Who Watches The Watchman?
A recent documentary titled #12 (number 12) premiered by ace Ghanaian Investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, on 6th June in Accra to expose the deep-seated corruption in the football circles in Ghana and Africa has thrown the nation in a state of frenzy.
According to popular belief, Anas chose #12 as the title of the documentary because every football team plays with 11 players and Anas intends to reveal that there is always a 12th player who decides the outcome of matches in Ghana.
His motto “name, shame and jail” has guided his actions and has set everyone especially in the government sector at the edge of their seats for fear of being exposed by Anas. He is famous for using anonymity in his investigations; thus very few people can boast of ever knowing his real identity. Some of his works over the past two decades are;
- The Burger story (1999): This was his first undercover piece where he worked as a street hawker to expose police officers who took bribes from unlicensed traders on a major highway in Accra.
- Torture on the high seas (July 2003): Anas went undercover aboard a shipping vessel to expose the maltreatment of Ghanaian workers by a Korean employer.
- Eurofood scandal (June 2006): Anas went undercover as a menial worker at Eurofood, a biscuit and confectionary factory in Ghana. Eurofood was using expired and maggot-infested flour to produce biscuits for public consumption in Ghana and other parts of Africa.
These are a few of the works of Anas in straightening the society in which we live. His immediate exposé before the football scandal featured 22 lower court judges and 12 high court judges taking yams and goats as bribes to compromise court cases – this was a result of over two years going undercover to expose the rot in the judicial system. The result of this undertaken saw the then President of Ghana, John Mahama relieve the offenders of their duties.
Nevertheless, there are some people who are disgruntled about the manner in which Anas discharges his duties. Some people feel he entraps his targets by intentionally setting them up to fall short on the law and also the fact that it appears he has been given too much freedom and room to operate without any significant level of accountability to anyone.
The slogan “who watches the watchman” is now trending in Ghana – people are asking who will be able to set Anas straight should he deviate from the very crusade he is championing. This came about because of the controversies surrounding his recent investigative piece. According to Honorable Kennedy Agyapong, a Member of Ghana’s Parliament, he has startling evidence to suggest that the respected investigative journalist is not the perfect creature he would like us to believe.
Kennedy Agyapong released his video evidence against Anas in his own secret recordings of how Anas operates undercover. In the video, a man purported to be Anas admitted that he had taken $100,000 bribe from one Baba Tunde to get a criminal case botched in court. The man is heard telling a woman identified as the public prosecutor handling the case that $5000 had been transferred into her account for her to skew the evidence in favor of those who paid him.
This brings to mind the current state of Africa and how we address the challenges that we face. Problems are bound to arise when we heavily rely on one individual or entity to solve problems that we should all rally together to tackle. Without strong institutions and sustainable processes put in place to curb societal menace, we would always be pointing fingers at one other rather than work together to create the future we want to see.
Corruption has been Africa’s biggest nemesis and the main adversary that has crippled its development. Anas gives us a glimpse that corruption can be fought and overcome. This should be the bigger picture we should all see and work towards achieving, not tearing one another down and ending up worse off than when we started.