Hot waters More pressure mounts on GJA prez to resign

" If Affail Monney does not resign on his own, Article 25 of the GJA will be activated to impeach him on grounds of bringing the Association into disrepute."

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Influential journalists in the country are intensifying calls for the President of the Ghana Journalist Association to resign. The last are the Ashanti Regional President of the GJA, Listowell Bukason and veteran journalist, Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako.

Speaking on today's edition of News File on Joy Fm Kwaku Baako insisted that  "whether he will resign or not, Mr. Monney must apologise ahead of time; it is nonnegotiable.”

The GJA President incurred the wrath of journalists across the country when he told Joy News that after a meeting with the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, it had been concluded that there was no wrongdoing in the hiring of a vehicle which conveyed journalists for assignment and later crashed and killed Ghanaian Times newspaper reporter, Samuel Nuamah.

The vehicle was carrying members of the Presidential Press Corps who were returning from Ho in the Volta Region where the president had attended a programme organised by the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP).

The journalists, some of whom were injured in the accident, complained about the recklessness of the driver.

The Ghana Television’s Napoleon Ato Kittoe said the vehicle had two close shaves before the accident.

But the GJA President told Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni it came to light after the meeting that the vehicle hired for the journalists was in good condition.

According to him, this will not be the first time the presidency through the transport officer has done business with the car rental company, so there is no doubt due process was followed.

The Chief of Staff assured that it was purely an accident and the state of the vehicle could not be blamed neither the driver,” he said.

In a response to whether he was satisfied with the Chief of Staff’s assertions even though his reporter (Affail Monney works at GBC), Ato Kittoe had said something to the contrary, Mr Monney said, “I am inclined to believe that he [Chief of Staff] was candid with what he said”.

His comments have attracted opprobrium from media editors and journalists who say their president failed them.

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako agreed. He said the GJA President goofed big time.

He said after hearing from the Chief of Staff, Mr. Affail Monney ought to have communicated his information to the entire executive of the GJA after all he went to that meeting alone.

"What he did was pre-emptive, premature and indiscreet and I'm being charitable," Kweku Baako told Joy FM and MtultiTV's current affairs programme, Newsfile, Saturday.

"In any case, what the Chief of Staff told him, if indeed his account is correct, was it a by-product outcome of a cohesive official investigation? Or he was expressing his own immediate personal views."

Kweku Baako said, given the sensitivity of the issue, the GJA president should not have made the comments he made.

Mr Affail Monney must be courageous enough to apologise for the gaffe, he said, because "that may mitigate the angry calls for his resignation. People are very angry."

The Ashanti Regional President of the GJA, Listowell Bukarson, said his national president must resign.

He argued Mr. Monney has demonstrated through his comments that he could no longer be relied to protect the interests of journalists.

"Between the journalists - who were on the vehicle - and the Chief of Staff who sat comfortably in his office, who - all of the factors being equal, would you want to believe if you were the president of the GJA?

Mr. Bukarson said there was betrayal when one considers the fact that the GJA president falsely claimed that Wisdom Awuku, a press aide at the presidency, was on the bus that crashed.

"When Napoleon recounted the incident, he was so clear that the bus had two close shaves before the accident. My president tells me Napoleon - according to reports that he got from Awuku who was not in the bus - was sleeping...I mean Napoleon works with Mr. Monney at the GBC and I am thinking it is an insult to Napoleon and those out colleagues who got involved in the accident," he stated.

He said he had firsthand experience of journalists complaining about the presidency hiring rickety vehicle for them to do their job.

Listowel, who contest and lost the New Patriotic Party parliamentary primary for Builsa North, said if Affail Monney does not resign on his own, Article 25 of the GJA will be activated to impeach him on grounds of bringing the Association into disrepute.

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