The flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has described as shocking governmentâ€™s decision to boycott the Multimedia Group, while former President Jerry John Rawlings insists he will not respect his partyâ€™s decision regarding the boycott.
The Multimedia Group has in its stables Joy FM, Adom FM, Luv FM, Nhyira FM, Asempa FM, Hitz FM, myjoyonline.com and Multi TV.
According to the main opposition leader, the position of the government was a clear violation of freedom of speech and the NDC should without delay rescind that â€śastonishingâ€ť decision.
â€śIâ€™m astonished and at a time when we have a lawyer of such repute as our President and such actions are being taken; clearly it is unconstitutional,â€ť Nana Addo told the media yesterday during his tour of the coastal line in the Greater Accra.
â€śImpediments are being put in the place of the media in doing their work; the media are being penalised because government decides for itself what is fair coverage, that is not the business of government,â€ť Nana Akufo-Addo stated.
â€śWhen we were there, we had a lot of many problems with the media; never did it occur to Kufuor to take this sort of gesture towards any particular item. What didnâ€™t Radio Gold say about us? Yet, no one from the NPP came forward to make the kind of pronouncement that spokespersons of the government are doing.
â€śIt is not for government to decide what should be the content of media publications. The idea that government can take the view that particular sections of the media are unfair to it and therefore they will prevent that media access to public events is a shocking development. If President Mills is looking for unprecedented events on his period of stewardship to talk about this is one of them,â€ť the one time Attorney General pointed out.
In the same vein, the office of former President Rawlings said it would disrespect the government directive instructing and all government agencies and members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to boycott all programmes on the Multimedia Group and to treat all journalists from that network as gate crashers.
President Rawlings, despite the directive, has agreed to send his special aide cum spokesperson, Kofi Adams, to appear on Joy FMâ€™s News File programme today, Saturday, March 24.
Mr. Adams, who has been axed from the NDC, described the directive from government as wrong and suicidal for any political party, especially in an election year like this, to boycott the media.
Though the directive was made official on Tuesday, Mr. Adams said he had the invitation from Joy FM on Thursday and insisted that the invitation should be put in writing which the station did and addressed the letter to President Rawlingsâ€™s Office.
â€śI would appear on Joy FM tomorrow. Yes, I would be on News File because they have invited me to speak on certain issues concerning the former First Lady, Nana Konadu and about myself too and by my work, I speak for the former President and until he tells me not to appear on a particular media network, I have no reason to turn down the invitation,â€ť Mr. Adams, who was on Thursday suspended as Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, noted on Peace FM yesterday.
Mr. Adams made rather revealing comments on his suspension and said he was not the intentional target but a smokescreen to pull off a â€śgrand agendaâ€ť.
Kofi Adamsâ€™s NDC Membership Revoked
The General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, said the party no more considered Kofi Adams, a deputy General Secretary, as a member of the NDC because his membership card was revoked at the National Executive Committee (NEC) held at the Local Government Training Institute, Madina on Thursday.
â€śWe have withdrawn his membership from the party so it affects his position as well because you cannot be an executive member if you are not a member of the partyâ€¦Kofi Adams is no longer a member of the NDC and he cannot exercise any rights as NDC member until the determination of the matterâ€¦If the investigations exonerate him, the suspension will be withdrawn; but if it goes against him, we will apply the recommended sanction,â€ť Asiedu-Nketia told Okay FM on Friday.
He said the decision was to allow the party to investigate the authenticity of a leaked audio tape recording in which a voice suspected to be Kofiâ€™s, with another voice believed to be that of Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko of the New Patriotic Party, on how to sabotage an electoral victory for the NDC in 2012.
Kofi Adams Speaks On Gabby Tape
Reacting to the suspension, Kofi Adams expressed shock at media reports that the NDC National Executive Committee had suspended him.
He said assuming without admitting that he was the one captured on the tape, it would not be enough grounds to suspend him because he had said worse things on public platforms.
â€śNo one has told me anything about my suspension and I am only hearing of it in the media….but there are ways of doing things and I believe there is a laid down procedure of informing me of such a decision….so you may have to ask those speaking on the issue to explain their decision,â€ť Mr. Adams said and added that when the issue was tabled for discussion at the NEC meeting, he eloquently denied ever having such a discussion with Gabby Otchere-Darko and that the tape might have been forged, especially when the NDC leadership had recently warned its leading members to be cautious of some voice mimicking gadgets that had been brought into the system.
He said it would be significant to note that Otchere-Darko had also denied ever having such discussions with him and challenged the authenticity of the tape recording.
On whether former President Rawlings was present at the NEC meeting when the suspension was decided on, Kofi Adams said though the former President went to the meeting, he left because the NEC members had walked out with an excuse that they were conferring on an issue which kept them outside the meeting grounds for a very long time and they returned only after the former President had left.
Cracks Over Suspension
NDC Founder Jerry Rawlings is reported to have expressed misgivings about the decision to suspend Kofi Adams and though he had spoken to his spokesperson on the specific issues of his grievance, the latter said he was yet to receive permission to make the details public.
Meanwhile, NDC Member of Parliament for Lower Manya Krobo, Michael Teye Nyaunu, has warned that the suspension of the Rawlings aide would further widen the gaping cracks within the NDC.
â€śBy doing this thing, they are deepening the factions within the party rather than bringing us together. We all know that anybody who associates with the Rawlingses becomes endangered species so far as the partyâ€™s activities are concerned.
â€śI disagree with them because he is a senior member of the party and he has denied ever granting such interview…This so-called tape recording thing I have once been a victim of it and it is never true; so I think they should have allowed an investigation to go through first for them to establish a position before the sanction…Granted that they go for the investigations and it proves to be otherwise that he never said it, what about the damage that will be caused to his reputation and credibility.
â€śThey should rather go ahead to investigate and based on the outcome of the investigations, so they can slap whatever sanctions they wanted to do on Kofi Adams,â€ť Teye Nyaunu told Citi FM on Friday.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo