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FALSE! Ghanaian lawmaker did not die because of political ambition

Claim: An X user posted a flyer that claimed the wife of the late Ghanaian lawmaker, John Kumah, has said her husband was “killed” because of his Vice Presidential ambition.

Verdict: FALSE. DUBAWA’s checks showed no evidence of Lilian Kumah commenting that her husband was killed because of his political ambition. Instead, Mrs Kumah, on record, disclosed to Accra-based Asaase Radio that her husband died of complications from a disease he had been battling for some time now. 

Full Text

A Ghanaian Member of Parliament (MP) who doubled as the Deputy Minister of Finance, John Kumah, died on March 7, 2024, after a short illness. 

Hours after his death, there were speculations in the country that the late economist died because he was “politically ambitious.”

A journalist with Ghana’s Onua TV, Captain Smart, claimed the legislator was poisoned a few weeks earlier at a party engagement in Kumasi in the Ashanti region of the country.

“It was planned,” the journalist said in a mixed English and Twi dialect, starting from minutes 0.01 to 1.47 of the video posted on YouTube. 

The police in Ghana have since invited the journalists to assist them with their investigations into the cause of death of the Deputy Minister.

However, in another claim making the rounds on social media, the wife of the late economist was reported to have said her husband was “killed” because he was selected as the running mate of the Presidential candidate of Ghana’s governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mahamudu Bawumia.

“John Kumah was killed because he was chosen by H.E. Bawumia [to] become his running mate over his colleague, ‘big MP,’ in the Ashanti Region,” a flyer reported the Prophetess as saying. 

Screenshot of the flyer.

The quote, purportedly taken from an interview the wife granted to Accra-based Asaase Radio days after the husband’s death, has the logo of the online news portal, Daily Insight GH.

Data available on X (formerly Twitter) showed the post made on March 12, 2024, had been viewed 27,432 times, with 88 comments, 33 reposts, and 246 likes.

DUBAWA decided to probe the claim as part of its campaign against misinformation and disinformation in the West African country.

Verification

Checks by DUBAWA showed Mrs Kumah did not say anywhere that her husband was “killed” because of his political ambition. However, Mrs Kumah is on record to have disclosed to Accra-based Asaase Radio that her husband died of complications from a disease he had been battling for some time now. However, she did not reveal the nature of the disease.

“No doctor has disclosed to me that my husband ingested poison. All that I know is that he was diagnosed with a particular disease,” Mrs Kumah said in the Twi dialect in a video posted on YouTube.

There is nowhere in the entire interview that the Prophetess said her husband was “killed” because he had been tipped for the running mate position in the country’s ruling party.

Considering the interest generated by the death of the deputy minister, a claim of this kind purportedly made by the wife would have attracted the attention of reputable media organisations in Ghana. However, when DUBAWA conducted a Google keyword search, no story was published on the assertion. 

DUBAWA later visited the social media handles of Daily Insight GH, the online news portal from which the flyer purportedly originated, and found no post related to the claim. When contacted by DUBAWA about the flyer, the media organisation said they did not design it and described it as “fake.” 

Conclusion

It is, therefore, not true that Mrs Kumah said her husband was “killed” because he had been selected to pair with the current Vice President of Ghana, Dr Bawumia, ahead of the country’s Presidential poll in December 2024.

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