Award winning Ghanaian Investigative Journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni has being trending on social media since Tuesday evening after trying to criticise the ongoing Africa CEO forum in Geneva, Switzerland.
While the conference was ongoing on Tuesday, March 21, Manasseh took to Facebook to indirectly ‘rubbish’ the conference saying the cash being spent on the event is wrong.
Manasseh wrote: “Why is the Africa CEOs conference being held in Europe? The over 1000 participants will book hotels, eat, shop and move around. So much cash will be invested in Geneva. Why not an African city? Is this rocket science or common sense? Or something I am missing?”
His statement attracted a lot of comments but the particular comment that went viral came from a Facebook user called Nana Kwame.
Nana clapped back saying: “Why did you choose to do your wedding at Aburi gardens and not your local village, where Otabil and others could see the deprived nature of your people. And use your wedding to inspire the up and coming youth to aim high like u. Probably that local plantain sellers goods could be purchased by the city dwellers. Is this rocket science or common sense or something I am missing??”
Manasseh Azure Awuni returned with a lengthy reply to Nana Kwame’s comment:
“AN ILLOGICAL COMMENT THAT WENT VIRAL
I put up a post yesterday questioning why the Africa CEOs conference was being held in Geneva and not in an African city. I argued that if the conference was held in an African city, the hotel accommodation, food, shopping and other expenses of the CEOs and guests such as our President would be invested in that country and not in Europe. Of all the comments, the lamest argument was the one that went viral, perhaps because it was a personal attack on me and those sharing it gleefully did not take the time to think and detect how illogical and senseless it is.
One Nana Kwame, who posted the comment, asked why I did not take my wedding to my village but decided to have in Aburi. He added that my wedding could have inspired the children in the village to rise and that the plantain seller could have got money. This is what some people find as a classic response.
The nearest Nana Kwame came to making sense was the last bit about the plantain seller making money, but that is flawed.
What he forgot is that Aburi Garden is not in Europe or Dubai. Aburi is in Ghana so, unlike the Africa CEOs, my expenditure on that day was an investment in Ghana in Ghana. So that point is lame. It does not make sense to suggest that if you live in any part of the country and you make money, you must go to your village to spend it. Coincidentally, the CEO of Jandel Limited is from Bongo. Jandel did my decor and she remits to her family there. I invested in Ghana, and it was the same reason I wore something that was sewn here in Ghana for my wedding. It would have been different if I lived and worked in Bongo but decided to come down to Aburi for me wedding. He would have had a point.
About 95% of my wedding guests lived in Accra (where my wife and I live) and Takoradi (where my wife’s family members are) so it saves cost from transporting everybody to a journey of nearly 20 hours to Bongo. It would be like the Africa CEOs and our President who will have to travel long distances to Europe to attend this conference. This would have made sense if Nana Kwame was able to tell us that majority of Africa’s CEOs live and work in Europe so it is easier to meet in Europe than in Africa.
I know travelling to some African countries has challenges, but business is about finding solutions to challenges at a profit. For how long shall we continue to shun our continent and taking African events somewhere because there are challenges? Would Asian or European CEOs come to Africa or go to another continent to hold their conferences? And is there anything wrong with questioning such a move?
He also talked about inspiring the children in my village. After my wedding, I went for the honeymoon in the North and I had the opportunity to visit Bongo. I went to Bongo Senior High School to donate copies of my book, Voice of Conscience, to the school’s library. If my career and life are not able to inspire the youth of my hometown, then a two-hour wedding, which was strictly by invitation, would not.
It has become normal to have comments that leave the issues and attack my person and family. But before you gleefully share and shout, “Double standards!” take the time to think a little through what you have. It would help to detect what makes sense and what does not.
My response is not to Nana Kwame, but to those who see his response as a classic punch. Holding my wedding in Aburi (15 minutes from Accra where I live and work) and holding Africa CEOs conference in Europe are not the same issues.
Manasseh Azure Awuni is an award-winning Ghanaian Investivative Journalist and Writer currently working with Joy 99.7FM in Accra, Ghana under the Multimedia Group.
Manasseh is a recipient of many awards in recognition of his outstanding performance in journalism. In 2010, the Ghana Journalists Association adjudged him the Most Promising Young Journalist of the Year. He was again adjudged the overall Best Journalist of the Year 2011, just a year after leaving journalism school. He is also a recipient of the 2012 National Youth Achievers Award for Media Excellence and overall winner of Ideas Award by Legacy and Legacy in the same year. In 2013, he was adjudged the Best Anti-Corruption Reporter in Ghana.