The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, has sued the Militant publications Limited, thus the Insight Newspaper, for publishing a defamatory story, which according to him is untrue against him.
According to a writ of summons, the Minister (plaintiff) wishes that the Accra High Court places a GHC 10, 000, 000, 00 punitive damages on the Insight Newspaper over what he termed as a false and defamatory publication.
The said publication was noted to portray that the Ashanti Regional Minister and an astute member of the New Patriotic Party is a tribalistic and a divisive person who has no respect or regard not only for the people of the North but all other tribes in Ghana apart from Ashantis.
The action of the plaintiff, follows a publication (Vol.27 No 870) by The Insight newspaper dated 28 August ,2020 , about Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah under the caption: “Alleged Ethnocentric Comments: CSOs call for dismissal of Minister.”
To Mr. Osei-Mensah, the above mentioned publication has reduced his image and dented his reputation as a well meaning Ghanaian.
Featuring in the suit are the acting editor of The Insight newspaper (defendant 2) Benjamin Akuffo and Strategic Thinkers Network, Nii Tettey Tetteh (defendant 3).
Again, he emphasised that most radio stations across the country reviewed the publication and “unless the defendants are restrained by an order of this Honourable court, they would not cease further malicious and wicked publication about him. The Insight Newspaper is one popular Newspaper in Ghana and it is sold across the length and breadth of Ghana and it has an online portal too”.
The plaintiff has appealed to the court for perpetual injunction restraining the defendants either by themselves or their agents, assigns, privies etc. from further publishing any such disparaging words about the plaintiff .
Quoting a section of The Insight publication to the court , the plaintiff asserted in his writ of summons : “We have listened to the Ethnocentric comments made by the Honourable Minister for Ashanti, Hon Simon Osei Mensah against people from the North and find condemnable and completely unacceptable. The Honourable Minister for Ashanti region indicated that, and with greatest respect, that Northerners are bereft of sense and added that Northern destroy everything they touch. Hon Simon Osei Mensah even run down the influence of Northerners with regards to decision making by questioning the percentage of total votes of Northerners in Ghana in terms of Public election as well as Public referenda……..”
“As a Greek school of thought opines , tribesmen are people that look everything from the point of view of their tribes. They are the people that believe in only their tribe and see the rest of the other tribes as lesser citizens. Could the Greeks be right about the description of tribesmen since the cap fits perfectly on Hon Simon Osei Mensah per his Ethnocentric cum tribalistic comments on the Northerners people of Ghana?”
He has, subsequently ask the court for an order to compel the defendants to retract the said words/publication stated in relief (a) supra with the same prominence they gave that story in “The Insight” Newspaper and website and to further write an unqualified letter of apology to the plaintiff.
According to Mr. Osei-Mensah, the publication by the defendants further drew analogy between the purpoted ethnocentric comments made by the plaintiff and the genocide which took place in Central Africa state of Rwanda between the Tutsis and the Hutus.
He adds that the publication incites public hatred and animosity against him and the defendants deliberately spiced up their false story with the purported Ethnocentric comments also purportedly made by Honourable Osafo Marfo and Honourable William Agyapong Quaitoo and even went to the extent on calling the President to sack the plaintiff .
He told the court: “Defendant one and two are vicariously liable for the unlawful publication of the defamatory words complained of in paragraph 13 supra.
The plaintiff added that in the aforementioned publication, the third defendant accused the plaintiff of making ethnocentric comments about the people of the Northern descent.
Read the lips of the plaintiff filed in his writ of summons filed to the Accra High Court: “The seriousness of the publication is that although it is completely false, it has the potential and propensity to derail the peace, security and national cohesion which the country has hitherto enjoyed and such allusions are contained in the said publication .