Ningo-Prampram MP, Sam Nartey George, has described as “mercenary journalism”, TV host Paul Adom-Otchere’s polemic against fellow Minority MP, Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, concerning the Klottey-Korle MP’s claim that relief food for some 400,000 vulnerable people in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Kasoa, is being distributed on a partisan basis.
Justifying his rant against the opposition MP on his Good Evening Ghana programme, Mr Adom-Otchere told Accra-based Citi FM on Friday, 17 April 2020 that Dr Agyeman-Rawlings’ unsubstantiated claim could have incited “violence” from members of her National Democratic Congress (NDC) against members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), which could have degenerated into a Rwanda genocide-like war.
The comments of Mr Adom-Otchere followed the expression of an intention by the Minority in Parliament, to drag him to the National Media Commission (NMC) and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) over what they deem his attack on one of their own, who happens to be the first daughter of the party’s founder, former President Jerry John Rawlings.
In his Thursday night tirade, Mr Adom-Otchere admonished the first-time lawmaker to stop “misbehaving” and making “unsubstantiated” allegations against her political opponents at a time that the country needs unity to fight COVID-19.
Despite an initial denial by the government, the medical doctor-turned-politician, in a statement, asked President Akufo-Addo to probe the matter.
In his editorial, however, Mr Adom-Otchere, a member of the Board of the National Communication Authority (NCA) described the allegation of the opposition legislator as “wrong” and called on her to behave properly.
“That is a serious allegation to make against an opposing political party or to make against a government or to make against a municipal assembly or to make against any other politician… This is very wrong; members of parliament cannot do that. Dr Rawlings, you’re an elected member of parliament, you cannot do that. You cannot hide behind paper and camera and make baseless accusations against your opponent, that is the kind of politics we want to stop in this country, that is not the kind of politics we want to encourage, the kind of politics we want to stop in this country is what you have done,” Mr Adom-Otchere said.
Using Dr Agyeman-Rawlings’ own statement against her, the TV host said: “In your statement, you said: ‘My colleague MP in the Ablekuma South Constituency, Dr Oko Vanderpuije, had to also go public about how food intended for the poor was being distributed in NPP vehicles under the direct supervision of the NPP candidate for that constituency. Dr Oko Vanderpuije, before speaking to the press about the unfortunate development, had called Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison on phone to bring the matter to her notice and to register his protest.’
“This is what you do as a member of parliament, let it get into your system Dr Rawlings, let it get into your system; you come from a privileged place, we respect you, we respect your father, behave properly, stop misbehaving. How can you even issue such a statement for what you have done…we’ve been charitable to you because of who you are…“Look at Oko Vanderpuije’s behaviour you are quoting; why didn’t you behave the same way? Are you better than Oko VanderpuiJe, no, no one is better than anyone, you’re all members of parliament. But yes, you come from a great place that all of us wish we could come from. You are carrying the political heritage of Flt. lieutenant Rawlings, you cannot behave the way you’re behaving…”
Mr Adom-Otchere quizzed: “Who told you to issue this statement? Herrr, I don’t even know what to say… withdraw this statement before the lions chew you on social media. How can you tell us how Oko Vanderpuije behaved and you cannot behave that same way; how John Dumelo behaved and you cannot behave the same way…this your statement is completely flawed, never issue such a statement again, you’re a great woman, a fine politician, we want you to stay in politics…”
In a response to Mr Adom-Otchere, Mr Nartey George said: “Thursday was an eyesore and it did do a lot of erosion to the confidence that Ghanaians have in the media fraternity”.
According to him, “When you see the kind of mercenary journalism, journalism-for-hire that was done by Paul Adom-Otchere, it’s shameless and reprehensible”, adding: “I struggle to call what Paul Adom-Otchere did yesterday as journalism; you know a one-man monologue where he goes on running people down without giving them a fair hearing”.
“… This is not the first time”, Mr George said, noting: “Paul Adom-Otchere has very little currency when it comes to credibility in this country and journalism”.