Government’s decision to set up a three-member Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Mr Justice Emile Short, to investigate and establish the facts leading to the gun violence in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, has been greeted with mistrust, especially from politicians linked to the largest opposition party; the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), is to work with, Mrs Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a distinguished law professor of international repute, and Patrick K. Acheampong, a former Inspector-General of Police, but the inquiry is being hit with claims of unconstitutionality and desperate attempt to cover up the dastardly act.
While, NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has said the Commission of Inquiry is only a ploy to protect perpetrators of the gun attack, James Agalga, Minority spokesperson on Defence and Interior, has charged government to arrest the perpetrators of violence, since they are well known.
The NDC scribe, had insisted that the whole idea of the Commission is flawed at birth, because President Akufo-Addo, did not follow the constitutional procedure in setting up such commissions and James Agalga who is the NDC Member of Parliament for Builsa North, suggested that the high-profile personality like the National Security Minister, Bryan Acheampong, who took full responsibility for the deployment of the thugs, must be dismissed to give the work of the commission some air of independence.
Mr Ernest Kofi Abotsi, a former Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and a private legal practitioner, would work as the Commission’s secretary.
Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who is acting President, set up the Commission with the consent of President Akufo-Addo, according to a statement signed and issued, in Accra, by Mr Eugene Arhin, the Director of Communications at the Presidency, on Wednesday.
The statement outlined the terms of reference of the Commission as follows: “To make a full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to the events and associated violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on the 31st January, 2019; identify any person responsible for or who has been involved in the events, associated violence and injuries; and inquire into any matter which the Commission considers incidental or reasonably related to the causes of the events and the associated violence and injuries; and submit its report within a month to the President giving reasons for its findings and recommendations, including appropriate sanctions, if any”.
The shooting incident, which involved some unidentified masked gun men and some agents of the NDC, happened at the La- Balaweshie residence of the Party’s Parliamentary Candidate.
The incident, which saw some seven persons hospitalised with varied degrees of injuries, has been widely condemned locally and internally with calls for thorough investigations to bring the perpetrators to book.
The President, in condemning the incident, earlier on, urged the IGP to swiftly investigate the matter conclusively.
The Police on Wednesday said, they had taken statements from 16 persons, including the MP for Prampram, who was sent a statement form.
But speaking on Citi FM’s Eyewitness News, the NDC scribe, said the constitution states clearly that, a constitutional instrument is to be laid before Parliament before a commission is established, saying as far as he is concern, nothing of that sort has been done.
Asiedu Nketia, argued that such an important commission, cannot be established by just issuing a statement.
“I am surprised and even confused, because there is a procedure for the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry, which procedure has not been followed at all. This Commission of Inquiry, has been flawed at birth, so I want to believe it is a smoked screen move which the president is using to protect its own appointees,” he told Umaru Sanda on Eyewitness News, onWednesday.
On his part, the Minority spokesperson on Defence and Interior, charged government to go beyond setting up a commission and implement its recommendations.
James Agalga, said although the Minority welcomes government’s move to get to the bottom of the incident, it will come to nothing, if at the end of the day, it turns out that lip service is paid to such a serious issue.
“Government’s response shows how it is reeling under pressure piled on it by the Minority in Parliament, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and some well-meaning Ghanaians,” he told Evans Mensah on Top Story on Joy FM, Wednesday.
Explaining why they called for an independent enquiry, he said the police acting by themselves, won’t have the courage to deal with acts of hooliganism and criminality that occurred at the La Bawaleshie.
“This is because you have people who are at the centre of the attacks still in office. I will be blunt here, I am talking about the National Security Minister, Bryan Acheampong, who took full responsibility for the deployment of the thugs.
“If you look at the security architecture of our country, to some extent the National Security Minister works hand in hand with the Inspector General of Police so if he continues to stay in office how is the IGP going to be able to investigate him,” he quizzed.
His comment, follows government decision to establish a three-member commission to inquire into the violence that marred last Thursday’s by-election in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency.
Although, Builsa North MP, agrees the personalities are people who have achieved a lot in their respective fields of endeavour, he said the Minority is expecting an impartial committee.
“In accordance with the mandate, captured in Chapter 23 of the Constitution, we hope that the enquiry will be very impartial and at the end of the day, government will implement their recommendations.
“We wouldn’t want a repetition of what happened with the Wuaku Commission. When they finished their work, all the people it recommended to be prosecuted, not even one of them was convicted. That for me added to the protraction of the conflict in Dagbon,” he said.
Yesterday hundreds of Ghanaians marched through principal streets of Accra to put pressure on the government to take urgent action against the growing incidents of violence and attacks in the country especially what happened at the by-election.
The protest, convened by Bernard Mornah, the National Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), was christened “aagbe wo”, which means ‘they are killing us.’
The demonstrators, clad in red and black held placards with inscriptions such as “Ghana beyond Delta Forces’, ‘Bloody MP’, ‘Ghana beyond violence’, ‘Bryan is evil’, ‘family and friends government’, ‘Boot 4 boot’, ‘Ghana is no longer safe’, ‘IGP must go’ among others.
Key political figures sighted at the demonstration included, NDC Deputy Youth Organizer, Eric Edem Agbana; MP for Ningo Prampram, Sam George; NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, former Ministers of State under the NDC government, Sherry Ayitey and Nana OyeLithur and former AMA Chief Executive, Alfred Oko Vandepuije.
Others including; former MP for Tano South, Hannah Bissiw, NDC flagbearer hopeful, Sylvester Mensah; MP for Klottey Korle, Zanetor Rawlings, MP for Sagnarigu, A.B.A Fuseini and NDC National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo all joined in the demonstration.
The demonstration, followed the issue concerning heavily armed uniformed personnel who attacked citizens at a polling station in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency during last Thursday’s by-election.
The demonstrators walked from the Obra Spot through to Farrisco traffic light, then UTC, the High Street, the Ministry of Interior, and the Police Headquarters, before finally converging at the Jubilee House amidst singing, drumming and chanting.
They presented petitions to the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery; IGP, David Asante Appeatu; and the President, Akufo-Addo, to demand action on the security situation in the country.