As Media Foundation, GIBA & NDC Condemn Senseless Attack
By Gifty Arthur
The Ashanti Regional Police, have arrested the region’s Communications Director of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) for instigating a physical attack on fellow party member, Kofi Baah Acheamfuor on Monday, April 25, which nearly resulted in the victim losing his right eye.
The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), have separately condemned the senseless attack on Mr. Baah Acheamfuor, who is a teacher by profession and a diehard member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Mr. Acheamfuor, a native of Ashanti Effiduase, who has been at the forefront of accountability in his own party over the infamous Ecobank Account matter, was on Monday afternoon assaulted by some ‘macho men’ suspected to be members of the NPP, after breaking into the studios of Kumasi-based Fox FM, during a live discussion.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ashanti Police Command, ASP Mohammed Yusif Tanko, told Class News in an interview yesterday that, Mr. Kyei was arrested moments after the incident, but was granted police inquiry bail.
According to ASP Tanko, he was, however, re-arrested on Tuesday and charged for assault and conspiracy to commit assault.
Baah Achamfuor, a former aide to the late Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, has become a pain in the neck of the current national executives and the party’s flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo.
He has been persistence in his call for accountability and corrupt free leaders, leading to him petitioning the Police to investigate the likes of acting national chairman, Freddie Blay, and national treasurer, Abankwa Yeboah.
Narrating the incident on PEACE FM 6pm News bulletin from Kumasi, Hello FM reporter, Isaac Owusu, said the Macho men alleged to be members of the NPP directly walked into the studio’s of FOX FM pushing away security personnel along the way with the aim of teaching Baah Acheamfour a lesson for allegedly condemning the recent fund raising campaign (Yi Bi Ma) launched by the NPP.
The well-built men, attacked Baah Acheamfour, who is also the Communications Director of the group ‘Save NPP Now’, an appendage of the opposition party after he reportedly lambasted Nana Akufo-Addo for being behind the division in the NPP.
The producer of the show, Nana Anokye, who recounted the incident to Isaac Owusu, stated that the Macho men who rode on motorbikes forcibly burst into the studios and started beating persons in the room, including host of the show.
According to Isaac Owusu, had it not been for the timely arrival of the police who came to rescue the victim, the macho men, would have caused mayhem.
He added that, Baah Acheamfour, has since been taken to the hospital for treatment, while a formal complaint has been lodged with the police.
Mr. Kwesi Kyei, according to the police, hired thugs to assault Mr. Acheamfuor, while the latter was in the studios of the Kumasi-based radio station Fox FM, discussing political issues.
Meanwhile, while many continue to condemn the brutality ahead of intensive campaign season, the MFWA, has added its voice to register it displeasure about what many have described as unwarranted and unfortunate.
The Foundation on the other hand, said it finds the attack on the radio station, the host of the programme and the panelist “extremely worrying”. “The incident smacks of intolerance for dissenting political views and criticism.”
Also, an umbrella body for independent broadcasters, the GIBA, has denounced the attack on its member station, Fox FM in Kumasi.
According to a statement issued in Accra yesterday by the Executive Council, the association, called on the Ghana Police and the security agencies to treat such incidents as criminal acts and move to prosecute offenders.
The statement reminded the general public to be tolerant of opposing views and advised its members to be mindful of the association’s code of conduct and ensure balance and fairness in its reportage and programming.
It asked the police to investigate the matter which happened in broad daylight and bring the perpetrators to book.
Mr. Kyei’s arrest comes on the heels of a call by the NDC to arrest him for acting irresponsibly. A statement signed by the NDC’s Ashanti Regional Deputy Communications Officer issued yesterday, said “The NDC sees these dastardly attacks as reckless, inhumane and cancerous to the fledgling democracy the nation has enjoyed so far. This is so pitiful for a party that claims to have repealed the criminal libel law in an attempt to promoting free speech; an inalienable right”, the statement said.
The statement did not spare the party’s regional chairman, Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, who they described as lacking the thick skin to tolerate dissenting views even after signing inter-party Code of Conduct for peaceful election on November 7.
“We are particularly shocked that the lack of candour and the venomous attacks (physical and on air) continues to top the list of pre-election priorities by Mr. Benard Antwi Bosiako (Wontumi), the NPP Regional Chairman and his Communication Director after signing an Inter-party Code of Conduct for peaceful polls some months ago”, he said.
The governing party expressed concern about happenings in the NPP especially when there is an election ahead this year saying “how can the NDC and other political activists feel safe ahead of the November contest?
For a party (NPP) which is noted for importing “mercinaries” to train it’s supporters, every peace-loving Ghanaian must be worried about the developments in the NPP which have sometimes and regrettably, claimed precious lives of some innocent party faithful, the statement said.
The statement called for an immediate arrest and “dispassionate prosecution of Mr. Kyei and his marauding thugs to serve as deterrent to others likely to habour such heinous and devious plans”.
Meanwhile Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP, Sam Payne has shockingly posited that the attack on Baah Acheamfour at FOX FM could be staged managed.
Speaking in an interview with Kwame Tutu on frontline on Rainbow Radio, the chief scribe for the NPP in the Ashanti Region said information he has gathered indicate that, the NDC paid money to Baah Acheamfour to stage-manage his attack as a distractive point to cover ongoing discussions on the limited registration.
Sam Payne said, ”Speculations going on suggests that he [Baah Acheamfour] staged his attack together with the NDC to engage in activities that will distract the party in the region. We will investigate the claims and expose him if necessary.”
He said, Baah Acheamfour, does not have the capacity nor was he a communications member of the elephant family to speak for them.
Mr. Sam Payne, explained they have not contracted anyone to break into the studios of FOX FM to attack Baah Acheamfour, or any staff of the radio station; hence, they cannot vouch for the incident.
He lambasted Baah Acheamfour for working against the interest of the party, so it loses focus on the upcoming elections, and matters arising from the failure of the Electoral Commission (EC) to give Ghanaians a credible process ahead of the elections.
He opined that the focus of the party is to ensure that the upcoming limited registration exercise goes through successfully; therefore, they will not waste their time on so-called members of the NPP who are bent on running down the party.
Mr. Sam Payne alleged that, Baah Acheamfour is nothing but a ‘black sheep’ doing the bidding of some ‘evil plotters’ who want to see the NPP fail in their bid to win the 2016 elections but that will not wash.
According to him, the NPP is governed by rules and regulations, and every party member must abide by it no matter their position.
He also expressed his disappointment at some presenters who he alleged give opportunity to some plotters within the party to work against its interest.
He said, although the situation was unfortunate, the NPP could not take responsibility for what happened because it did not authorize Baah Acheamfour to go and represent them at FOX FM.
He added that Baah Acheamfour ‘deserved what he got’ because he always runs his mouth on radio, an action party supporters and well-wishers are against.
He advised communicators of all political parties to see this attack as an eye opener so they desist from running their mouth on radio and peddling falsehood to escape what happened to Baah Acheamfour.