2011 GJA Journalist of the Year, Manasseh Azure Awuni has described his investigative piece on the Ford expedition ‘gift’ to Former President John Dramani Mahama as the most dangerous grounds he has ventured into as far as investigative journalism is concerned.
In an interview with Kofi TV, the multiple award-winning journalist explained that some die-hard members and leaders of the then ruling NDC could have attacked him considering the political tension in the country at the time and the fact that the 2016 general elections were approaching.
He said, “I don’t believe the President himself would have harmed me, but some people are so dedicated to the party that they won’t allow you go free if you do anything to destroy the party’s chances of winning”.
Recounting his trip to Burkina Faso to interview the Burkinabe contractor who gifted the then Vice President the car, Azure said his wife (who was then his fiancée) fasted and prayed the whole day for his safe return as they both knew the step he was taking was very dicey.
According to him, although the interview with Djibril Kanazoe started on a good note because it wasn’t focused on the Ford gift, the Burkinabe got angry in the course of the interview particularly when he realized he had been ‘tricked’ into giving out information he didn’t want to.
“He asked me to pause and when I was doing that he snatched the recorder from me. He said I had tricked him into saying things he shouldn’t say and that he will only return the recorder to me after deleting the interview”.
After several unsuccessful attempts to play the interview, Manasseh says Mr Kanazoe connected the recorder to his laptop but couldn’t locate the file on the recorder leading him to believe that it might have been deleted when he snatched the recorder.
He added that Mr Kanazoe asked him to wait for him to return from a meeting at the American Embassy before they have the interview again but out of fear and uncertainty of his safety he returned to Ghana.
“It was getting late and since I wasn’t sure of my safety if I spent the night in the country, I asked him to let us finish the interview because I had to return to Ghana that day, but he said no. When we came out of the office, he left with another man and luckily for me the watchman was asleep, so I snuck out and found my way back to Ghana”.
Manasseh added that even though it is risky to probe top government officials, journalists should take up that charge and live up to the task that as that is the only way to eradicate corruption from the country.
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