Happy golden birthday, Chairman General, Touch bearer of development journalism

Nana Sifa Twum

When I arrived in the UK in the early 2000, for further studies, I took huge advantage of the absence of the Ghanaian media, journalists for that matter, who reported on Ghana from the UK.  I took it upon myself to work hard to bridge the identified gap by covering more Ghanaian activities for consumption back home.

So, I was everywhere covering every important story for the people of Ghana. Those days the social media was not that vibrant and also well patronized as it is today. So, the stories I covered were so hot and breaking for the people back home.

My stories were carried by almost all the major radio, TV, and the print media. The then lead Ghanaian news portal, Ghanaweb extensively used most of my stories. The Chronicle, The Today, The Daily Guide, The Daily Graphic, TV3, Radio Ghana, and a host of radio stations especially Peace FM and Adom FM were some of the beneficiaries of my stories. I ‘freelanced’ for all these virtually for free and later I was signed on my The Daily Graphic becoming the longest Foreign Correspondent for the paper.

I remember covering President J. A. Kufour when he announced the awarding of 547-million-dollar poverty fighting grant to Ghana in London on his way back to Ghana from the USA where he had signed for the pack.

I covered from the beginning to the end, the arrest, detention, trial, discharge and release of the ace highlife star, Daasebre Dwamena of blessed memory on drug charges. I also covered the state visit of President J.A. Kufour to the UK as well as the first ever trade and investment fair on Ghana in London and Atlanta. These are just but a few.

One of the stories I relayed exclusively to the Peace FM morning show, Kokrokoo, in June 2006 was about an address by former President J.J. Rawlings’ to a cross section of supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the South Bank University in London during which he  accused the then sitting President, J.A. Kufuor’s  government of recruiting an ethnic army to protect its interest and unduly harassing people. This was a very big story and every station wanted me to talk about it.

After some time, I was acknowledged as the Ghanaian journalist who has reported about Ghana from outside Ghana than any other. A real job satisfaction.

I am cataloging all these to make a point that links were formed, networking became vibrate and intimacy well established within the journalism arena. There was huge connection back home as well. One of these who became a close colleague and ‘brother’ is Kwami Sefa Kayi, the host of Peace FM morning show, Kokrokoo. We are all products of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and share other interests too. We indeed developed love and respect for each other and for me especially, I love his, sincerity, honesty, selflessness and professionalism. We have been like that till date.

Kwami has turned 50 years on this planet earth and has duly celebrated his golden jubilee last Saturday (under COVID-19 though) More than half of his years on this earth, have been spent in journalism, print and broadcasting, chiefly. P&P, GBC, Radio Gold and Peace FM are those readily come to mind.

A 50th birthday appears as one of the most important birthdays of a person’s life. It is a milestone and a point of accomplishment, so they say. A 50-year-old person like Kwami therefore must be well celebrated, moreover, in the case of the well acclaimed Chairman General, he has to be even acknowledged beyond measure to mark the beginning of the latter years of his life which by all indications promise to be highly fruitful, God willing.

This is because he has made a huge mark in the industry, not only because he is gifted in knowledge, language and voice (not for singing though), but importantly he works according to the dictates and the ethics of his chosen profession. He once said to me, that while almost all his peers were choosing other seemingly elite professions, he decided to go in for journalism not for any other reason than the cogent one of helping to build a well-developed nation.

Surely, today he is on the global list of veteran journalists. In Ghana, mention could be made of some seasoned journalists and their enormous contribution to the development of society such as Seth Kwame Boateng, Afia Pokua, Ibrahim Kwarteng, Rebecca Ekpe among many others. Arguably by my estimation, Kwami has also made it far and wide to the very top, by way of contribution to national development and unity. 

He is one Broadcast Journalists who has won many broadcasting awards in the country than any other as per award records in the country. This includes the topnotch award, The GJA Best Journalist of the year. His awards span from around Europe through to the Americas and here in Ghana. This honor and the accompanying fame have been used to ensure the development of the country.

To mark his 50th birthday, the ace broadcaster adopted an entire block at the Asiakwa SOS Children’s Village in the Eastern Region and named it after his mother. He also donated GHC20,000 to the orphanage.

The Peace FM Morning Show (Kokrokoo) host was the only Ghanaian among the world’s seven billion personalities who were selected to constitute the 8,000-member Olympic relay team event which was held in the United Kingdom in 2012 as a prelude to the 2012 London Olympics.

Currently he is the longest Morning Show host in Africa and arguably one Journalist on the continent of African who has used the profession and influence to whip up the enthusiasm and fortitude of citizens towards national development so admirably.

The idea of “development journalism” has been well demonstrated by this renowned journalist of our land and time. Not only has he covered development issues but importantly he has also been covered as one who has been really in the centre of the development arena.

As per my journalism notes, “development journalism in some contexts refers to the communication process that is used to serve the development goals of a nation.” I also know that the foremost value of news, journalism for that matter, “is as a utility to empower the informed to do much more things for the society. it is also to help provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.”

The participatory paradigm of development journalism has been key in the work of the host of Peace FM’s Kokrokoo. For Kwami Sefa Kayi, the role of development journalism has become important and relevant in our society now than ever.

According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) about 140,000 premature babies are born in Ghana every year 8 thousand of these die before reaching a month old due to inadequate medical equipment such as incubators at health facilities.

This apparently initiated the dreaming and formation of the Kokrokoo Charities. A very clear evidence of development journalism. “Kokrokoo Charities Foundation is a social intervention initiative set up by Kwami Sefa Kayi, aimed at addressing some health challenges of this country.

The Charity’s focus is to procure 100 incubators at an estimated cost of 10 Thousand Dollars each for health facilities across the country. Project 100 as it is known is aimed at giving mothers hope and keeping children alive. The Chairman General is using the Kokrokoo Morning Show as a vehicle to generate considerable empathy and funds from the general public and corporate world towards the search for innovative solutions to the myriad of social problems faced by Ghanaians

On this 50th birthday anniversary he needs to be well acknowledged How great his God is and how faithful He has been to him.

People have prayed that his admirable humility and the spirit of selfishness be increased and his service to God and country be highly manifested.

For me, his preferred prayer which is said at the end of his show is what I return to him. “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord makes His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lifts up His countenance upon you and give you peace” not only at Peace FM but all his life time

 HAPPY GOLDEN BIRTHDAY, CHAIRMAN GENERAL

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