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AWW By-election Commission of Inquiry: The Journey so far

Bawumia swears-in the Commission of Inquiry

Chronology of Events

Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Emmanuel Kwabena Kyeremanteng Agyarko died unexpectedly 19 days to his 61 birthdays on November 21, 2018.

 The By-election

In accordance with article 112(5) as amended of the 1992 Constitution, the Electoral Commission scheduled January 31 as date for the By-Election

The NPP settled on the wife of the late MP, Lydia Seyram Alhassan, the NDC repeated its defeated candidate of 2018 so did the PPP.

The Violence

Two hours into the elections across 137 polling stations, a shooting incident was recorded at the house of the NDC candidate near the Presby Basic School polling station at La Bawaleshie in East Legon

Several persons were manhandled, some injured. In the ensuing confusion the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram was assaulted by a national security operative (an incident captured on camera)

It was revealed the masked national security operatives w were on an operation.

The violence prompted the NDC leadership to boycott the ongoing elections; announcing same at the house of the NDC candidate and the party headquarters.

There was a counter press conference by the NPP denying some of the allegations raised by key actors in the election.

The subsequent condemnations by civil society and cross sections of the citizenry and calls on the president to act resulted in the Ayawaso West Wuogon By-Election Violence Commission of Inquiry

The Commission of Inquiry

On February 6, the vice president with the consent of the president appointed a three individuals to the inquiry commission; Justice Emile Short (Chair), Prof Henrietta Bonsu  and Patrick Acheampong  with Kofi Abotsi as its secretary

The commission’s first hearing was on Thursday February 14

Since then, the following have appeared before the commission in this particular order:

Day 1

  • Ambrose Derry, Minister for the Interior
  • Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister for National Security
  • Bryan Acheampong, Minister of State at the Office of the President in-charge of National Security

Day 2

  • Jean Mensa, Chairperson Electoral Commission
  • DCOP George Alex Mensah, Director General of Police Operations, Ghana Police Service
  • DSP George Lysander Asare, Commander East Legon District

Day 3

  • DSP Samuel Kojo Azugu, Commander SWAT
  • Murtala Mohammed, General Secretary of PPP

Day 4

  • DCOP Patrick Adusei Sarpong, Accra Regional Commander
  • Evans Mensah, Political Editor and News Anchor, Multi-Media Group

Day 5

  • Colonol Michael Opoku, Director of Operations National Security
  • Kofi Delali Brempong, NDC Candidate, Ayawaso West By-Election

Day 6

  • Colonol Michael Opoku, Director of Operations National Security (2nd Appearance)
  • Samuel Nartey George, Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram

Commentary

Six days, 13 witnesses, mainly key actors in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election and it is clear why we have witnessed at almost every by-election some form of violence.

The high levels of lack of preparedness and laissez-faire attitude adopted by people who should know best was evident to whoever has monitored the commission’s work over the past six days that it sat.

The following are just some of the testimonies that point to this confusion:

  • The Commander of the SWAT team, who briefed his boys on an operation and gave them guns did not know why they (his boys) were attired the way they decided to.
  • Is it still unclear whether the vehicles used by the SWAT team are for the police.
  • That, despite the Interior Minster is in charge of all things internal security, he doesn’t get briefed about an internal operation by National Security.
  • That, though the Minister of Security at the presidency is deputy to the Minister of National Security, his actions are not subject to the approval of the substantive minister.
  • That, 14 clear days after the incident, the police had no report or briefing for the Interior Minister or a report, at least from commanders in-charge of teams to speak to at the commission.
  • The police have no control of its personnel when they join the National Security, but these personnel still have the opportunity to come and write promotion examinations.
  • A district commander could be more interested in casting his vote than his duty and go as far as perjury, denying he was assigned on the said day of the By-Election.

A key evidence as presented before the commission by the NDC candidate in the by-election may perhaps change the dynamics of the incidents as they occurred at the La Bawaleshie polling station.

Before his (Kofi Delali Brempong) appearance, fact was that the distance of the NDC candidate’s residence to the polling station was some 140 meters. The new distance as presented, would also not just put to doubt the seeming calm and limited distraction the EC boss said the violence had on the polling centre but question to be asked of the NDC why he had the caliber of individuals (supporters as he called them) at his home.

Thus, one wonders whether to be happy or sad for the setting up of the fact-finding commission.

Happy when one shares the optimism of the president, H.E Akufo Addo, that the commission would be the beginning of the end of legalized “hoodlumism” wrongly cloaked as vigilantism.

Note, the president has gone further by calling on the leadership of the two main political parties to by the end of February find a way of putting a stop to the existence of these hoodlums amicably, or be forced to do so for them, using a Legislative Instrument: a move two former presidents, Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama have commended.

You would be happy because for once, there seems (though wouldn’t be the first) to be a committed consensus on the part of both leading parties in condemning and seeming to want to put an end to party to financed violence on citizens.

But there is equal skepticism about these charades of attempts to stopping “hoodlumism”.

Fact is, this will not be the first of many talks about either empowering or calling on those who have played key roles in their existence to act.

Hearing continues Tuesday, February 26.

By Cyril Dogbe|3news.com|Ghana

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