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Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 18:22 GMT
Ghana's media feels election heat
President Jerry John Rawlings
President Rawlings: On his knees begging for votes
By Kwaku Sakyi-Addo in Accra

Security officials are investigating a TV show presenter on a provisional charge of "insulting behaviour" on national television following his comments on President Jerry Rawling's rather unusual method of canvassing for votes.

They are also investigating a journalist whose good luck in getting information from the headquarters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) seems to have been his bad luck as well.

TV presenter Felix Odartey-Wellington was arrested on Monday by operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), after he criticised President Rawlings for physically going on his knees at a political rally at the weekend to "beg" for votes for a parliamentary candidate in next month's elections.

Mr Odartey-Wellington, who is also a lawyer, said during a newspaper review segment of a breakfast programme on national television that President Rawlings' unusual behaviour was "fraudulent", and that he was trying to pull wool over the people's eyes.

He said the president had failed to deliver on his promises to the Ghanaian people, but he tried to make them believe otherwise through what he described as "political gimmick".

Orphans

Mr Odartey-Wellington who is 29, said Ghanaians had shown Rawlings more sympathy during last week's motorway accident involving the president than he had shown for, in his words "the orphans he had created".

Vice President and NDC presidential candidate John Atta Mills
President Rawling's man: John Atta Mills
Mr Odartey-Wellington's father, Major-General Neville Odartey-Wellington, was killed by soldiers loyal to Jerry Rawlings on 4 June 1979, in the first of the president's two military coups.

Mr Odartey-Wellington was released last night on a bail of 50m cedis, equivalent to about $7,225.

Chronicle

The editor, whose source of information is such a bother to the authorities, is Kofi Coomson, editor-in-chief of the Ghanaian Chronicle.

He was held for nearly 12 hours on Monday for interrogation by BNI officials for receiving computer diskettes from an informant with links to the headquaters of the NDC.

He was bailed for 5m cedis on a provisional charge of dishonestly receiving.

Mr Coomson admits receiving the diskettes, but says it was in the public interest to publish.the information on them, which include proposals for election fraud.

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See also:

29 Sep 00 | Africa
Ghana's TV election head-to-head
05 Sep 00 | Scotland
Anger over invite to Ghana's leader
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