Joseph Wemakor is the name of an energetic, diplomatic, talented and hardworking young Ghanaian I knew growing up as a little kid in the United States of America way back in the 90’s.
My admiration for Joseph continues to grow each time I read any of his riveting, captivating opinion pieces, which often shed light on critical issues affecting human lives.
Apart from being a passionate and dynamic writer, which has won him several accolades in the media space, Joseph has proven to be an ambitious man with many potentials which qualify him as one of my cherished heroes.
He has demonstrated in many ways not only being a journalist but also a human rights defender, a youth leader/advocate, sustainable development goals advocate, social entrepreneur, a trained climate change proponent and a strong advocate for gender equality and women's empowerment.
My hero can boast of all the above credentials and more, being a versatile, multi-talented and dynamic persona by birth, but above all, he is a global giant in the field of human rights.
His attention and passion toward dealing with issues of human rights as an activist overrides every other desire to an extent, won the hearts of his peers and lecturers alike into winning him an accolade to nickname as “Human Rights.”
His devotion toward promotion of human rights and peace has gone beyond the shores of his country (international) from a humble beginning.
With perseverance, determination and dint of hard work, he continued to pursue the freedom of the oppressed, particularly women in society, no matter the distance.
As part of his efforts to stop the oppression of women across the globe during the era of the pandemic, he succeeded not only in highlighting the plights but demanded justice for the over 5,500 people in South Korea, the majority of whom are women who are victims of human rights violations, including forced religious conversion in the famous Shincheonji versus the Government of South Korea saga.
Joseph is not just a hero but a Messiah, not only by words but concrete actions and truth and really deserves the ‘human rights’ tag if nothing else.
He has been an aspiration to many youth across the country and his actions are leading the change Ghana deserves.
In a country where human rights issues are skyrocketing each day, Joseph dares to make a difference, which demands that he has to use his pen and paper at times and equally make his voice heard not only during radio or television programs but in various places of gatherings and public events, just to get the message on human rights going.
For decades, his activism role has been very phenomenal, but his activities could hardly catch the public eye simply because he operates within rural communities and remote villages across the country.
But barely a year ago, his good deeds began to manifest when he assumed a bigger role with the help of his team. It was at a time when the issue of kidnapping in Ghana became a scare, with many disappearances dominating several news headlines across the world, in both the national and international media. A new kidnapping phenomenon as it is termed reared its ugly head in the country during the latter of 2018 and sprung into 2019, and later waned at the early part of 2020. A saga which hits almost like a tsunami witnessed the seizure of a number of people, including both locals and foreigners at many parts of the country. Almost 70 kidnapping cases were recorded during the latter part of 2018.
A chronology of events unfolded in the whole kidnapping saga, which sent shock waves to many parts of the country, which saw many people gripped with intense fear.
The phenomenon hits with the disappearance of three young Ghanaian girls in the west of the country, who were never found to date.
Also two young Canadian women who worked for Youth Challenge International, a Canadian organization that sends young people to work on development projects in Africa, Asia and South America, were reportedly seized at a golf course in the city of Kumasi.
In addition, Somewhere in April 2019, a 30-year-old Indian man was also kidnapped in Kumasi by men who demanded a $500,000 (€442,000) ransom.
An Estonian diplomat was equally seized in the capital of Accra during his regular morning walk. Shortly afterwards he was freed by the Special Weapons and Ammunition Tactics (SWAT) Unit of the Accra Regional Police Command, who stormed the house where he was being held.
The gravity of the kidnapping issue caught the attention of the President of the land, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, to respond with urgency in an attempt to allay people's fears, pledging his government’s determination to put an end to the kidnappers’ activities.
But it does not take rhetoric to stop the canker of this magnitude, but strenuous efforts backed by actions, ambition and commitments of a person like Joseph with the support of his team of volunteers, who made the difference by engaging in a campaign which saw many Ghanaians enlightened on the tricks being employed by the so-called kidnappers, and most people were able to foil their attempts, leading to the decline in cases of the phenomenon.
This was made possible thankfully through the ingenuity of Joseph, who responded quickly to the plight of Ghanaians and initiated a ‘Messiah’ Sensitization Campaign Project dubbed: ‘Kidnapping, Teenage Pregnancy and Tramadol Abuse / Drug and its related abuses’ (KTT Project) to educate the populace particularly children of school-going age, who were the most vulnerable in the kidnapping saga.
The idea witnessed the formation of the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) by Mr. Wemakor. This is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which has dedicated its efforts to protecting and ending human rights abuses in Ghana and beyond, with focused attention on women, girls, children and minority groups, who are the most vulnerable in the society. It comprises journalists/reporters, news editors, human rights activists and lawyers who are committed to promoting human rights.
The KTT campaign project gained momentum in July 2019 and witnessed over 60,000 Ghanaians sensitized on the most pressing human rights issues the country is bedeviled with, which kidnapping seemed to be dominating. It later attracted several stakeholders, including Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Education Service, the Ghana Commission on Human Rights and some Civil Society Organizations (CSO), who expressed interest in joining the KTT Campaign wagon since the fight was a bigger one, which needs more hands on deck. The campaign messages were not only focused on kidnapping, teenage pregnancy and tramadol/drug abuse but deeper education on human rights to inform the citizenry about their rights to ward off perpetrators and to seek for justice whenever an abuse is committed by anyone.
As a hero, Joseph has quite extensively and uniquely achieved amazing feats in the human rights front, as far as protection, defending and promotion of people’s freedom and human rights issues are concerned in Ghana and beyond. This I can go on and on and on to squeeze on this sheet of paper but, hey!… time surely would tell.