- Paper owes Graphic 168,000, staff owed salaries too
- 5,000 copies are printed in two publications per week
- Graphic has not threatened to stop printing for Kotoko
- Karbral Blay-Amihere is the director of Kotoko’s publication board
- Board meets over new direction June 24
Kumasi Asante Kotoko’s official mouthpiece, the ‘Kotoko Express’ has since the 7th of June 2016, suspended operations due to dire challenges facing the institution.
The paper has over the years given supporters the benefit of knowing what is happening within the club and offers them an opportunity to get to know players of the club.
The Graphic Communications Group has been printing for the porcupine warriors over the years but the paper has debt swelled up to the tune of 168,000 cedis which has been outstanding for two years while staff are owed salaries for several months.
The Kotoko Express is a biweekly paper. This year (2016) alone, 43 publications have been made so far amounting to GHc13,000 which has not been paid also.
With the halt in publications, Footy-Ghana’s Afia Acheampong caught up with the Managing Editor for the newspaper, Mr. Jerome Otchere, to find out what led to this decision and when it will resume operations.
“Well, we’ve been forced to shut down because of operational difficulties, operational difficulties arising out of a few issues which we’ve had with our printers and our staff. It’s not that our printers have threatened not to print again, no!. In fact, they have been very kind to us but we owe them and we’re looking at what can be done to pay them”.
“I’m of the opinion that, in as much as they’ve been kind printing for us as we owe them, we have to be serious enough as an organization, sit down and look at why we’ve not been able to meet their expectations as to the money we owe them and also what we can do as an editorial team to get the paper to where it used to be,” he added.
According to Mr. Otchere, staff of the newspaper are owed necessitating a period of reflection on their operations.
“As we speak, even staff motivation is low because salaries are owed and when we have situations like that, you do not keep on encouraging people that things will be well, you have to put all tools down and reflect or rethink maybe certain things that are not going on well and see how best you can come back.”
Renowned journalist and former Chairman of the National Media Commission, Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, a board member, is the director of the Kotoko Express publication board. The publication board is in charge of managing the affairs of the paper but has been ineffective.
“As you know, the Kotoko Express is under a publications board which is supposed to manage affairs of the paper and to a large extent, that board has not been functional and some of us were asked to ensure that the paper keeps running and we think that we’ve done it to a point where we need bigger hands or let’s say firm hands. Our small hands cannot take the paper to the level we want to see it, not that we are not competent, no!, we think we can do the job but then we need more support,” he lamented.
“As professionals, we’ve put together what we see as the problem and what we think can be the solution to the managers of the club in this case the board. I mean Lawyer Adu Gyamfi’s board, they’ve accepted it. I spoke with Lawyer Adu Gyamfi myself in his office and he accepted that yes things have not gone the way they expected and they being the directors of the club will look at the problems and find immediate solutions to it. So we are looking forward to their meeting on June 24. After June 24, I’m [sure] the paper should be able to come out.”
Supporters and well-wishers of the Kumasi-based club will have to hold on till 24th June 2016 for a new publication of the Kotoko Express.