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“Who watches the watchman?”
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“Who watches the watchman?”

The work of Ghanaian investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker Anas Aremeyaw Anas to uncover evil practices and corruption in Ghana has been commended by some and criticized by others, but Richmond Setrana, 26, a Correspondent from Tema in Ghana, argues that  it is not just Anas’ role  to expose and address the wrongs of the society but rather all citizens have this responsibility.

A recent documentary titled #12 (Number 12) by renown Ghanaian investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas,  has exposed the deep-seated corruption in the football circles in Ghana and Africa, and has thrown the nation into a frenzy.

It is believed that Anas chose #12 as the title of the documentary because every football team plays with 11 players and Anas intended to reveal that there is always a 12th player who decides the outcome of matches in Ghana.

His motto “name, shame and jail” has guided his actions and has set many people – especially in the government sector on the edge of their seats for fear of being exposed by Anas. He is famous for using anonymity in his investigations, thus very few people can boast of ever knowing his real identity. Some of his works over the past two decades are:

  • The Burger story (1999):  In his first piece of undercover journalism, he worked as a street hawker to expose corrupt police officers who took bribes from unlicensed traders in Accra.
  • Torture on the high seas (July 2003):  This investigative report exposed the maltreatment of Ghanaian workers by a Korean employer.
  • Eurofood scandal (June 2006): Anas went undercover as a menial worker at Eurofood, a biscuit and confectionary factory in Ghana. The report accused the company of using expired and maggot-infested flour to produce biscuits for public consumption in Ghana and other parts of Africa. These allegations were denied by the company who said they had intended to dump the spoiled flour.

These are a few of the works of Anas to straighten out the society in which we live. His exposé before the football scandal featured 22 lower court judges and 12 high court judges taking yams and goats as bribes to compromise court cases. This was a result of over two years going undercover to expose the rot in the judicial system.  As a result of this piece of work, then President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama relieved the offenders of their duties.

Nevertheless, there are some people who are disgruntled about the manner in which Anas discharges his duties. They feel that he entraps his targets by intentionally setting them up to fall short of the law. They are also upset that Anas appears to have too much freedom and room to operate without any significant level of accountability to anyone.

The slogan “Who watches the watchman?” was recently trending in Ghana – as people asked who will set Anas straight should he deviate from the very path he is championing. This came about because of the controversies surrounding his recent investigative piece.

Honorable Kennedy Agyapong, a Member of Ghana’s Parliament,  had claimed that he had startling evidence to suggest that the respected investigative journalist is not perfect.

Kennedy Agyapong released what he claimed was his video evidence against Anas in his secret recordings of how he claims Anas operates undercover.  Anas has since filed a defamation suit against the member of parliament for allegations made against him in the video.

This controversial episode highlights the current state of Africa and how heavily we rely on one individual or entity to solve problems that we should all be rallying together to tackle. Without strong institutions and sustainable processes to curb societal ills, we will always be pointing fingers at one another rather than working together to create the future we want to see.

Corruption has been Africa’s biggest nemesis and is the main adversary that has crippled its development. Anas gives us a glimpse into that corruption which can be fought and overcome. Tackling these ills is what we should all be working to achieve, and not tearing one another down, and ending up worse off than when we started.

We should be the watchmen and watchwomen of our continent in service to future generations.  We should be accountable to them for our actions. It is our responsibility to create a sustainable and enabling environment that facilitates the realization of their potential as we enable them to steer Africa forward.

photo credit: Anas Aremeyaw Anas  via Facebook 
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About me: I am a vibrant Pan-African. I engage in activities that develop young Africans in sharpening their skills and equipping them with relevant knowledge that will help them compete effectively on the global stage.

I am Chief Protocol Officer at ImpactiNation, a non-profit organisation that seeks to bridge the gap between the youth and their dream fulfillment by providing them with mentorship and leadership skill enhancement tools that will make them stand out among their contemporaries.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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