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Opinions Thu, 11 Dec 2003

Welcome National Guardian..........

The announcement that one of Ghana’s seasoned journalists Mr. Kofi Badu has founded a new newspaper called The National Guardian [READ] must be closely watched by the NPP government and democracy advocates in Ghana.
During the Busia era, Kofi Badu founded a newspaper called The Spokesman, at which launching Mr. Badu reportedly prophesied, “with this pen I'll bring down the Busia government”. He then proceeded to see nothing good about the Busia administration, and became the most vociferous and cantankerous critic of the Progress Party (PP) administration. His newspaper was highly sought after by the PP government officials who wanted to read what the Spokesman had written about them, ‘this time’.
In the Nkrumah era, Mr. Badu wrote for the Evening News; and also served as a sports writer for the Ghanaian Times, where he was the first to take on the late Ohene Djan - then the powerful head of the Central Organization of Sports (COS), in an era when criticizing the powerful Ohene Djan meant a journalist could loose credentials to enter any sports stadium to practice his craft!
When the late president Nkrumah decided in his peculiar infinite wisdom to appoint MP’s to Parliament (rather than have them elected), Mr. Badu was appointed an MP for a constituency in the Volta Region. Not long after, Nkrumah was overthrown in a coup in 1966.
With the coming to power of Dr. Busia in 1969, Kofi Badu launched the Spokesman, never shrinking from virulent personal attacks on Busia, nor his government.
Among the things he is remembered for is that Kofi Badu gave the epithet “Kafuo Didi” to Dr. Busia. This was in reference to Busia’s statement at the meeting of the Paris Club to discuss Third World debt, that ‘no debt is sacrosanct’; because as Busia explained, much of the debt inherited by his government was ‘vitiated with fraud’. Busia wanted such debts cancelled outright.
Mr. Badu also called Dr. Busia, “The High Priest of Wenchi”, because of Busia's affinity to using moral precepts in governing.
The front page of the last edition of the Spokesman during the Busia administration screamed “GO, BUSIA GO”!! Busia was overthrown that week!!!
Under the military regime of General Kutu Acheampong, Mr. Badu was appointed Editor of the Daily Graphic. Sadly, the reformist zeal of Kofi Badu evaporated. His virulent editorial attacks on university students protesting the corruption and dictatorship of the military regime was nothing to sneeze at. With Mr. Kwame Gyawu Kyem (the Editor of Ghanaian Times), the duo became drum majors of Acheampong’s nebulous Union Government concept.
In 1978, a military palace coup kicked out Acheampong and ushered in the (Supreme Military Council II or SMC II (the NRC of 1972 had later been reconstituted SMC; hence SMC II for the new group!), under General F.W.K. Akuffo. This new group embarked on a policy of cleansing the government of pro-Acheampong elements. Mr. Kofi Badu lost his job.
Mr. Badu apparently fled the Rawlings revolution of the 1980's. Later, he was a frequennt visitor to Washington lobbying against the Rawlings ‘dictatorship’ in the US Senate, in particular, with other Ghanaian ‘exiles’ in Washington, DC.
Again, apparently, Mr. Badu entered the good books of Rawlings, or that he found Rawlings’ book, good!! Mr. Badu was appointed Managing Director of Graphic Corp. (by Rawlings!), publishers of the Daily Graphic. It was under his stewardship at Graphic Corp. that the company acquired West Africa Magazine. Mr. Badu managed Afrimedia, publishers of West Africa Magazine, as well. Perhaps Mr. Badu no longer has both jobs. I do not see his name in West Africa magazine anymore. And the Graphic Corp. has a new boss.
This man has now announced the establishment of a new newspaper. If he decides to take on Kufour, in the same manner as he did Busia, the NPP is in for a very rough ride. On the other hand, if the new National Guardian newspaper were to become as obeisant to Kufour, as Mr. Badu was during the Acheampong regime, then the debate will be obfuscated!
No matter the situation, a new generation of Ghanaian readers must be primping for what this seasoned journalist has under his sleeve this time; the same way this writer felt in those heady days of the cantankerous Spokesman. But whose spokesman!!!


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.


Columnist: Ellison, Kofi