Growing up in a deprived village somewhere in the Bawku West District, my late father, may he continue to rest in peace, constantly advised us anytime we were in the hot sun tilling poor mother earth around roots of crops, that we should never judge people by what they say but rather what they do. His reason was simple; what a man preaches does not really represent what he does. Never!
This priceless wisdom left to me by my late father has been my Guiding Angel in all my endeavours in life including the practice of Journalism over the years. I try to implement this advice, not only in choosing my friends but also in deciding whom to relate to or do business with. There have been many times, I turned down juicy offers to publish stories about certain people or organisations based on this singular advice handed over to me many years ago. And, I must confess, it has never disappointed me. Thanks to the departed poor old soul.
This advice, I consider to be more germane in the practice of Journalism today than anything else. Most Journalists in our part of the world are distraughtly struck with credibility crises coming from the backdrop that, some of us are in the hurry to rise to fame. While many of us would do any story to please a paymaster to get our daily bread due to the poor payment system in almost all media houses in Ghana. Yet, we have a few who will sleep in hunger than to compromise their convictions and principles. Those practitioners stick to the truth and nothing but the truth. And sadly, they are the poor and unheard heroes in the industry. Seen?
However, the good news is that, once a Journalist is found standing naked in credibility issues or known to be a carrier of stories that always sought to cast ills on the hard earned image of individuals in society or organisations just to rise to fame rather than reporting the truth, he or she is soon spotted and avoided like a plague. The glory and respect such a Journalist gained over the years is faded immediately with the speed of light into the thin air leaving him/her empty.
I am compelled to think that, that may well be the quandary most likely walloping or about to confront Mr Manasseh Awini Azure, my brother, friend and a senior journalist with the Multi-media group who sees every occasion as an opportunity to write series of articles to rundown some individuals in the country who had anything to do with the former President, John Mahama’s administration, a government he hated with passion and obsession.
Firstly, the youngman who describes himself an investigative Journalist, told Ghanaians how he had been sent as a corruption ‘blowman’ to rescue Ghana from the supposed evils of the past administration and subsequent administrations or other evils from all corners of the country; he then went after private organisations and individuals that had something to do with that administration, came out with a number of supposed evils they were allegedly collaborating with the then government and appointees to perpetrate. He proceeded to write series of stories and vitriolic articles meant to rundown those personalities; persons both in our political set-up and private sector who in diverse ways brought glory and development to Ghana ever before he became anything.
In his usual odious articles, Mr Azure would never forget to reel out volumes and volumes of previous investigations and documents he had intercepted to prove that those government appointees or leaders of those organisations were guilty of massive corruption and must face the firing squad by some angry bearded looking judges ready with Short Machine guns to sentence them to death without wasting their time to go through the due processes of law. Blessed with the gift of writing, he would illogicality based on his gathered opinions he termed as solid investigative overcomes, lambast the government for not making sincere efforts to making sure that such people were thrown to jail. An accused person is innocent until proving guilty was not in his dictionary. Never!
With such pieces of information devolved to him by enemies of the government in the then government, Mr Azure shot into the public eye and became the sweet pineapple in the mouth of the New Patriotic Party, NPP. His vitriolic articles of supposed corruption against the then government appointees and certain organisations became their campaign message. With that under his armpit, my good friend would flamboyantly move around media outlets affiliated to the Multi-media family and boast of how he had discovered massive rots yet the government which he alleged was the vehicle of the corrupt activities being reluctant in fighting the canker. Haba! Was he not then sending a thief to catch a thief? How absurd and intriguing!
Last few weeks as I was struggling with bad health, must have been the lowest point in Mr Manasseh Azure’s career when he came out with yet another hate-driven article titled ‘Church of Pentecost’s partnership with a pedophile to fight child sex abuse’. On the hospital bed, my intestines were turning in anger. But I could do little about my vexatious desire to set the records straight and further expose the naked hatred of the youngman against Zoomlion and the former administration by using The Church of Pentecost yet as his podium.
What can pass as the biggest faux pas in a new year, almost three years on, that a new government took over the mantle of leadership was such an article written by a supposed investigative Journalist about a church partnering with a private waste management company to combat the filth that has engulfed our country with recycled opinions he described as investigative pieces from the previous administration. The young man who claims to be an investigative Journalist cum ardent anti-corruption crusader simply decided to display crass hatred by recycling what he used years ago against a former government and a particular private company to paint the church and its leadership black for reasons best known to him.
