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Opinion Manasseh Azure, Is It Tribal Journalism Or Journalism Of Vindictiveness?

Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest, or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership, online sharing, and Internet click revenue.

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play Executive Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies, Dr. Joseph Siaw- Agyepong
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Fake News is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.

Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest, or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership, online sharing, and Internet click revenue.

Fake news also undermines serious media coverage and makes it more difficult for journalists to cover significant news stories.

In recent times I have heard all the buzz about fake news and never gave it a thought until I picked up this definition of Fake news from Wikipedia and it set me thinking. I was wondering, has fake news hit Ghana now or it’s always been with us but we have just ignored it. For the past five to six years, I have had the opportunity to read some of the works of the young Journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni. Here was an up and coming journalist with so much fire and exuberance and his writing was delight to read.

Over the years however, I have been quite disappointed to see this fine young man move into this kind of mediocrity, self-centredness, vindictiveness, inherent tribalism descending into the gutters of fake news! You see, opinions are like noses…one can have their own opinion on issues, but no matter how strongly one believes in their opinion, a fact remains a fact. Painful as it can be, especially when one is so much in the public domain, it is always prudent for one to eat the humble pie and accept that I goofed on this one. After all, to err is human, and thankfully there is no scale for weighing sin, so as you are busy touting someone else’ ‘so called sin’ for which you judge and crucify them in the court of public opinion, someone is also looking at you.

Since the release of the GYEEDA report, Manasseh has laid claim to have done an investigation and released (broke) the news. You see, my challenge is, yes, you might have been the first to break the news but it was no investigative story because the government had initiated its own investigation and all you did was to report the outcome of the investigation, so don’t make it look like you did your own investigation and found wrong doing.

Manasseh has over the years created an impression that Zoomlion Ghana was found culpable of some offence and was therefore supposed to refund some monies to government. Time and time again, this has proven to be false. When he was last questioned about this assertion by the man he has so vilified, he said ‘well it was not categorically stated but per my calculation you owe the country so and so amount of money and you must pay back”. He even goes on to say that per that report, (which he tries to claim ownership of), Roland Agambire of the AGAMS group was made to refund some 60million to the government, so per his estimation, Zoomlion must also refund the monies that he Manasseh has calculated. So even though the final report and the white paper does not impute any wrong doing to Zoomlion, Manasseh feels that once Agambire has gone down with his RLg, then Joseph Siaw Agyepong and his Zoomlion must also go down. Trash!

He has tried at every given opportunity to raise this again, whenever he hears the name GYEEDA, he feels its an opportunity to raise his case again. My dear, can I educate you a bit? If a government investigative report finds someone culpable of an offence, the office responsible will call the guilty one and indicate what action is to be taken against them. So for Agambire to refund monies to the state, it means he was written to and enjoined to refund such monies.

As of today, no letter has been received by Zoomlion, requesting it to refund any monies to the nation. Last two weeks, Hon Abuga Pele and Mr Assabit, were convicted and sentenced to various prison terms, and this stirs up Manasseh’s stuff again. Per his estimation, there are others who must also be taken through the same process and to him the company that comes to his mind immediately is Zoomlion. He tries to start his fake news again by listing what per his estimation is the wrongs of Zoomlion for which “Jailing only Abuga Pele and Assabit was unjust” calling it “Selective Justice”. Now my question is –is it really a matter of fact or his “anguish” stems from the fact that no southerner has been found culpable for any wrong doing? Is it a case of tribal Journalism?

Is that why Manasseh has allowed himself, for some powerful people both in politics and industry to use him to undertake smear campaign against Zoomlion and finding every means possible to get the police CID to get the company to commit itself so they can haul them before the courts, so then it looks like all that they have been saying is true? It is very sad the length which people will go to pull people down. After 61 years of independence, Ghana has not a single company that has travelled with it from 1957, till now. Even state institutions, built around that time are struggling! What kind of a people are we? Is it wickedness, witchcraft or sheer madness?!

Manasseh throws all manner of allegations out there based on so called documents given to him by his pay masters and goes round pontificating himself and condemning people. Defaming and damaging the hard earned reputation of people who are working very hard to contribute something meaningful to this nation, and because he has the broadcast platform and a bunch of ill-informed armies following him on social media, he feels the whole world must bow to him? Keep digging, somebody is also watching your behind, you, your sponsors and your pay masters are all being watched. You may not admit it, but whether you like it not, Zoomlion has really been a blessing to Ghana.

