Renowned journalist with Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Napoleon Ato Kittoe has stated that former President Rawlings is media friendly despite his days as military jantra.
This is contrary to many who considered the man affectionately called JJ as anti-media.
In a write-up, the ace journalist who worked closely with Mr. Rawlings as as member of the presidential press corps during Mr. Rawlings’ reign revealed how close the former Head of State was to the media.
According to Napoleon Ato Kittoe, Rawlings believed in the power of the media as such capitalised on it to reach the masses to the extent that he personally involved with the work of journalists.
‘’His military background belied his closeness with media. Perhaps after the military, the media were his main instrument of governance and reaching out to the masses. So close was he with media that he got personally involved with the work of TV crews. For instance, he knew when the camera was recording or otherwise, often pointing at the red light on camera.’’ He stated.
He also revealed how former president Rawlings as a president was passionate about journalists building their capacities as such facilitated further studies for few hardworking press men and women at the presidency then.
‘’He even lifted a group of journalists at his presidency to Bulgaria for further studies.’’ He wrote
Read the full write-up below
NAPOLEON ATO KITTOE writes
President Rawlings remains one of the finest leaders of Ghana, particularly in the 4th Republic. His political constituency was essentially all persons. He spoke with everybody, even the person considered the least. He sought information from everybody as he wanted to know how people felt about govt. His military background belied his closeness with media. Perhaps after the military, the media were his main instrument of governance and reaching out to the masses. So close was he with media that he got personally involved with the work of TV crews. For instance, he knew when the camera was recording or otherwise, often pointing at the red light on camera. Some cameramen were his personal friends whom he sought personal issues advice from. He is an eagles eye. He commented on shoes worn by attendees and cracked jokes with them. At times, he supplied shoes to them. He even lifted a group of journalists at his presidency to Bulgaria for further studies. After the broadcast of each story, Rawlings observations followed to inform changes or a re-edit. A new reporter who joins the castle squad, Rawlings could notice and ask about it. He was a centripetal force, magnetic and wielded superior charisma. His name evoked discipline because he cracked the whip. Once upon a time, after a tour with Ghana Water boss, he relieved the MD of his post. He didn’t bother whether Mr Dovlo was his tribesman. He is bold. When ex Nigerian leader Alhaji Shehu Shegari called on him, a visit occasioned by death of ex Ghana leader Dr Hilla Limann, the former said things which evoked a strong response with Rawlings looking into the eyes of his guest and telling him how he nearly brought his early years to wreck, following Nigeria’s decision to evict Ghanaian immigrants. Those were the days of castle workers party at each Xmas in which Rawlings chummed up with his staff, high or low. He campaigned vigorously for his Veep in year 2000 to replace him. He sometimes piloted aircrafts carrying delegations. He knows how to control emotions and induce dignified atmosphere. After getting upset with a bodyguard on one air trip, he changed his mood as soon as the plane touched down at tamale, and waved at crowds. Rawlings dug through the gutters at nima to remove filth. The first of its kind by a leader. That was February 1998. The next day, he was in suit on his way to the world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland. The enigmatic personality is a melange personified. On his arrival back home from a trip to Cuba, places in Accra that were enduring blackouts, immediately had their lights restored following a news report by a GTV reporter commenting on happenings during his absence. In that absence, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela who was in thick of affairs brokering peace for Burundi, touched down in Accra to invite Rawlings to take part in that process. That singular offer in 1999 pointed at the world’s respect for his qualities. He is moral. He criticised the feminine gender over indecent exposure during beauty pageants and went on to backlash sponsors for not investing their monies in what he called national priorities. He admires Dr Kwame Nkrumah but had issues with his rule, especially in terms of what he considered profligacy by some of his appointees. One of the moments that revealed this was when he gave an election lecture to officers in the security services at Tamale Kamina Barracks in year 2000.