Abyna-Madame Adjei writes: Dear Caleb Kudah

Caleb Kudah and Colleague Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo
Caleb Kudah and Colleague Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo

My name is Abyna-Ansaa Adjei. My father was a journalist called Mike Adjei.

On the eve of my 7th birthday, a horde of soldiers came in the middle of the night and took my Daddy away for writing an article in the Free Press that the powers that were – The PNDC – didn’t like. That traumatised me greatly.

So when news of your arrest broke…I was sorely distressed. And then the National Security ‘visit’ to Citi and that display of brute force traumatised me even further.It was a bad dream being replayed over and over again.

When will we get to a point in Ghana at which security agency officials realise they are in office to serve us and not persecute us? I pray that this incident triggers changes in how security agency officials, across board, treat us civilians when our paths cross. Amen!

You were on my mind a lot, so late on Thursday, I contacted Sammens to ask how you were and whether you had been seen to by doctors. I gathered all was well. Doctors had checked you thoroughly and you had been prescribed Diclofenac Gel in order to soothe your aches and pains.

Over the weekend, I was brave enough to watch your TV interview. And then I watched Newsfile to get a sense of what your industry leaders had to say. My take…

Your bosses say it wasn’t an official assignment. Your quest to show you were right in your Facebook exchange with Masloc’s Afia Akoto led you to investigate further…More power to you!

Thank God this is an Akufo-Addo/4th Republic Government and there were no trigger-happy security operatives that afternoon. I shudder to think about what would have happened if there were. You risked your life for a ‘personal’ investigation? To prove what point?

After your exchange with Afia Akoto, the former Masloc Boss, Dr Amoah, explained 90% of the cars had been distributed and mentioned GPRTU had gotten some.

One would have thought you would go to GPRTU to check whether that was true. And then if not, probe further. But you went to National Security instead? To check on the 10%. That’s extremely baffling!

And then you caused Zoe needless trauma too.? Hearing her recount her ordeal was so painful. Needless! Needless! Needless!

I was surprised to hear that you didn’t share the news of the beating until much later? Hmmmm??? How could that be? Wasn’t it the first thing you would report so they could get you to hospital ASAP after your release?

Your attempt to introduce the angle of Akan hatred of Ewes to sanitise your actions appears to me to have been an afterthought. At the tail end of the interview you suddenly ‘remembered’ they asked where you were came from when they first arrested you. And to save your bacon you said Cape Coast.

Was it a question asked after you mentioned or wrote your name? Or it was a question that they asked out of the blue? The context would help.

And then you mentioned someone spoke Ewe to you? And you responded? You were no longer from Cape Coast? Or you were no longer afraid that they were going to really beat you for your ‘Eweness? You added that this Ewe operative punched you really hard. So really, it didn’t matter where you came from to get a beating.

This bit of your story makes me wonder whether an Owusu and an Osei were really really there that day? Your story actually suggests not. I think you leapt on the tribal bigotry bandwagon to solicit sympathy from us your Ewe ‘tribesmen’.

As the great-grand daughter of Ayite Egator of Anehor, I can tell you that being Ewe doesn’t warrant a journey of self-pity or playing the victim in any situation.

Our rich history and exploits mean we should stand shoulders high always. No matter the provocation. I think you should stay away from portraying yourself as a victim of a ‘down-trodden’ ethnic group. Ewes are not! Plain and simple.

That thing about you not having caused a serious judgement debt and so not understanding the “degree of assault” got to me….we are fighting for you today so the right thing will be done tomorrow.

Every Ghanaian in the grips of the law deserves a hearing – tinker, tailor, poor man or thief – not a beating. That is the Rule of Law we aspire to.

And then you shared your Dad’s misgivings about the danger your job poses. A little self-righteousness never hurt anyone? For the avoidance of doubt, in your situation, it was self-imposed danger as evidenced by your commentary of your video of the Land Cruisers, in which you admitted doing the wrong thing and being afraid.

Also, the fact that it wasn’t Citi that sent you on that assignment doesn’t warrant you to conclude carrying out your job has become dangerous. It hasn’t. Your poor choices are what put you in danger last week.

Caleb…Elizabeth Ohene, Sakyi Addo and Kabral etc etc are still alive. They have led the way. You can read about the Carl Mutts, Yeli Yelis and John Kugblenus of times gone by. They too have paved a worthy path for you to follow. Look and learn!

You don’t need to lie to be a good journalist. You don’t need to make every story you get wrong a personal vendetta with antics that could get you hurt, maimed or killed.

You don’t have to play victim with our ethnic group after your attempts at investigating a story backfire and you find yourself in trouble.

Some free advice. Chase a story. Do your investigation. Thoroughly. Save the public purse from thieving, incompetent politicians. However, be wise! Don’t endanger yourself. And most importantly, whenever you are chasing a scoop, please: Look, before you leap! No story is worth your life!

Also, remember to check, cross check and check again anything you want to publish or broadcast. If you hadn’t posted fake news last week and gotten called out…all this trouble would never have started.

I have a gift of my Dad’s seminal book – The Death and Pain in Rawlings Ghana – for you. Parts of it lay bare the dangers journalists lived through in the 80s and early 90s. Not of their own doing.

But of a system we pray Ghana never ‘sees’ again. Hopefully, this book will inspire you to be the best that you can be, without the drama that makes people question your craft and how you pursue it.

That will be all for now.

P.S. Rumour has it that your interview wasn’t live. And that it was recorded 5 times and we, the public, got to see the 5th version. Is this true?

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