Investigative journalism of a big magnitude that results in huge consequences for the perpetrators carries an enormous amount of risk. There is such a big danger on the lives of investigative journalists and as the death of Ahmed Hussein has shown, this is true.
Ahmed Hussein, the journalist who exposed the massive football corruption in Ghana was shot dead in Accra. Hussein exposed the rot in Ghanaian football as part of the team led by Anas Aremayaw Anas, an award-winning journalist. The investigation resulted in the purge of the top bosses implicated in the corruption scandal.
The head of Ghana's Football Association resigned, and dozens of football referees and officials in several countries were also banned following the investigation.
Hussein was shot in the neck in the neck and chest by unidentified assailants when he was on his way home on Wednesday.
The director of the criminal investigations department, Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, said: “Our men are on the ground currently gathering information. Everyone connected to this murder will be invited for questioning.”
Anas reacted by posting a tweet that read, “Sad news, but we shall not be silenced. Rest in peace, Ahmed.”
There had been warning signs for Hussein. He knew he was facing real danger. A Ghanaian politician, Kennedy Agyapong, showed his photograph on a private television channel and Hussein immediately filed a complaint to the police. Agyapong promised payment for supporters who took retribution against Husein. “That boy that’s very dangerous, he lives here in Madina. If he comes here, beat him,” he said, pointing to Husein’s image.
Now that Hussein is dead, Agyapong is strongly denying any connection to the murder of the journalist. Agyapong said: “He has never offended me. So, they should go and investigate those he has offended not me. He and his boss [Anas] have offended so many people in this country. The evil they have been doing will follow them.”
The murder of journalists is a message to silence the media. It is meant to instill a permanent sense of insecurity in the media so that they will not carry out their work profienntly in the interests of the public.
The killing was condemned by the national media regulator in Ghana. It will be in the national interest to arrest the perpetrators of this crime,” its chairman, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo, said in a statement.
Kwesi Nyantakyi, the former Ghana FA head, was banned by FIFA for life and he was fined nearly $500,000 in October 2018.
He was seen on camera allegedly accepting bribes. He was accused of requesting $11m to secure government contracts. Eight referees and assistant referees were also banned for life and 53 officials were subject to 10-year bans. Fourteen officials were exonerated.
The investigation was a huge blow to Ghanaian football. It was even a huge indictment for Ghana's democracy, and to the pride that football generates in Ghana, a country where the sport is hugely popular.
Header image credit: BBC