A journalist with Metro TV in Accra, Gabriel Nii Obodai Torgbor-Ashong, has received threats from the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Tema over a series of stories the reporter produced on the sanitation situation in his jurisdiction.
The Municipal Chief Executive, Felix Mensah Nii Anang-La, who called the journalist very furious, warned him, questioning why he would decide to carry stories of such nature on his metropolis at a time when the president is preparing to nominate or re-nominate MMDCEs across the country.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is yet to nominate Metropolitan, Municipal, District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) for his second term in office, although he has asked all such appointees to stay put at their various posts until the new list is released.
"I have done three stories from there in the last two weeks. One had to do with a broken sewer line – like I mentioned in the writeup. I called the MCE to speak with him on the back of the story but he declined and rather referred me to the public relations officer. And he also couldn't talk to me at the time, saying that he wasn't well and that they were going to take an action on the issue – to clean up the fecal waste on the street and fix the choked sewer line but they didn't do so immediately. It was after I had aired the story that they later went there to address the issue," he explained to GhanaWeb in an interview.
In his second story, the community development journalist focused on the deplorable nature of an Anglican school at Manhean, which had its roofing sheets falling off, portraying the very bad shape the building were in, and again, got results from his reportage.
This, he told GhanaWeb, however, did not satisfy the MCE, who decided to direct fire in the line of his public relations officer, who he believed was being ineffective.
"Then we did a second story about the Manhean Anglican school which had its roofing in a deplorable state and that's when the MCE started putting pressure on the PRO, saying that he should engage me or deal with me, as though he should arrange for us to follow up, and I was available for that. But again, the PRO was not able to arrange those interviews.
"So, they moved in to kick off the roofing of the Manhean Anglican school. Pictures were shared with me and I also shared it on my platform. I asked the PRO to arrange for an interview but he was not able to do so even until today," he narrated.
By the time the journalist produced his third story: about a long heap of refuse dump at the beach, which was aired only few days ago, the MCE had totally flared up, making the decision to 'deal' with the reporter into his own hands.
"The third one was about a refuse dump at the beach. The area is called UH and I understand it's been there for the past 10 years or so and that aired only last Tuesday. And the MCE had to call the PRO again, using unprintable words on him and claiming that if he is unable to deal with me, then he will do it himself.
"So, he called to say that I am being used to disgrace him at the time when the president is about to re-nominate people for the MMCEs positions. So, more or less like I am being used to undermine him and he reiterated this today when a colleague called him after which he dropped the line on her. And he was saying that I shouldn't try him, warning me that he has reported me to my bosses at Zoomlion," he explained.