On 16 January 2019, the life of a brilliant, creative and investigative journalist, Ahmed Suale was ended violently by enemies of freedom and truth. Two years on from his killing, it is astonishing that nobody has been punished for this crime.
Today, the West African Journalists Association (WAJA) joins its affiliate, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in marking the second anniversary of the willful killing of the late comrade Ahmed and renew calls for justice to be served.
The circumstances and events leading to the shooting to death of Ahmed are well documented. How is it possible that the gentleman who is thought to have ordered and/or encouraged his killing on television, Member of Parliament, Kennedy Agyapong is still a free man and even enjoying taxes of the Ghanaian people.
Agyapong is heard in a TV broadcast on 30 May 2018 that went viral, inciting violence against the journalist: “I’m telling you, beat him; whatever happens, I’ll pay because he’s bad…” The government failed to protect the journalist after the threat to his life, while also refusing to hold the lawmaker to account. This easily promotes impunity.
The deliberate killing of journalists in relation to their work MUST be treated as a “crime against humanity” if we are to succeed in our fight for the safety and protection of journalists. Why are politicians treated differently when they are accused of crimes?
WAJA is of the view that heads of state should be held responsible for attacks on journalists if they failed to investigate and bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice.
It does not make sense that journalists are subjects of assault, torture, imprisonment and killing for simply doing their job, while political leaders allow those crimes go unpunished; this is an obvious complicity.
As Chairperson of the ECOWAS, WAJA calls on Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo not to sweep this unresolved crime, because no matter how long he tries to ignore the killing of Ahmed, the scar left in the enviable record set by Ghana as the highest performing country on the press freedom index in the region will never be removed.
We meantime encourage journalists to remain fearless and steadfast in the discharge of their duties and refuse to be cowed into submission. You are the guarantors of the democratic process. Not even the threats and attacks you get during elections should scare you away. Be the journalist you are for the public good by giving your platforms for healthy political debates. Yours is to always stay professional in all that you say, write and do especially with the truth.
May the memory of Ahmed Suale be an inspiration and a blessing to all journalists in the sub-region, and may the Almighty God console his family.
Together, we shall prevail.
Peter Quaqua, President/WAJA