OPINION: Stop the hatred against Jospong

I have always admired the work of journalists. In my own opinion, I think journalist in the world are doing an amazing work to mankind. I have had the opportunity to watch documentaries of some journalists that took time to expose certain ills in the society. Stories have also been told about journalists who, in their bid to do their work, ended up causing huge blunders to the career and works of innocent and harmless people.

Before I wrote this article, I consulted a journalist lecturer friend of mine to ask him about the code and ethics of the profession and he said a lot about it. He said before a publication is made, the journalist must be objective and avoid personalizing his reportage. Unfortunately, some journalist in Ghana have failed in this simple code that should have been the easiest for them to remember. One of such journalists is Manasseh Azuri of an Accra-based Joy Fm.

Before Manesseh joined Joy 99.7 FM , I read some of the many articles he wrote during his days as a freelance journalist. I must admit that I fell in love with his way of going about his discoveries. So when I heard he had joined Joy FM, one of Ghana’s biggest media brands, I was excited because I anticipated that he would now be given the resources to continue his work, which many people, until recently were proud of. Sad to say this, I think the young journalist has now turned his attention of focusing on development stories to attacking of personalities “he” thinks must be investigated. I have no problem with that but to focus so much on one individual and his company and attack them is not an honorable thing to do and Manasseh needs to know better.

Jospong

If I may not be wrong, about 90 per cent of stories that comes through the pen of Manasseh seeks to focus on the personality of Dr Joseph Siaw Agyapong, the Executive Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies. Most of Manasseh’s stories are simply about accusing Zoomlion Ghana Limited, one of the companies of Dr Agyapong as corrupt or directly attacking the man himself. Manasseh is doing this thinking he is exposing falsehood but he is rather destroying people he doesn’t know well. To me this is not only evil but also a sign of disrespect for great achievers. Why I am saying so?

I have never read any story from Manasseh applauding the role Zoomlion Ghana Limited is playing towards addressing the sanitation woes of Ghana.

Is Manasseh saying there is nothing good about the company that he could write about? Why is all his reportage aimed at denting the image of the company? Does he even know what it takes to establish a business? If somebody had rose and destroyed the brand of Joy FM when it was being established, would he had been able to come to see it and apply for a job there? He is a staff of JoyFm, would he be happy if another person takes on that company baselessly like he is doing?

This company Manasseh is attacking, for crying out loud, has given direct jobs to over 3000 people not to talk of those who are engaged indirectly through the various projects the company undertakes often times. Is Manasseh saying those good things done by the company are not worth applauding? How about the sanitation works being done in all the various districts in the country? Is this not something that needs the attention of journalist like Manasseh?

Again the crusade against the personality of Dr Agyepong is another thing I find so disrespectful? Dr Agyepong is not Manasseh’s age mate not to talk of the levels of achievement each of them has made but yet this young journalist could attack this man for things only he understands and cast invectives anyhow even though the man he so vilifies has not been tried in court.

This same man, Manasseh is attacking has been honored internationally for his various works to help Ghana progress towards the attainment of development goals, especially in the area of sanitation. We have had a former and a sitting President publicly commend Dr Agyepong for his contribution but Manasseh still thinks they did wrong by taking that stand? What kind of disrespect is this?

Manasseh, in one of his recent epistles titled “Jailing only Abuga and Assibit is unjust” mentioned some of the things he claimed to have been discovered with the contract of Zoomlion Ghana Limited and the government. My concern is what has the jailing of Abuga Pele and Assibit got to do with Zoomlion Ghana Limited? What is the agenda behind that article he wrote, considering the fact that almost all the issues he raised were same issues the company had come out to address?

Let talk about some of his assertions. Manasseh raised issues with the management fees that Zoomlion Ghana Limited received monthly. He said he does not understand why the company has to keep a large chunk of the money. This is the response the company gave in one of its press statements

“The Management Service Agreement between ZL and the YEA is Gh¢400 which goes into the procurement of Logistics for the delivery of the service by the YEA operatives. The assumption that this money goes into the pocket of the service provider is therefore very erroneous!”

“The following are some of the logistics the money goes to buy; Wheel barrows, shovels, brooms, rakes, cutlasses, alley brooms, jackets, spades, uniforms, hand gloves, nose masks, reflective jackets, safety boots, pickers, street brush, road cones etc. These are supplied regularly and are all paid for from the management fee”. This information can be verified in the recent press statement of the by the Zoomlion Company limited.

“Apart from these, vehicles to carry supervisory staff including fueling the vehicles are all covered from the Management Fee”

“ZL has for countless years had to pre-finance the payment of these allowances of beneficiaries by borrowing money at high interest rates but at no cost to the government due to delays its payment. Presently, payments to the company is in arrears of over four years running in millions of cedis” a response from Zoomlion said.

I was of the view that once this response came out, Manasseh would stop raising the issue but he has decided to disregard the explanation because “it doesn’t make sense to him”. Manasseh–Just because something doesn’t make sense to you doesn’t mean it not true and senseless. I have been into a business before and I am privy to some of the things businessmen spend monies on. Every business man knows that a large part of his service fee goes towards equipment acquisition- capital investments. Is this difficult to understand?

Again, Manasseh raised doubt with the explanation given. He mentioned a case where World Vision at Damango in the Northern region went to supply hand gloves and nose mask to the Zoomlion workers. How can a journalist justify this accusation with just single case? Manasseh is behaving like a scientist that makes a general conclusion based on one single animal test. This doesn’t mean anything.

Again Manasseh, in his article, wondered why the contract with Zoomlion Ghana Limited was not cancelled after audit was done by Dr Raymond Atuguba. I want to believe that the journalist was referring to the government. Well, what if the government didn’t see the need to cancel the contract because they were not fully convinced about the accusation against the company. Because no government will continue a contract with anybody when it has information that the people are being dishonest. Manasseh, could the silence of the government not tell you that there was nothing fishy about contract?

There are a lot I would have loved to share but I think the agenda to destroy good businesses and also dent the image of achievers are not good. Stop it. Your good reputation is gradually eroding.

By Adelaide Ankrah

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