A piece of advice-stop misinforming and twisting facts and whipping up people’s sensibilities by taking issues out of context! It is not investigative Journalism it is called Fake News! A cursory look at the recent press statement from his nemesis (Zoomlion), GYEEDA/YEA operatives under the sanitation module are not paid salaries, they are paid allowances for working in the early hours of the morning and go to do other businesses. In your Folder, based on the GYEEDA report, you admitted that Agambire was paid monies to undertake a project which did not happen even though he should normally have been paid after executing the project.

Why were you silent about the fact that Zoomlion’s payment is made on quarterly basis, even though sweeping is done daily? Why were you silent about the fact that Zoomlion most of the times have to go for bank loans at prevailing interest rates (check with the banks what the rates are now), to pay for some of the allowances before government releases funds and does not take into consideration interest accrued on the loans taken.

Why are you silent about the fact that, whenever operatives are made to work on holidays and other national days, they are given allowances and lunch which ran into thousands of Ghana cedis? Have you calculated how that is catered for?

Why are you silent about the fact that there has been no increment in the management fee to Zoomlion despite the fluctuating dollar and inflation rates.

Do you know the cost of the uniform(these are not “obroniwawu” so cannot be gotten from Kantamanto at cheap price!) and other protective equipment provided to the operatives?

Payment of management fee

The decision to pay beneficiaries Gh¢100 per month out of the Gh¢500 Management fee was not the initiative of Zoomlion Ghana Limited. In fact, at the inception of the module in 2006, beneficiaries were receiving Gh¢50 per month (as you rightly captured in your folder), it was the management of Zoomlion that initiated the move for the allowance to be increased to Gh¢100. So if you know these facts, why do you go round creating the impression that Zoomlion is paid 500 and they deliberately pay 100 to the operatives. It is about time you did something about this complex of yours. It is amazing you have great clinical psychologist like Nii Nortey Dua, as a friend to multimedia and yet you will not take advantage of his presence for him to counsel you.

Being rich is not a crime! Bible says, “time and chance happens to all”. But poverty is madness! It is a poverty mentality that makes one uncomfortable when the see others succeeding and prospering. Instead of seeking wisdom on how to also be like them, we will vilify them, blackmail them, run them down and do anything in our powers to bring them to our level. That is why it is also best not to argue with a fool because they will reduce you to their level and beat you with experience. I will not be surprised if you come to write something more damning and insulting than you’ve already done…because this is your turf and you play better here supported by your unschooled social media armies!

Bring it on! After all what have we not seen…we have already counted 99 so 100 is nothing all!

Misconception over the Management Fee to Zoomlion

Further to the Management Service Agreement, the Gh¢400 management fee which has not been reviewed since 2011, 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.

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

What is the main objective of your writings?

To bring the company and its owner down as your sponsors and pay masters are planning with you?

Have you taken your time to study the dynamics in the waste management industry?

The company goes down, then what?

Anyways, you can never be smarter than the millions of Ghanaians who see and can attest to the good work being done by this company. You cannot speak for thousands of people who wake up every dawn to keep our nation clean, some of whom have lost their lives in line of duty, and who know that but for Zoomlion bringing dignity to “borla business”, they would never have had any pride of being in uniform and serving their nation-people who have become life savers through their preventive work.

Today, through the ingenuity of a great entrepreneur like Dr (you can burn the sea for all I care!) Joseph Siaw Agyepong, ordinary Ghanaians can see how they are also helping the nation to achieve the sustainable development goals on ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing, empowering women to do what they love to do and get paid for it, sanitation for all, productive employment, fostering innovation even in waste management, climate change and its impact as well as promoting sustainable cities.

Zoomlion today through its hard work and keeping its focus has operations in other African countries. Zoomlion is not only about solid waste management, but providing a 360 degree integrated waste management solution for both solid and liquid waste from collection, haulage, storage and recycling. Tell me one company in this country that has pumped so much into infrastructural and logistical development in this country more than Zoomlion?

Check the amount of money that governments have spent on the waste menace over the years to no avail and compare to what Zoomlion has done in spate of 11years and tell me who should go to jail? You and your sponsors and paymasters who for now think they are faceless or who? All those who have been giving you confidential information and working behind the scenes with the police to hound the company and its managers…people are also watching you!

The elders say “if you go scrutinizing(feefee) the eyes of a dead body, you will see a ghost! Keep searching…make Zoomlion your career, go from ministry to ministry, region to region, district to district, village to village and come back and retell your story laced with insult which sometimes make me wonder if there was no adult in your life training you while you were growing up!

Fredrick Ocansey
Freelance Journalist
United Kingdom

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