? ? ? ? ? ? I have not fully familiarize myself with the terms of reference of the National Media Commission (NMC), but it does appear to me that the decision by Mr. Kabral Blay-Amihere, the NMC chairman, to have his establishment? investigate political interference and bribery allegations levelled against the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, by the editors and publishers of the New Free Press is grossly misplaced, if not also misguided (See “NMC Investigates Bribery Allegations Against Asantehene” JoyOnline /Ghanaweb.com 10/18/13).

 

And regarding the foregoing may be recalled the fact that in the wake of the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel’s scandalous dismissal of the Akufo-Addo-led Election 2012 Presidential Petition, the New Free Press published a report vehemently claiming the Asantehene to have served as a willful conduit between President John Dramani Mahama and the Atuguba court in the criminal abortion of the ministration of justice.

 

Initially, the editor of the aforesaid newspaper denied that it had any connection with the allegation which first appeared online. She had also claimed that the New Free Press did not even have an online edition of the paper. This denial, however, was promptly and vehemently countermanded by the managing-editor of the same publication, who insisted that he had in his possession reliable phone records to back up his claim, and that such data would be shortly made available to the reading public.

 

We are here far less interested in the quiddities of the allegation than the apparent manner and method by which Ambassador Blay-Amihere intends to ferret out the merits or lack thereof of the New Free Press allegation. It is also significant to note that the NMC chairman’s decision to investigate the allegation follows the filing of an official complaint by the Asanteman Council, which is headquartered in the Manhyia Palace of the Asantehene.

 

This is significant because the initial reaction of the Asanteman Council was to threaten the accusers in an apparent bid to peremptorily silencing the latter, rather than calling for a credible and thorough investigation to put paid to this most embarrassing allegation. Now, refreshingly, sanity appears to have prevailed in the palace of Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II.

 

What ought to give readers and listeners a sit-up cause for concern, is the fact that it took Mr. Blay-Amihere and his associates of the National Media Commission this long to announce their initiation of an investigation into the aforesaid bribery allegation against the Asantehene. And then for Mr. Blay-Amihere to do so at the “re-launch of the Independent newspaper in Kumasi,” the Asante regional capital. For us, avid observers of the Ghanaian sociopolitical and cultural scene, what staggers the imagination quite a bit is the abject failure of the NMC chairman to be specific about when the findings of his purported investigations will be made public.

 

Maybe the Manhyia plaintiffs do not envisage the reputation of their overlord with the same measure of significance as the rest of us. At least that is the implicit suggestion that Mr. Blay-Amihere clearly seems to be putting across to his countrymen and women. One would have expected the chairman of the National Media Commission to have referred the investigative aspect of the allegation to a specially constituted independent commission of enquiry or the Crminal Investigations Division (CID) arm of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), for example, although I personally would not invest any remarkable premium of credibility in an organization “ex-officially” headed by the Vice-President of our august Republic; also judging from its track-record in the recent past, the general performance of the CID leaves much to be desired. And neither would I expect the highly politicized Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to be able to creditably, and credibly, step up to the plate, in American baseball parlance.

 

Of course, Ambassador Blay-Amihere could do much better by promptly coming out with more definitive modalities for dealing with the allegations levelled against Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II by the editors and publishers of the New Free Press.

 

As of whether such cardinal institutions as the Presidency, Judiciary, Parliament, Religion and Chieftaincy and the personnel in charge of the same ought to be accorded utmost regard, is not for Mr. Blay-Amihere to lecture Ghanaians vis-a-vis the same. As our elders say, “Respect is earned; it is not extorted.”

 

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*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

E-mail: [email protected]

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