Former First lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, is still struggling to extricate herself from reports that she lied in her claim that she paid the school fees of Komla Dumor, noting the late BBC broadcaster, came to her for help, and she helped.
The family of the deceased broadcaster, has vehemently denied claims by the NDP flagbearer that she paid the tuition fee of Dumor, while he was at the University of Ghana.
The founder of the 31st December Women’s Movement, made the claim in an interview with Bola Ray on Starr Chat on Starr FM.
However, in an apparent reaction to the position of the Dumor family, Mrs. Rawlings told Graphic online that, her intention with the comments was not to denigrate the late media icon, but to set the records straight on some erroneous perception about her family.
“As I told you earlier, my intention was not to speak about Komla Dumor; it was provoked by a question from the Starr FM interviewer. It is not my intention to bring Komla Dumor into disrepute, but just setting the records straight by bringing out a fact. Komla Dumor, reached out to me at a particular time in his life, and I helped him where I could. This is the fact.
“Through my role as First Lady, President of the 31st December Women’s Movement and a mother, I have come into contact with countless number of persons from different backgrounds, who have reached out to me. What do I have to gain by imputing falsehood to such a matter?” she inquired.
“I paid Komla Dumor’s fees at the university,” Konadu disclosed to Bola Ray on personality profile show, Starr Chat, last week Wednesday.
According to her, the ace British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) screen icon, was her husband Jerry John Rawlings’ friend’s son and had to help him complete tertiary level education, although she did not know him much then.
The tough-talking ex-First Lady, made the revelation when the issue of an infamous identification haircut case at the Castle – then seat of Ghana’s government – came up which saw Dumor interviewing her on the case.
It was alleged that one Selassie O’Sullivan-Djentuh, a former lover of Konadu’s first daughter, Zanetor Rawlings, was shaved by the military and locked in the Guard Room of the Castle over an altercation.
Mrs. Rawlings denied having a “hand in the case” but granted audience to Dumor, who was then with Joy FM. However, she said, the late journalist decided to focus on the latter part of the full interview, which failed to present a true picture of their entire conversation.
“He is dead so I don’t want to go further into that issue,” the flagbearer of the National Democratic Party (NDP), opined.
But the Family of Komla Dumor, described Mrs. Rawlings’ assertions as “patently false”.
According to the family, at the time the late BBC icon was in school, government had not introduced tuition fees. “By the time Student Fees were introduced, Komla, had already graduated from the University of Ghana. He was therefore never in a position to be required to pay fees to begin with,” Korshie Dumor, said in a statement on behalf of the Dumor Family.
Below is the full statement issued by Korshie Dumor, a younger brother of the late broadcaster:
PRESS RELEASE – 30th June 2016
Academic Experience of the Late Komla Dumor of Blessed Memory
It has come to the attention of the Dumor Family that a statement has been made in public circles regarding my late brother Mr. Komla Dumor. As he is no longer here to respond for himself, we are compelled to set the record straight.
It has been suggested that Komla received assistance in paying his University fees. Let me state without any equivocation: This is patently false.
It is said that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. This is not the first time that we have seen some individuals lay claim to the success Komla achieved.
As a family we felt the shared pride that all Ghanaians felt with what Komla was able to do with the 41 years he was granted. After all they had contributed to the growth and development of Komla.
We cannot however sit idly by while falsehoods are peddled that fly in the face of basic verifiable facts.
The following points are easily confirmed as public information:
1. Cost sharing between the Government of Ghana 70% and three sources, University Internally Generated Funds, Private Donations, and Students Tuitions making up the remaining 30% were introduced into tertiary education in Ghana in 1997. Payment of Students Fees started in 1998.
2. Komla graduated from the University of Ghana with a BA in Psychology and Sociology in June 1998 with honours.
3. By the time Student Fees were introduced, Komla had already graduated from the University of Ghana. He was therefore never in a position to be required to pay fees to begin with.
4. By 1997 a year before graduating from University, Komla was the Lead Presenter of Joy Fm’s Super Morning Show and was earning a decent salary. Financially he recognized that he was privileged to be on a much more stable footing compared to many of his peers. He would therefore have no need to request assistance from anyone to cover costs associated with his time at the University of Ghana Legon.
5. In June 2003 Komla graduated from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in Boston, after receiving a full scholarship from The Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program. He finished as the Class Valedictorian.
It is clear that Komla required no additional financial assistance from any individual and should any need have arisen, he would have had the support of his parents to refer to. In that regard, it is interesting to note again that Komla did not emerge from a vacuum.
His father, Professor Ernest Dumor, a career educator and public servant dedicated his life to years of teaching and later working to entrench Ghana’s democratic institutions when its Electoral Commission was in its infancy. He later served as the founding Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority. Professor Dumor received a Ghana National Book Award in 1997 for his book on post apartheid South Africa’s road to democratic electoral systems.
Komla’s mother, the late Cecilia Dumor, edited every text book that was used when the Government of Ghana introduced its educational reform program and started the Senior Secondary School program. She personally read and edited over 50 books that were needed to get the program off the ground. This Herculean effort in 1998 earned her a Ghana National Book Award. She did all of this while suffering from a debilitating disease.
Although not rich and though eligible, Komla’s parents chose not to apply for available student loans as they felt they had the means to support their children through tertiary education. They also felt it to be part of their civic responsibility to pay their way so that students whose parents had fewer resources could access those loans.
It is well known that Komla’s maternal grandfather wrote Ghana’s National Anthem. His paternal grandfather spent his life establishing schools across the length and breath of the Volta Region during the Colonial era.
The traditions of dedication and service run deep in our family. Komla appreciated with pride those traditions he came to meet and did all he could to build upon them. As a family, we believe that by God’s Grace, they will persist for generations to come. Let no one seek to reap where they have not sown.
Let me end by reiterating the Dumor family’s gratitude for the support of the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians to genuinely respect Komla’s history and sustain his legacy.
Korshie Dumor MD. MPH. FACP
For and on behalf of the Dumor Family