Before a group of disgruntled youth, who identified themselves as members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), stormed the premises of Despite Media and disrupted the live broadcast of UTV’s ‘United Showbiz’ on October 7, 2023, Ernest Owusu Bempah, the Deputy Communication Director for the party and Head of Corporate Communications at the Ghana National Gas Company had made a statement that if the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) were in power, they would have invaded the studio to express their dissatisfaction with the content of the entertainment show.
Owusu Bempah who was visibly angry fumed that the panel and host of the show “are being paid” to make the NPP government unpopular before describing the United Showbiz platform as “useless”.
“NPP, we’re sitting down there. If NDC were in power and such a program was being aired, the NDC youth would have invaded the place. The NDC youth wouldn’t have given them a dog chance. People who have no life sit there and attack the government as if there is no tomorrow,” Owusu Bempah said on Wontumi TV in an interview monitored by GhanaWeb.
Thugs invade UTV, disrupt United Showbiz
On Saturday, October 7, a few days after Owusu Bempah’s statement, a group of young men affiliated with the NPP barged into UTV’s studio during their prime-time entertainment show, ‘United Showbiz’, and disrupted the programme.
The over a dozen thugs having stormed the studio demanded the whereabouts of Kwame Asare Obeng (A Plus) indicating that they were after him for shredding a letter written to the management of UTV asking for a reform of United Showbiz.
“We are waiting for A Plus today… A Plus has to explain to us why he tore our paper from the NPP party. We are here, we are waiting for A Plus. We are protecting our party property,” one of the men is heard shouting in the studio.
A Plus fires, says he’s told Owusu Bempah is behind the invasion
Reacting to the incident after the program had resumed following the security breach, A Plus who had not arrived at the studios at the time of the attack said his information shows Ernest Owusu Bempah instigated the attack.
“I am hearing it was Ernest Owusu-Bempah who sent men here. That is what I am hearing and I am just hoping that it is not true,” A Plus stated.
A Plus who was livid about the situation went ahead to issue a strong warning to Owusu-Bempah indicating that he is ready to respond in a more brutal manner if such a thing were to ever happen again.
“If it is true he did it, it took him two weeks to organise those people. Me, I came here with three pickups full of boys, it took me less than 30 minutes to call boys that everyone should come to UTV.
“Owusu-Bempah if you do that thing again I will organise boys and I will bring them the Ghana Gas,” A Plus told the party’s deputy communications officer who doubles as the Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Gas Company.
Owusu Bempah rebuts; says he is innocent
On the back of A Plus’ statement, Owusu Bempah has denied any wrongdoing and has reported the popular panelist to the police for allegedly threatening his life.
In a statement addressing A Plus and seeking an apology from the regular panelist on the United Showbiz, Owusu-Bempah stated, “I have become aware of a rather unfortunate incident in the studios of UTV, where a group of young men interrupted this weekend’s edition of United Showbiz program. The reason cited for the disruption of the program is unknown to me. Again, I have no knowledge of the situation, neither do I know the characters involved.”
On the September 30, 2023, edition of United Showbiz, Kwame A Plus described as useless a letter from the NPP calling on management of UTV to reform the United Showbiz show.
The regular panelist read a copy of the letter on the programme and sternly critiqued its content and the propriety of its issuance. He described the letter as “useless” and argued that it was such letters that continued to give the NPP a bad name to the extent that the party is seeking to subvert clear constitutional provisions on the independence of the media.
He ripped apart his copy of the letter stating thus: “This letter is revolting because we have received calls from people threatening to collapse UTV United Showbiz”.
A Plus added that 90% of the viewers of UTV were of the NPP stock… yet they praise them for the views they give on the station.
“NPP people should stop such things, don’t write such a letter ever again. This letter is a stupid letter.
“Nobody in this country can decide what we do on this show, especially when the president of Ghana is an astute lawyer and someone who believes in the rule of law. Don’t write such things ever again,” he stressed.