The Media General Group will on Thursday, March 12, host the Secretary to the Emile Short Commission of Inquiry, Kofi Abotsi, to deliver a public lecture to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the commission’s report on Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence.
A year after the commission has submitted its report to President Akufo-Addo and portions of it being rejected, the public lecture will ask whether government’s approach to the report assures the people of Ghana of an atmosphere of peace, security and freedom in the free exercise of their constitutional and political rights.
It will also probe the likely implications which the current stalemate involving the full implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry could have on advancing the enforcement of law and order in our country, and the government’s resolve to eliminate violence from the body politic of Ghana.
More importantly, the lecture will make recommendations on how government and stakeholders in the political space can prevent the recurrence of the unfortunate incident of Ayawaso West Wuogon violence which marred the much touted peaceful credentials of elections in Ghana
Under the auspices of the Election Command Centre, the lecture, themed; “Promoting Stability: Electoral Violence and the 2020 Elections” will bring together major stakeholders to dialogue dispassionately on violence perpetuated by political party vigilantes and the approach of government to eradicate it.
The event will take place at the TV3 Executive Theater from 3:00pm to 5:00pm with representation from key stakeholders and interest groups including the security services, the electoral commission, election observer groups, political parties, civil society and members of the public.
Following the violence which broke on 31st January 2019 in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, President Akufo-Addo instituted an independent Commission of Inquiry chaired by former Judge and Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short “to make full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to, the events and associated violence”.
Additionally, the Commission was tasked to identify any person responsible for or who has been involved in the events, associated violence and injuries, as well as inquire into any matter which the Commission considers incidental or reasonably related to the causes of the events.
It was expected to submit its report to the President giving reasons for its findings and recommendations, including appropriate sanctions, if any, and among other things identify the perpetrators responsible for the violence for prosecution.
Other members of the three-member commission were Prof. Henrietta Mensa Bonsu, a law professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Mr. Patrick Kwateng Acheampong (Lawyer and Former Inspector General of Police of the Ghana Police Service (IGP), and Dr. Ernest Kofi Abotsi, former Dean of the Faculty of Law of GIMPA and private legal practitioner, as Secretary to the Commission.
On 14th March 2019, the Commission presented its report to the President but the government issued a white-paper rejecting key aspects of the Commission’s report, saying that the Commission failed to address the first and most critical of the terms of reference.