We are barely a few days away from going to the polls to cast our ballots. And as political parties ‘fight’ each other to win votes, social media has equally had its share of controversies.
This week has been filled with controversies, with the latest being a video of Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana allegedly taking a $40,000 bribe. The video has become popular among the opposition NDC party, with their party members capitalizing on it to amass votes.
Celebrated Journalist Manasseh Awuni Azure has added his voice to the brouhaha, calling the video fake and doctored.
Read his post below
A civil society advocate I respect very much sent me a video of the alleged Akufo-Addo bribe this morning and said it wasn’t possible the encounter happened in 2016. After some back and forth, I was compelled to watch the video. It was the one with a voice narration, but I realised there was something else strange about this video.
In this video, the one who led the Hajia to meet Nana Akufo-Addo is heard begging on behalf of one Alhaji Abass. I felt this was strange because in the first unedited video that I watched, that was not part of the conversation. The discussion about party people wanting Alhaji out did not feature at all.
So I went to the Facebook pages of those who first shared the 15 minute unedited video without the voice over or narration. I realised that they had pulled down the original videos and uploaded this new one which had the voice over and what appears like an insertion of the speaker’s voice to match the narration that the money was sent as a bribe in 2017 to ensure that Alhaji Abass was kept in office.
The issue about campaign T-shirts have also been edited out of this new one. You will also realise that in the first one, an amount of 40,000 was mentioned, but there was no denomination. But in the second video being circulated, there it is stated.
I searched YouTube and realised that someone still had the earlier one, and it confirms the information I heard on the original video shared before being pulled down. (Watch this video and compare it to the other one being shared now and you’ll spot the differences.) The conversation in the new one flows more naturally.
For instance, when Barffour Awuah heard about the T-Shirts, he interjected and said he was going to Kumasi the following day and that he had to send the T-Shirts to support the (NPP) candidate in Asawase who badly needed support in his campaign. Nana Akufo-Addo readily agreed that he should send them to him. We should be asking the originators of the video why they pulled down the original ones they shared on November 30.
And we should be concerned because someone can record you in a discussion on one topic and go and edit out the original words they spoke to you and add new ones to create a different scenario. I do investigative journalism and I sometimes employ undercover techniques. My opinion on this is purely professional. I don’t know of any journalist who has been more outspoken about the president’s handling of corruption than I have.
But if he’s treated unfairly, I am obliged to point it out. In 2016, I was one of the few who openly defended President Mahama when his voice was doctored in Kumasi in the “hen and hawk dance analogy” by a journalist to create the impression he was insulting the Asante people. It is a matter of principle and from a professional standpoint. In any form of undercover, the offence you intend to link the target of your investigation with should be the subject of discussion in the undercover recording.
If you record your pregnant girlfriend as having taken money from you to abort a pregnancy and the conversation in the video is about taking the money for shopping, we have to point it out to you. There can be problems with the shopping and we should discuss that separately, but you don’t accuse her of taking money to terminate the pregnancy when that never came up when you met to do the secret recording.
In this case, I agree with those who question the mode of funding political party campaigns. I agree that there should have been proper structures where the presidential candidate does not have to be directly involved. I agree with those who question the motive of the giver. I don’t have any problem when Akufo-Addo is scrutinised for how he handled this and other donations.
But it’s wrong to doctor the conversation of a meeting in order to destroy another person. It can happen to anyone. And you don’t have to belong to Akufo-Addo’s party or be his supporter to point this out. Just note that there are two separate tapes on this matter.