A known activist of the governing New Patriotic Party [NPP], Hajia Fati, has explained that she mistook the journalist she is said to have assaulted, for a member of the camp of the party’s suspended Second Vice Chairman, Sammy Crabbe.
She however added that, the assault victim, who has now been identified as a reporter with Adom FM of the Multimedia Group, Ohemaa Sakyiwaa Ahwenepa, didn’t appear as a journalist, and that she looked like “one of our women in the market.”
The reported assault occurred after Hajia Fati forcefully prevented Sammy Crabbe, who is still suspended from the party, from picking up forms to contest for the NPP’s chairmanship position.
The reporter said she had attempted taking a photo when she was slapped.
Answering questions on the incident, Hajia Fati explained that she thought the reporter was Sammy Crabbe’s underling who had been sent to take pictures for ulterior motives, adding that she looked more like an “onion seller” than a reporter.
“The woman standing there did not look like a reporter. I thought it was one of Sammy Crabbe’s women who wanted to take pictures of me. The lady did not look like a reporter. She resembled an onion seller. She did not look like a reporter at all,” she said.
Many have not taken her onion seller description lightly, saying she had offended women in that trade by seeking to justify the act.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director for Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, has condemned the attack, describing it as an unfortunate incident.
“Indeed it is an unfortunate incident. Something that should not be happening not just only days after we celebrated world press freedom day in Ghana, but also within the same month when Ghana has been ranked as doing well in terms of press freedom. “
He observed that the NPP headquarters is gradually becoming an “unsafe ground” for journalists in the country particularly because the “current leadership of the party seem to condone attacks on journalists that happen at the party headquarters.”
‘Suit over attack’
Suit over attack’
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Affail Monney, has also condemned the attack, adding that the GJA is considering taking legal action against Hajia Fati.
“This is not the first time Hajia Fati has reportedly attacked a journalist. The latest of her attacks until this present case occurred earlier this year when she was heard in a recorded telephone conversation issuing death threats against a TV3 journalist, Kwakye Afreh Nuamah.
“What is more worrying is that some of her attacks on journalists including Adom FM reporter’s case were launched at the NPP headquarters, giving the impression even if erroneously, that the ruling party endorses her violence on us. The GJA is considering various options including legal action to end such impunity against journalists which we consider to be a violent attack on press freedom,” Mr. Monney said.
Meanwhile, the Multimedia Group says it has filed a complaint at the Nima Police station and will go ahead with a civil suit against Hajia Fati.
At the same NPP Headquarters, some journalists from Citi FM and Ghanaweb, were assaulted by some security guards when they tried to cover a party event that was taking place there in December 2017.
There was no arrest or action by the police or from the governing party, despite pressure from the Media Foundation for West Africa [MFWA].