President John Mahama must sack the Mayor of Accra, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, or at worst reassign him, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has said.
The Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper said Mr. Vanderpuije lied when he accused two Multimedia journalists of trying to fabricate a story against government and consequently ordered their arrest.
The Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly last Saturday ordered the arrest of MultiTV driver Felix Akunor after the reporter, Solomon Joojo Cobbinah, and the cameraman, Jackson Davies whom he went on an assignment, could not be traced.
They had gone to Mensah Guinea, a suburban slum in Accra, to tell the story of the residents there whose ramshackle structures had been pulled down by city authorities the day before. The residents were blamed for the worsening cholera situation in the capital which has claimed about a 100 lives.
Mr. Vanderpuije claims he had a phone call from the residents who told him that some journalists had come to order them to lie on the bare floor so they would film them and do a story against government.
He said five minutes after receiving the call he arrived at the community with a team of policemen but met only the driver who was arrested and his mobile phones seized. The three Multimedia Group journalists have been charged with offensive conduct.
But speaking on MultiTV and Joy FM’s news analysis programme, Newsfile, Saturday, Mr Kweku Baako said the Accra Mayor’s arguments were an embarrassment as they were palpably false.
“I was listening to this gentleman, fine bearded gentleman, telling the who world that the crime that these journalists were supposed to have committed was that they were fabricating a story against government, the ingredients being that they were asking the people to lie down so that they can capture them on video and put out there to blame government or embarrass government. But the people were already homeless. Where were they sleeping? The victims were calling on the perpetrator to come to their aid? Amazing!”, an outraged Kweku Baako said.
Mr. Vanderpuije is the one who is fabricating a story to justify his unlawful action, he maintained.
Kweku Baako said the Mayor would do himself a great deal of good if he retracts his claims against the two journalists because they sound laughable.
Contributing to the discussion, former Communication Director of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akomea, said the criminal prosecution of the two journalists and the driver must cease with immediate effect.
He said there was no basis to bring such a case against the journalists.
Deputy Interior Minister James Agalga, stressed that the rights of the journalists were not abused.
He said if the Mayor’s claims are true, then the journalists may have been caught in a situation where they could properly be charged with offensive conduct.
But his submission provoked Mr Baako who questioned why the respected legal practitioner was denting his own image in an attempt to justify Mr Vanderpuije’s unlawful acts.
He maintained that the Mayor’s actions despicable and must not be justified under any circumstances.