Manasseh Azure Awuni, a celebrated investigative journalist, was believed by some people to be one of the major contributing factors of the fall of former president John Dramani Mahama in the 2016 presidential election.
In 2016, Manasseh Azure Awuni conducted an investigation into circumstances that led to the acceptance of over $100,000 worth of Ford Expedition vehicle from a Burkinabe friend and contractor. This, in a typical Ghanaian fashion, generated a lot of hullabaloo, especially because it was an election year. The investigative piece was believed to have affected the electoral fortunes of the then president negatively.
However, in his book entitled ‘The Fourth John: Reign, Rejection & Rebound’, Manasseh Azure Awuni sings the praises of the former president for being a very tolerant person. He recounts his personal encounters with the former president after the investigative piece and tells how cordial their encounters were. He admits in the book that even though he was very critical of the John Mahama administration, he felt safer as a journalist to practise his profession as compared to the current government.
According to the book, when some people wanted John Mahama to return after losing the 2016 election, he thought those people were high on some banned narcotic substance. However, he thinks it is his tolerance nature and the safety of journalists under his government that necessitated the call for his return.
Read an extract from the book;
“… There is, regrettably, a faint possibility of casting my vote for John Mahama someday. It is not because I miss his presidency. As a journalist, I must admit it was safer to practise my trade in the John Mahama government than in the current government. And that’s the sentiment I get from a great number of top journalists I interact with these days. The atmosphere of safety, however, had become a norm in the fourth republic, especially in the presidency of the two men who came before John Mahama. It is only appearing to be an extra-ordinary achievement because the man who came after Mahama is rolling the clock back to the days when the culture of silence reigned. Veteran journalists and civil society groups have expressed this worry, but the Akufo-Addo government will not listen.
“Our elders are right. The disease that will kill a man first breaks sticks into his ears. The more they harden their hearts, the more they make the atmosphere for free speech a novelty, for which reason people will readily remember the ever-tolerant John Mahama. If you hate a duiker, you do not fail to acknowledge its swiftness. But the swiftness of the duiker alone may not be the reason for you wanting to keep it as a pet, especially if you grow vegetables in your garden. There should be more to make people yearn for a John Mahama comeback.
“When John Mahama lost, and there were calls for his return, I thought those making those calls were high on some banned narcotic substances…” Page 368