The popular Kumasi journalist who died in the early hours of Sunday received death threats some three years ago. The threats came after a program on Kessben during which alleged defamatory comments were made against the Asantehene.
The journalist, Confidence K. Baah, who hosts programmes on both Kessben FM and Kessben TV, was taken ill on Sunday morning and rushed to hospital where he died shortly on admission.
The rumour mill in Kumasi is rife with speculation that he might have been poisoned.
In September 2013, the Chronicle newspaper filed the following report detailing the nature of the death threats on Mr. Baah and three other journalists who were on the programme with him.
The Chronicle Report
The Kumasi Divisional Command of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service has begun investigations into the alleged death threats on the lives of three broadcast journalists with KESSBEN FM in Kumasi.
Omanhene Yaw Adu Boakye, Eric Confidence Kwadwo Baah and Ali Baba Dankambary received separate text messages on their mobile handsets from anonymous sources, warning them of their possible deaths.
The threats, according to reports, are in connection with last week’s newspaper review of the alleged bribery story concerning the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, which was published by the Free Press Online News Portal.
The text messages, which the journalists said were received on Sunday evening read: “Your breaking news will bring the death of you people. You think you can joke with Otumfuo. It is just a matter of time”.
Another message also read: “The programme on your FM Breaking News is good. The Next time will be the murder of the 3 of U. Do U remember the killing of a journalist in Kumasi some years back? Get Ready. We will get u at dawn or noon. You Can Say U don’t care but trust us, it’s just a matter of time”.
The anonymous texter made reference to the callous murder of the late Ashanti Regional chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr. Samuel Ennin, whose murder still remains a mystery to the security agencies.
The Head of Programmes at Kessben FM, Omanhene Yaw Adu Boakye told The Chronicle in an interview that they have lodged a formal complaint with the police to investigate the matter.
He said he was surprised at the twist and misinterpretation given to the station’s review of the story, and indicated that the intention behind was a good one and was not meant to slant the Kingdom.
Omanhene Adu Boakye also insisted that he believes the Manhyia Palace has no hand in the threats or the earlier attacks, adding that he suspects some people just want to further tarnish the image of the Kingdom by engaging in such unfortunate acts.
He expressed the hope that the police will act swiftly to unravel the faces behind the plots.
Media Foundation condemns threats
The following is a story filed on myjoyonline.com about the condemnation of the threats against Mr. Baah and his colleagues
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is worried about recent serious threats on the lives of three journalists of the Kumasi-based Kessben FM.
The threats follow a discussion programme on the station on September 9, 2013, during which certain defamatory comments were made against the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
The General Manager of the radio station, Andrew Danso-Aninkora, confirmed to the MFWA that three journalists have received threatening text messages from unknown persons.
The three journalists who have received life threatening text messages are Omanhene Yaw Adu Boakye, Programmes Manager, Confidence K. Badu, Deputy News Editor and Ali Baba Dankabari, Newscaster.
The General Manager confirmed a news report in the September 17 edition of the Daily Guide newspaper, that both Adu Boakye and Ali Baba received a message from phone number +233266264462 which read:“The programme on your FM, breaking news, is good. The next news will be the murder of the three of you. Do you remember the killing of a journalist in Kumasi some years back? Get ready. We will get you at dawn or noon. You can say you don’t care but trust us. It’s just a matter of time. You people think you can joke with Otumfuo. It’s just a matter of time. Do you remember the death of some journalists? Call it a bluff.”
Confidence Badu, also received a message from phone number +2335466572 which read “Your breaking news will break the death of you people. You think you can joke with Otumfuo. It’s just a matter of time.”
Remembering the unfortunate death of Mr. Samuel Ennin, a former President of the Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), who was shot and killed on February 9, 2007 by unknown assailants, the seriousness of the recent threats on the three journalists cannot be downplayed.
The MFWA, is therefore, calling on the Ashanti Regional Police Command to thoroughly investigate the threats and also offer protection to the journalists.
“While we condemn the broadcast of the defamatory content by the station, we wish to commend the Asanteman Traditional Council for resorting to the most appropriate redress mechanism of filing a complaint before the National Media Commission (NMC), the statutory media regulator”, said the MFWA.