for training since the Akufo-Addo government was sworn in.
The group is led by Nana Wireko Addo alias ‘Choman’, the former personal bodyguard of President Nana Akufo-Addo and was described in 2012 as a “vigilante group” in a pro-government newspaper Daily Guide.
But the government has raised a number of concerns about the documentary which it says is “offensive” and has filed a complaint at the National Media Commission (NMC) against the media house.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who filed the complaint stated that “…Nothing in the impugned documentary shows any activity by the said company bordering on a militia exercise.”
The complaint also stated that: “The assertion that the Castle, Osu, is an annex of the Presidency, being used as a ‘Security Zone’, to train militia and vigilantes is sensationalism of the highest order. The facts show that since March 2017, the Castle, Osu, HAS NOT been a ‘Security Zone’ neither has it been an annex to the Presidency.”
Making his first public pronouncements about the documentary, Newsfile on Joy News TV Saturday, March 16, Kweku Baako said the use of militia in the documentary is not a substantive error. He quizzed why government would want to go into that and not deal with the issue of substance.
According to the veteran journalist, although the security status of the Christiansborg Castle might have been downgraded following the relocation of the seat of government to the Jubilee House, it is still a public space that ought not to have been used for such a purpose.
De-Eye Group, he stated, “has no earthly business operating in a state facility.”
“If I were gov’t…I do not think we should aggregate those perceived circumstances [judgements]” to negate the substance of the documentary, he advised.
Contributing to the discussion, the Executive Director of Institute of Democratic Governance, Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, said the documentary came at the right time and “what it said is simple.”
“It is important that it is investigated thoroughly…because we cannot discuss vigilantism without knowing every bit of their mechanism of evolution, their tentacles etc.”
The governance expert said it is important that the state takes interest in the documentary and deal with the important issues it raised while he called an urgent need to strengthen the police service to deal with vigilante groups.