Before I proceed, I must confess that, I am not a neutral Journalist, that I am not a member of The Church of Pentecost. Let me also let it be known that I am not in the payroll of Zoomlion as he has constantly accused many Journalists of receiving huge cash from the company to defend it in times of media war. I am an ordinary Journalist with political love towards the National Democratic Congress and that’s it. However, he’s allowed to form his own ‘investigative’ opinions about me. That, I careless! With that settled, let’s make progress.
What responsible investigative Journalist would come up with such wild and spurious allegation of aiding corruption and criminality against a church for attempting to assist society simply because it has decided to partner with a company he deemed to have engaged in corrupt activities years ago? If my good friend, Mr Manasseh Azure is really an investigative Journalist then he should bow his head in shame for dragging the name of the church and its leadership in the mud.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Akufo-Addo’s led government that he and his likes imposed on Ghanaians through same spurious allegations of corruption and thievery by the former government in collaboration with same company, has found nothing wrong with it and continues to transact business with the company without any attempts of prosecuting its Chief Executive Officer, CEO, or any other management member. As he indicated in his article that, just in 2018, the Ministry of Education under this government awarded Zoomlion and other companies yet another fumigation contract to fumigate senior high schools across the country. So where are the damming evidences of such explosive investigative pieces he uncovered and what is the government doing with such? Something must be wrong somewhere.
From the content of his article, he obviously has some scores to settle with the Zoomlion Company, its CEO and the former government but instead of doing it as usual, he tried to play with the minds of Ghanaians by using the church to sound plausible.
Indeed, Mr Manasseh Awuni Azure who boasted of not being influenced by any political tutelage, to carry out his investigations for any selfish intentions, in the said ten-point article where he sought to insult the integrity of the Church of Pentecost and its leadership, only recycled the old stories Ghanaians were already told before and during the elections 2020. Does it mean that he is not in tuned with the naked corrupt acts going on with his ‘bloody’ government led by the Preacherman, Akufo-Addo whom he once described as morally upright?
He has not seen the naked thievery going on blatantly within the government of the man he once described as a person who was born with political experience, a saviour of some sort? Has my friend and brother investigative skills, courage and bravado disappeared? Is he still qualified to be castigating past government officials and private organisations like Zoomlion with alleged corruption allegations while playing deaf, dumb and blind to what is going on in the country today? These and many questions are begging for answers!
When certain persons like Mr Manasseh Azure because of reasons known to them decide to play as if all is well, when actually the country is bleeding to its untimely death and yet try to blame former government and its appointees, one begins to ask, what imprudence? What has naming of churches after people’s mothers got to do with the government and the country? What has Mr Jospong special place in The Church of Pentecost got to do with fighting corruption? Who the hell is he to try to direct the leadership of the church as to which company or person it should partner with to help the society? Haba!
As one who comes from the same region with Mr Manasseh Awuni Azure with the highest level of poverty, lack portable water, bad roads and all, I am sure many would be amazed that I could spend time to respond to his rants in instead of coming together to fight for our people. But I do this with a heavy heart because our system has become such that where wolf crying draws undeserved sympathy and attention, it is important people get to know the reasons behind his constant rancorous articles against certain individuals and organisations. Beyond this, I have nothing personal against my younger brother.
Ghanaians were expecting series of such vitriolic articles from Mr Azure when his Godfather, Dr Mensah Otabil superintended over the collapsed of Capital bank with thousands of poor and innocent Ghanaians losing their savings. They are still wondering how his Godfather who was sighted in over millions of cedis rip-off that led to the collapsed of the once flourishing bank simply escaped the sophisticated radar of his investigative skills. Why he never developed interest in following such a shameful scandal still beats the imaginations of many. How could it be said that Mr Azure who was always in the rush to come to the public with such scandals remained mute till now? Haba! Many can now understand why some of us see him to be a bias investigative Journalist and anti-corruption crusader.
As an award winning investigative Journalist and anti-corruption crusader, he claims to be, let him mention one single investigative piece he has come out with after the departure the John Mahama’s administration apart from what is being recycled daily. For him to drag the name of The Pentecost Church to his constant empty rhetoric against Zoomlion and others is the height of it. If he has such evidences, the Special Prosecutor, Mr ‘Do Nothing’ Martin Amidu, another self-acclaimed vigilante and anti-corruption crusader’s office is opened to welcome him. I shall return!
Artlce By Cletus Abaare
The writer is a Senior Journalist, Managing Editor of The National Tribute Newspaper, a columnist with Ghanaweb.com and Modernaghana.com and an activist of the National Democratic Congress. Contact; firstname.lastname@example.org