THE CASTLE PARTY ‘MILITIA’: IN DEFENCE OF QUALITY JOURNALISM

ulemana Braimah is the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)
Sulemana Braimah is the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)

On Thursday March 7, 2019, investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, released a masterpiece of undercover journalistic work with revelations that are both startling and worrying.

The story was about a phenomenon that poses perhaps, the biggest threat to the stability of our country and the feature of our democracy – party vigilante or militia groups.

The story was released a day to the end of the sitting of a Presidential Commission of Enquiry set up to look into the issue of party vigilantism or militia groups.

The story was released after the President had publicly expressed serious concerns about such groups in separate speeches to the nation in February and on March 6. On both occasions, the President called on political parties including his NPP party, to disband such groups.

Not surprisingly, there have been desperate efforts to discredit both the journalist and the story in order to reduce the monumental negative impact of the story on the governing party, the government and the President.

But the foundation pillars of the journalist’s story are firmly grounded in facts and erected on the rods of professionalism. They cannot be easily broken and destroyed. So in the attempt to discredit the story, the government actually provides additional facts that makes the situation even more worrying.

First let’s look at the facts as revealed in the journalist’s story:

1. That there is a group called De-Eye Group, which had, through some of its leaders, in undenied media reports, proclaimed itself as a Vigilante group (in fact now we are allowed to call such groups as Militia groups) aligned to the governing NPP – FACT

2. That De-Eye vigilante or militia group is made up of young folks who go through military drills as they are trained by retired military officers – FACT.

3. That the leader of the group is a former personal bodyguard of the current President of the republic of Ghana -FACT.

4. That the group used the Osu Castle, which until recently, served as the office of the President, as its operational base -FACT

5. That the group had 2 offices at the Osu Castle -FACT

6. That the Osu Castle still serves as offices for a number of Ministers including some who are ministers of state at THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT and thus can be said to be an annex to the office of the President – FACT

7. That the Eye-Group had advertised itself as a group that provides security services – FACT

8. That the Eye Group did not have the legally required license to provide private security services -FACT

9.That the group provided their services at a high profile NPP event that had both the president and Vice President in attendance in December last year -FACT

10. That the group operated from the Castle up until December last year.

ADDITIONAL FACTS AS PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENT THROUGH ITS OFFICIAL STATEMENT

1. That the the leader of the group became an appointee of the government.

2. That the leader illegally converted the office assigned him as an appointee of the government for his private business – the De-Eye Group

3. That it took a joint operation of police and national security officers to evict the leader/government appointee. (he must have been a powerful person indeed).

I shall return with more!!!

The writer Sulemana Braimah is the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa

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