The National Youth Organiser of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Salam Mustapha, has confirmed that all the young men who invaded the studios of Accra-based United Television during its popular live entertainment show are known members of the party.
Speaking on Ghana’s leading current affairs show on radio, Ekosiisen on Monday, October 9, Salam Mustapha told the host Osei Bonsu [Alias OB], that it will be disingenuous on his part to deny the affiliation of the young men to the NPP.
He, however, explained that the party did not sanction the actions of the youth, comprising constituency youth organizers and a Deputy Greater Accra Youth Organiser.
“OB, I can’t be on this platform and claim that I don’t know them. All those in the video I know them. And I can confirm that some of them are constituency youth organisers, and one is a Deputy Regional Youth Organiser [Greater Accra]. They are my guys that I work with, and so I cannot deny their bona fide membership of the New Patriotic Party. As for that, I cannot lie on this platform. They’re NPP members that I work with, and I can state emphatically that I know them” he noted.
Asked whether the Deputy Youth Organiser among them was currently acting as the Greater Accra NPP Youth Organiser, Salam Mustapha said he could not confirm that since the regional executives were yet to inform the national level about any such changes.
He, however, explained that the current Greater Accra Youth Organiser, Moses Abor, has written to the party leadership that he wishes to step aside for the time being.
“To the best of my knowledge, the elders of the party are still holding onto that letter pending the acceptance of his resignation. I am sure because of the limited voters registration exercise, the Regional Executive Committee of the party hasn’t sat on the letter yet, so we hope by the time they sit, there will be communication regarding his resignation, and then there will be an acting Regional Youth Organiser.”
Be that as it may, currently it is my brother, Mandela who’s taking care of the Greater Accra Regional Youth Wing. That one I can speak to it” he noted. Asked whether as the National Youth Organiser he was aware of the attack before it happened, Mustapha said that could not have happened since the party did not sanction the action.
“OB, truthfully I wasn’t in the know of the action these young guys took. I only had a call when the incident happened, and when I asked they explained what transpired.” According to the National Youth Organiser, the youth took the decision themselves and acted out of anger.
“It was not a premeditated plan that we sat and agreed on. That’s not the case”, adding that, “As the National Youth Organiser, I take full responsibility for what happened. They are my guys who went to conduct themselves inappropriately,” Salam Mustapha stated.
He reiterated that the NPP as a party values the role of the media as a critical stakeholder in building Ghana’s democracy, and will not allow such an incident to reoccur.
He thus apologised to the media for the incident and pledged a more cordial relationship going forward.
“We are the key stakeholders in this democracy, but once in a while we can get things wrong, and we must be corrected for us to ensure that democracy flourishes. As a youth wing, this will not recur. And I will take care to ensure that across the country people are cautioned.
He said the party will continue to cooperate with the police which arrested sixteen persons following the incident and later granted them bail. A group of young men barged into the studios of UTV during the station’s prime time entertainment show, ‘United Showbiz’ temporarily disrupting the show and threatening to beat up the host and her guests on live television.
According to them, the show had become a platform where the government has consistently been unfairly criticised in an unprofessional manner, to the point that a letter from the NPP to the management of UTV to reform the United Showbiz, was torn apart live on air by political activist cum NPP sympathizer, Kwame A Plus, a regular panellist of the show.
Many individuals and institutions have condemned the incident.
According to the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the act was both “barbaric and medieval, and it is very much consistent with the building blocks in recent times to establish a state of impunity against the media, one that is worse than the infamous ‘Culture of Silence’.”
“We wish to inform such evil minds, both orchestrators and actors, that the media in Ghana have survived all forms of clampdown in the past, even under dictatorial regimes, and that we shall never be intimidated or silenced by any form of attack,” the statement from GJA added.
By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie