By PATRICK MAYOYO
Authorities in Ghana should immediately investigate the killing of journalist Ahmed Hussein Suale Divela and ensure that threats against the press are taken seriously, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Two men riding a motorcycle shot and killed Divela, a member of Tiger Eye Private Investigations, an investigative journalism outlet led by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, as he was driving in the capital, Accra, yesterday, according to media reports and a video posted on Twitter by Anas. The journalist had told CPJ in September 2018 that people had attempted to attack him and that he feared for his life after a politician made comments about him on TV.
“Those responsible for journalist Ahmed Divela’s killing should be swiftly brought to justice. Ghana’s government must prove itself willing to hold accountable those who attack the press,” CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said. “This shooting is a grave signal that journalists cannot work safely to keep the public informed or hold power to account in Ghana.”
Divela worked on several investigations with Tiger Eye Private Investigations, including a June 2018 documentary “Number 12,” which investigated alleged corruption in African soccer, according to a report by the BBC.
In the documentary, Kenyan then celebrated referee Aden Marwa was exposed receiving $600 (Sh60,000) as a bribe.
Referee Aden Marwa. He was dropped from officiating at the World in Russia last year for being linked to bribery in football in Africa. PHOTO/COURTESY
Marwa who was set to officiate at the Fifa 2018 World Cup which kicked off on June 14 in Russia before being dropped.
Marwa was one among dozens of referees in Ghana and across Africa secretly filmed taking bribes or gifts from uncover journalists.
On May 30, 2018, Kennedy Agyapong, a member of parliament from the ruling New Patriotic Party, threatened and encouraged violence against Divela for his involvement in investigative reporting on corruption in Ghanaian soccer during an appearance on the national television channel Net 2 TV, which Agyapong owns, according to broadcast footage and reporting by CPJ.
“I’m telling you, beat him,” Agyapong said while an image of Divela’s face aired on screen, according to a translation of the footage posted by Anas. “Whatever happens, I’ll pay. Because he’s bad. That Ahmed.”
Previously, in a May 29 appearance on the privately owned Adom TV, Agyapong had chastised Anas and his investigative journalism, then dragged his finger across his throat while making a choking sound.
— Anas Aremeyaw Anas (@anasglobal) January 17, 2019
CPJ’s repeated calls to Agyapong today went unanswered.
In September 2018, Divela told CPJ that he believed powerful figures in Ghana sought to harm him.
“Since my image was published and [the] public was incited against me […] many people have attempted [to attack me],” he told CPJ via WhatsApp. “These criminals after us are people who are […] associated with powers that be in Ghana and can do anything and get away with it.”
Divela told CPJ that he was afraid assassins would be hired to kill him. He said, “Indeed, it [has] been hinted in some quarters that the very man who published [my image] said he was doing everything possible to quell [my] existence.”
David Senanu Eklu, assistant commissioner of police and director general for public affairs and communications at police headquarters in Accra, told CPJ today that detectives from the criminal investigation division have started an investigation.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo posted on Twitter today that he expected the police to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.
Anas, from Tiger Eye Private Investigations, told CPJ that he was “deeply saddened” by Divela’s killing, but he will continue to report on corruption. “Come what may, we will never stop,” he said.
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Nelson Mandela once said: “A critical, independent, and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.”
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