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Opinions Wed, 15 Jun 2016

Does Manasseh have a personal vendetta against Mahama?

The report about a car gift to President John Mahama was widely advertised. JOY FM succeeded in getting the needed attention and most especially tried to conclude President John Mahama took a bribe and is corrupt.

Manasseh Azure Awuni, the author of the “FORD EXPEDITION GIFT STORY’ carefully crafted questions to illicit responses that will influence conclusions to be drawn. Manasseh’s report sought to indicate that Mr. Djibril Kananzoe, a Burkinabe contractor used undue influence to get contracts. The promo before tried to raise an alarm that KANAZOE FRERES Company is about to be awarded another project, valued at 82 million cedis after two earlier ones.

What exposes the agenda, which is a sharp departure from fairness is President John Mahama’s voice in the promo which commends KANAZOE FRERES Company for an excellent job on the 46-kilometre Dodo Pepeso-Nkwanta road.

Manasseh’s post on his facebook wall then asks, is it Bribe, Conflict of Interest or both? For a journalist of his stature to deliberately leave out the gift component in his question, raises eyebrows.

For JOY FM to air the report twice on a single programme further suggests their agenda and interest. Fortunately, many have seen the intended political mischief.

Correspondence and documents Manasseh clandestinely acquired suggest duties were duly paid. He also could not establish if the President in deed received the car and was in his possession. More so, majority of calls into the Super Morning Show were critical of the entire report, contrary to JOY FM’s expectations.

The Communications Ministry is clear in its response. “There was no involvement whatsoever of the President in the processes leading up to the award of this contract. Any suggestion therefore to the contrary is palpably false and untenable”.

The processes for the construction of a perimeter fence wall on a large parcel of land allocated to the Government of Ghana began in 2011, prior to President John Mahama becoming President.

It’s a fact that Ghana’s mission in Burkina Faso forwarded three quotations from construction companies to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for consideration. The quotations from the respective companies were as follows and JOY FM can verify this.

• KANAZOE FRERES: 353,136,603 CFA

• COSITRAP: 413, 177, 892 CFA

• IBOUS: 462, 608, 949 CFA

Note that Architectural Engineering Services Limited (AESL) provided pre- and- post contract consultancy services in terms of architectural, structural, land surveying, quantity surveying services leading to preparation of technical specification.

Was the report a setup, or part of a grand agenda to expose the Mahama Administration as corrupt, for political gains? Take a critical look at the letter, purportedly a correspondence between Maxwell Nyarko Lartey, Head of Chancery at Ghana’s Embassy in Burkina Faso. By standard practice there should be stamps acknowledging receipt. It also looks like it was not filed. Could it be a leaked document from an aggrieved former staff?

Ghana’s former Ambassador to Burkina Faso (Chief Bawumia, brother of NPP's vice presidential candidate Dr Bawumia) presented a vehicle to the office of the President on behalf of the contractor in question in September, 2012.

The award of the 46.4km European Union funded Dodo-Pepesu road contract followed an international competitive bidding process which was in compliance with laid down requirements of the European Union. There was absolutely no involvement of the President in the processes leading to the award of this contract.

It is interesting to note that this journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni has been consistent in attacking the personality of the President and his government. He has continuously incited his followers to castigate John Mahama through his posts.

On June 7, he put up a post with the pictures of President Mahama and Nana Akufo Addo which read, “Take Advantage of the Conditions in which we find ourselves in – the corruption, the joblessness, the mismanagement of the economy and the rest you can think of. That’s how to win election….”

On April 9th, this year, another cynical piece read, “This week, I met one of the staunchest critics of President Mahama’s administration. He is a respected figure, the issue of criticism of the President came up and he told me he couldn’t just tolerate the abysmal leadership”

That comment received 73 shares.

On March 11 when the debate on the Independence Day brochure was raging, his post read, “I wonder which Bugabuga government communicator will show up for Newsfile tomorrow”, a clear insult to government appointees.

And remember he referred to government appointees at the Flagstaff House as “ugly monkeys”. Is that journalism?

He has issued statements to ridicule the President on the distribution of free sandals and has attacked the President over his decision to seek an IMF bailout; and the rest are on his wall for anyone to verify.

On December 31, 2015, Manasseh Azure Awuni admitted in his last post of the year that he does these deliberately. He was blunt, “Journalists also have opinions. A journalist who just passes on what somebody says without fighting for a course is a robot….that is why I find social media a way to help shape opinion”

Question; are those dirty posts and attacks on the personality of President Mahama his way of shaping opinions? Should anyone take him serious since he could be seeing a bottle as half empty?

As a social media fan, I have seen a post by Bob Palitz which is questioning the value placed on the Ford Expedition. He also raises doubt about the chassis number/VIN of the vehicle provided in the report. He counted 15 characters instead of the standard 17.

Could something have gone wrong?

In concluding this article, I want to refer to a paragraph in the statement issued by the Communications Ministry, “there is known precedence for the donation of vehicles to Heads of State of Ghana in the not too distant past. A case in point was the presentation of a Mercedes Benz vehicle to President Kufour in 2007 by Libyan donors. This donation did not attract any allegations from Joy FM of the sort being made now.”

I leave the rest for your judgment.

Columnist: Kweku Sarfo