If Osu Children’s Home Story Was Bad, Check This.

Wed, 6 Oct 2010 Source: Quaye, Stephen A.

From: Stephen A. Quaye, Toronto-Canada.

Wherever the president, his ministers as well as other well meaning Ghanaians travel to including Canada, their message to fellow citizens and foreigners is simple, Ghana is peaceful, very democratic, economically vibrant and a country where equal rights and justices reign supreme.

These leaders are very well composed to the extent that whatever they say actually convinces many people to go to our motherland to invest. But are these sweet words that they say about the country really true?

No I am not the right person to answer this question since I am out of the country therefore it is the insiders who can answer this question properly.

But whether it is true or not I am going to lay bear the picture that some of the foreign journalists are paining about Ghana comparative to what Ghanaian journalists are exposing so that you compare and contrast to reach an answer to the question.

Some Ghanaian journalists are currently facing political hatred simply because they have been exposing rotten stuff in government ministries, departments and agencies making those heads hot.

Some of them have been tagged as “nation wreckers, anti government” and what have you. Talking about journalists who have been courting government anger, I believe the first name on the list readers will mention for sure is Anas Aremeyaw Anas of the powerful New Crusading Guide which exposed the human rights abuses at the Osu Children’s home recently.

If caretakers at the home have been cursing this ace journalist for bringing to light what was serious human rights abuses over there as was reported by Peace F.M. last Wednesday then what will the president and for that matter his ministers do to a news paper published in Canada which exposed another human rights abuse at a prayer camp in Suhum?

September 30,2010, was the day many Ghanaians especially women resident in Toronto and for that matter the whole Canada felt bad following a front page news filed by one Sarah-Jane Steele, special to the Toronto Star.

The headline, “SORCERY VERSUS PSYCHIATRY IN GHANA,ABUSE OF MENTALLY ILL RAMPANT” with a main photograph captioned the mentally ill are often chained up in rural Ghana, like this woman suffering from depression after being jilted by a boyfriend. She was chained to a mango tree and treated by an herbalist in a prayer camp made many patriotic Ghanaians here felt ashamed.

According to the reporter, the belief in witchcraft and spiritualism is very much alive in Ghana especially Suhum where she visited the Atetepong prayer camp where the mentally ill ones are chained to mango tree beaten till suppose evil spirits depart from them.

The Toronto Star reporter talked to Dr. Akwesi Adjei, chief psychiatrist at Accra Psychiatric Hospital who said about 2.4 million Ghanaians are living with mental illness where in all there are only 12 psychiatrists for the country Ghana of 18 million people.

Many Ghanaians who read the story did not have trouble with the reporter or the newspaper nor Dr. Kwesi Adjei, but the government which is allowing these problems to persist only for international reporters to expose them to soil the image of the country abroad.

Their beef was if a local journalist is trying to raise awareness that there are these problems existing in such places therefore the need for appropriate ministries to tackle and they are hauling them before a disciplinary committees then the country is in for a big trouble.

Unfortunately, nothing has been heard from the high commission or the consulate in terms of reaction to the story by filing a rejoinder or further explanation and many people are asking why?

Are they just going to as usual fire a rejoinder to be published by the news paper or just leave it like that because it is an international newspaper? Are they also going to set up a committee for the newspaper journalist who might still be in Ghana to appear before it and prove her story?

No matter what action taken it is time issues raised by journalists are given much attention by way of finding solution to the problems instead of chasing them and disgracing or cursing them.

If Ghanaian journalists are being hated for exposing rot in Ghana then, we should watch out for international journalists who will expose the rot in the country to the outside world to cause the country much disgrace.

You can check the story at www.thestar.com and check the archives which dated September 30, 2010.


Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.