[ 2017-03-20 ]
Gender Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba with victim, Evelyn Boakye
Live from the Woods: What if 'one-sided' Marwako assault account is entirely not
If ever there’s any event that has affirmed the
notion that the Ghanaian student is not taught how
to ask questions in the classroom, it’s the
Marwako assault incident.
It appears everybody, including government
officials, is running commentary on the issue, but
nobody seems to be talking.
It reminds me of what celebrated British
journalist, Charles Prestwich Scott, said in a
1921 essay marking the Manchester Guardian’s
centenary, a newspaper he had served nearly 50
years as editor. He told a British audience that,
“comment is free, but facts are sacred.”
He added that "The voice of opponents no less than
that of friends has a right to be heard." The
message was delivered to a 1921 audience, but I
believe it applies to us especially on the issue
What are the facts about the Marwako assault case?
From the purview of a media practitioner, I'll say
the information out in the public appears
It favours the victim, Evelyn Boakye. And rightly
so because she has a good case.
Any form of assault is bad.
But I'm not given to trusting things especially
when I don’t have all the facts before me.
Call me a non-conformist and you won't be farther
from the truth.
Fact is I love to pursue the devil in the details
of events and things.
I acknowledge sometimes I overdo this to the
chagrin of my significant others, but it serves me
well. We all need the facts especially when we
were not there when it all happened.
A friend sent me a link to an online petition
about the Marwako incident to sign. This was a day
before the matter escalated. Seconds after I
received the message through WhatsApp, I
immediately asked for evidence. His response was
“Hmm.” He was displeased with my reaction. It was
as though he had wanted me to “obey before
So what are the facts?
The facts according to the victim:
Evelyn Boakye who is a cook at the Abelemkpe
branch of Marwako Fast Food has made public an
ordeal she went through in the hands of her branch
Manager. She has repeatedly said her face was
dipped into a hot pepper sauce by her boss, Jihad
Chaaban, for being lethargic.
The February 26 incident, according to her,
happened when she was working in the kitchen. A
displeased Chaaban then stomped the kitchen and
‘mercilessly’ assaulted her. She was detained for
close to 10 minutes after the encounter, she told
the media. She also added she was bribed with a
GHC50 note (she has been carrying around as one of
her exhibits) to buy her silence.
The facts according to the accused:
Chaaban has admitted he manhandled Ms Boakye, a
development he has apologised for. I think it is
not enough. He must be punished for whatever he
But he has insisted he didn’t thrust Ms Boakye’s
face into a pepper sauce contrary to the victim's
account. There was a splash as he shook her, he
had said. He also said they made frantic efforts
to get her medical attention, but they were
He then gave her GHC50 to facilitate her
transportation home. Chaaban said he didn’t detain
her as she claimed. Disparity in accounts about
incidents is almost normal which explain why
there's the need for an expert to establish the
The facts according to Ghanaians:
Ms Boakye is right; Chaaban is a bully and must be
crucified to serve as a lesson to other
foreigners, Ghanaians have called out. With the
collaboration of the media, schemers behind the
lady have succeeded to push to the backburner
Chaaban’s account of the event. They are riding on
the pent up anger of Ghanaians about maltreatment
of citizens by foreigners to achieve their selfish
Let’s think through these questions:
Could it be that her face was dipped into the
blender since the pepper was then inside it? Where
was she detained after the altercation as she
claimed? Who’re those pushing the lady to adopt
canny postures to make her story believable? Why
is Ghana’s media unintelligent to ask the tough
From my last count, Ms Boakye has volunteered
three different accounts about the incident? Her
account of development to Daily Graphic, Citi FM
and the police varies to the point of being
A simple, unscientific analysis of the claim that
her face was dipped into the pepper shows it might
not be entirely true if the pepper was in the
This might perhaps confirmed Chaaban’s account and
that of some of the workers that there was a
splash of the pepper in the course of the scuffle.
But we don’t want to hear this.
I know a story like this is alluring and it’s
enough to delay the circulation of blood through
your artilleries just for anger to well up inside
of you. And when the blood starts to flow, you
have no difficulty cursing the attacker for damage
caused ‘our own.’
I am aware foreign bosses have the knack for
maltreating Ghanaians who are working for them, a
worrying development. But we can’t vent our
pent-up anger on Mr Chaaban because of his
Lebanese extraction. I don't think Ghanaians are
calling for justice to be served the victim
because she is a native, but because what she went
through is bad.
But what happened to being fair to the facts
especially when we’re dealing with two parties to
an issue? What happened to the legal principle,
holding that a defendant is innocent until proven
Is someone benefiting from this story?
It's difficult to rule out the contribution of a
guiding hand in this event. The posture of Ms
Boakye and the near cosmetic way she appears on
media platforms make it difficult to believe she's
not being coached. I am convinced someone is
benefiting from this story that has exposed the
mediocre manner media do their work. It appears
whoever is behind the issue has succeeded in
applying a tranquiliser to the minds of Ghanaians.
There are so many unanswered questions but thank
God the case is before the court.
I am drawn to pity for Gender Minister, Afisa
Otiko Djaba, because of the way she has conducted
herself since the incident became public. The only
fact she ever wants to know is the account of Ms
Boakye because it helps to position her as a
strong Minister. It’s pathetic how people lose
their dignity by taking the low road.
All forms of assault is a threat to justice:
I am against all forms of assault, which I know
some Ghanaian bosses are guilty of. Mr Chaaban
might have manhandled the victim, but let us be
fair to the facts. If he deserves to be punished,
I am for it. But let the truth reign. Let us not
act as though we have an agenda to prosecute.
Ghana is neither rich nor has a strong economy,
but we have dignity which makes us respect the
rule of law, rather than the rule of men. This is
not a Kangaroo or banana republic. This is the
Republic of Ghana-born on March 6, 1957, after
blood, sweat, and tears of our ancestors were
sacrificed to bequeath to us the liberty we are
enjoying today, however, faulty it might be.
Let’s do what’s befitting and insist on fairness
in whatever we do, remembering the measuring rod
is always available.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are the Author's
and do not necessarily reflect the position of
management of Multimedia or Myjoyonline.com. The
writer Austin Brakopowers works as a journalist at
Joy99.7FM and could be reached via
Brakomen@outlook.com or www.brakopowers.com
Source - Myjoyonline.com
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