Manazeh Azure Awuni is a prolific writer with a sense of purpose and precision; he could go in the history of the Ghana Journalist Associations (GJA) book of record, if there is anything like that to have won the coveted GJA Journalist of the year Award 2011, a year after coming out of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) and practicing journalism alongside his National Service.
I hope at the end of this article, I will not also be branded as a Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, as Manazeh Azure described Mr Baako as a PRO for Engineers and Planners (E&P), in his article that fell short of anything close to objectivity and the man whose writings we have all come to love.
Myjoyonline on December 18, 2013, published an article by Manazeh Azuri Awuni headlined, “Whose interest does Kweku Baako serve?”, this was in his column Manasseh’s Folder, a column well known for writing Letters to his future wife, but this time around decided to branch out and attack one of the journalistic icons we have in this country.
The article made interesting reading, but it lacked the purpose and drive that had endeared the writings of the young man to many well-meaning Ghanaians. I am sure his future wife, Serwaa, will not be enthused about sacrificing her space for Abdul Malik Kweku Baako.
After reading the subject article, I asked myself so many questions, but unfortunately I could not reach Manazeh Azure for the answers.
I have been an ardent follower of Mr. Baako, since I became conscious of politics in the mid 90’s, up until now and I can confidently say without a shred of doubt that he is a stickler of principles; he is among the few senior journalists who are not afraid to speak their minds. Mr. Baako will be the first to admit that he is perfect and knows everything. If there is a word like journalistic statesman, I will not hesitate to call him one.
He is among the few journalists who have sacrificed everything they have but asked for nothing in return. If Mr Baako was looking for self glorification and satisfaction, he would have served in the erstwhile John Agykum Kufuor’s administration. He is among the few who have asked what they can do for their country, instead of what their country can do for them.
Write an article or a story about him and he will call you to clarify or admit his shortfalls, I have been a recipient of such calls, such is the depth of his maturity. I have had issues with him and have written articles, but not for once have I questioned whose interest he serves, because it has always been the peoples.
Of course as a human being, he cannot have it all, he is fallible and so will at one time or another not meet somebody’s expectations, but to judge him based on your expectations of him is trying to equate him to God and expecting too much of him.
If there is anything you can credit him for, he does not criticize for criticizing sake. Everybody who have followed him, will know that Mr Baako will favour the New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the National Democratic Congress (NDC) any day, but because of his objectivity, he has been labelled by even
NPP faithful for collecting bribe from the NDC, simply because he will not waiver in his beliefs.
I can understand the frustrations of Manazeh, he thinks Kweku Baako, should criticize everything for criticism sake, as far as it goes against the government.
What are the issues that Mr Azure Awuni thinks Mr Baako took a soft stance against the government that he highlighted in his write up?
Below are the issues;
1. The issue of the alleged conflict of interest following revelations that President Mahama intervened when Merchant Bank took aggressive steps to recover it loan from his brother’s company Engineers and Planners (E&P).
2. He thinks Kweku Baako had a similar soft stance when the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Development Agency (GYEEDA) rot surfaced.
3. The Ghana Revenue Authority’s contract with Subah Info solutions and
4. The Savannah Acceleration Development Authority (SADA) rots. These are all subject of enquiry, whiles some people have been arraigned for court for their involvements in some of the shady contracts.
These were the issues on Manazeh’s table that day and he thought Mr Baako did not do justice to them when they came up for discussion on Newsfile, a news analysis programme on JOY FM.
What is worthy of note is that, three out of the four burning issues, that were serious enough for Manazeh to conclude that 2013 was Ghana’s Year of corruption, were stories done by Joy FM and Manazeh, and so I ask Manazeh, Whose interest do you also serve?
Is his, a call to national duty or he is on a quest for self aggrandizement and recognition, for which reasons when he does a story or his radio station carries a news item, the whole country should bow to them and crucify everybody indicted in their stories, because they are always right?
I have heard Mr Baako enumerate the virtues of Manazeh on air and trust me, very few journalists get complimentary words from Kweku Baako. At best what he does is not to comment, when the work of a colleague journalist is being discussed or his capacity questioned.
After examining Manazeh’s concerns, I came to the conclusion that he wants the people or companies involved to be pronounced guilty without giving them a hearing and that is not the work of a journalist. Ours is to expose the rot in the system and allow state institutions mandated to prosecute to do so.
President John Dramani Mahama has not at any point in time intervened to have the debt E&P owed Merchant Bank to be written off. The issue as presented by JOY FM, was an intervention E&P wanted from the Castle to ask Merchant Bank to act as a guarantor for a facility they (E&P) was sourcing from Exim Guaranty. The correspondence that we have all seen and read did not say E&P wrote to the Castle to have Merchant Bank write off the loan it owes the bank. So what is wrong with Kweku Baako saying, it was purely a commercial transaction between two private entities.
As for the other three issues, I think in this country, we have always shot ourselves in the foot, which is nothing get solved. The more we talk about it, the more it assumes political colours. State Institutions are looking into the issues; we should all have faith that at the end of the day, they do a good job. How much can Kweku Baako talk, his mouth is neither the law nor a court of competent jurisdiction. His objective opinion or condemnation as demanded by Manazeh cannot right a wrong or make a right wrong.
Perhaps Manazeh Azuri should resign himself to pleasing his wife in his letters to his future wife, rather than attempting an area that clearly is not his field.