A civil society organization, OneGhana Movement, has described the murder of Tiger Eye PI’s investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale, as a major failing of the state akin to the murder of the judges in 1982.
In a statement issued on Friday, 18 January 2019 signed by its Executive Secretary, Emily Nyuur, the group said: “The despicable and gruesome assassination of Ahmed Hussein-Suale marks a major failing of the State akin to the murder of the Judges in 1982.
The 31-year-old undercover journalist was shot three times, twice in the chest and once in the neck by unknown gunmen who rode on a motorbike late Wednesday night at Madina, a suburb of Accra, while driving home.
In the group’s estimation, Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong, acted as an “irresponsible citizen”, when he exposed Ahmed’s identity as well as those of the Tiger Eye PI team led by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, ahead of the screening of his ‘Who watches the watchman’ documentary, an anti-Anas video documentary on his NET 2 TV following the Number 12 undercover piece by the Tiger Eye team, which unearthed rot in Ghana football and consequently led to the resignation of former GFA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi.
“On a programme on Net 2 TV, which is owned by the MP, he called on the public to assault Ahmed and, he, Kennedy Agyepong, will bear any financial consequences for it. OneGhana Movement is of the view that by revealing the identity of the undercover anti-corruption journalist, Kennedy Agyepong imminently imperiled the life of Ahmed Hussein-Suale”.
Similarly, the group said: “All members of the public who also circulated the photograph of Ahmed Hussein-Suale and other photos purported to be Anas on social media without seeing the danger in it, also contributed to endangering the lives of the undercover investigators. This represents an irresponsible use of social media and an affront to good citizenship. Mr. Agyepong’s call on the public to assault Ahmed for a reward is despicable and irresponsible of a Ghanaian, and more so, a member of parliament, who should be an example and beacon of lawfulness and responsible citizenship”.
The organisation also condemned the preference for public policy accountability and party politics over national interest, as it stated: “The incitement of harm against Mr. Ahmed by Mr. Agyepong was not a secret but made public and known to the Ghana Police and the security agencies. This was a flagrant breach of the Criminal and Other Offences Act (Act 29) section 74, which makes the threat of harm a criminal offense. The failure of the police to arrest Mr. Agyepong and bring him to book is a betrayal of the trust the State has reposed in it. The Ghana police failed in its duty of care to Ahmed Hussein-Suale and the people of Ghana.
“Suffice to say, the failings of the Ghana Police Service smacks of the prioritization of party politics over national interest. It is worth asking: would the IGP sit aloof if a non-ruling party bigwig or commoner were to incite people to assault him or the president for a reward? We are all Ghanaians and the creeds of fairness, equality and rule of law should not be allowed to remain empty platitudes”.
The group further reiterated the call for “the police service to rid itself of all political influences and manipulations, actual or perceived, and take bold and decisive actions against all suspected criminals. The impression of impunity may encourage retaliation from other interested parties and may ultimately lead to violence and the destruction of the fabric of the State.”
“Those who commit the heinous crime of killing courageous journalists and undercover investigators”, the group said, “Know that to silence journalists is to silence the voices of all those who speak through the media, or who might be tempted to speak in future. Courageous journalists are often among the few forces defending democracy, exposing corruption, taking on powerful people in society, or at least offering some check on their power. Courageous journalists are the last hope to whom citizens turn when the justice delivery system such as the police and courts fail them. The people rely on courageous journalists and undercover investigators when political institutions fail them, to inform them of what is really happening.”
OneGhana Movement called on President Nana Akufo-Addo, the National Security, and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to, “as a matter of urgency, smoke out the perpetrators, else journalists and undercover investigators will remain assassination targets for corrupt persons and their assigns”, and to “arrest and prosecute Mr Kennedy Agyepong for inciting and threatening harm to Ahmed Hussein-Suale.”
The group also urged the president to also “bring to book, all officers of the police and security services whose commission and omission contributed to the death of Ahmed Hussein-Suale and their failure to act against the threats by Mr Agyepong”. The group also wants the IGP to, “as a matter of urgency, show leadership and update Ghanaians on the state of investigations into the recent murders and guarantee to bolster security for all, moving forward.”
OneGhana Movement said “the recent murders and the seeming state of lawlessness” demand “immediate action and resolve from the government”, adding: “The imperatives of human security in democracies cannot be overemphasised, and we expect that the government will demonstrate the needed urge to restore the sense of security in the capital”.