One of the critical voices on radio, Accra FM’s Kwabena Bobie Ansah has been arrested by some persons perceived to be from the country’s National Security outfit leaving President Nana Akufo-Addo’s human rights credentials on table for thorough scrutiny once again.
The outspoken Bobie Ansah was allegedly picked up right after his Citizen Show, on the night of Thursday, February 11, 2022.
It is unclear why he has been arrested, Ghana Police Service which said to be keeping him in one of its cells is yet to issue a statement on the arrest as has been the case in recent days since the advent of the Dampare administration.
According to sources close to the Accra-based radio station, the operatives laid ambush at their Labone office in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, and bundled him into a waiting vehicle just after 10 pm as though he was being abducted, reminiscent of the dark days of military rule in Ghana.
Fear has started gripping the nation especially media practitioners as well as social commentators as one knows who would be picked up next and for what?
There’s a possible return of the “culture of silence” in the country led by a President, Nana Akufo-Addo, who calls himself a human rights activist, a champion of freedom of speech, a believer of the rule of law among other qualities and international standards expected of a democrat.
“We have no idea about where he has been sent to,” the show’s producer, Kwabena Kwakye broke the news live on air after the incident.
The arrest of Bobie Ansah is the third of such arrests of journalists in Ghana, in just a matter of weeks.
Two days ago, Power FM’s Oheneba Boamah Bennie, was sentenced to a 14-day imprisonment and fined 3,000 cedis for contempt of court, after alleging that President Akufo-Addo and some justices of the Supreme Court had connived to skew the verdict of the 2020 election petition.
Before that, Onua TV’s Captain Smart was also arrested and facing trial for alleged extortion.
Sources say Kwabena Bobie Ansah has been detained at the Nima Police Station, where his supporters have begun massing up in demand for his release.
Few of his followers have been at the Nima Police station next door to President Akufo-Addo’s private residence singing freedom songs protesting for Bobie’s release.
It is unclear if Bobie will be put before court later today, kept till next week as no state official is accountable to anyone these days in spite of constitutional requirements.
Just yesterday, the Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson, who was arrested on Tuesday, pleaded not guilty to two criminal charges of publication of false news and offensive conduct conducive to the breach of peace.
Police Prosecutor, Inspector Ebenezer Tei Okuffo, told the Kaneshie District Court that Mensah Thompson’s post on a social media site, had the potential of inciting the youth against the family of President Akufo-Addo.
He has subsequently been admitted to a bail sum of GH¢50,000 with two sureties.
He is also to report to the investigating officer at the Teshie District Police Command at least twice a week.
Mr. Thompson put up a Facebook post last year alleging that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s relatives used the presidential jet on a shopping spree in the United Kingdom. He subsequently retracted the post and apologized for it.
Police Prosecutor, Inspector Ebenezer Tei Okuffo, told the court that “there are places we have to take the accused person to, to elicit some information” as part of the investigations; and prayed the court to remand Mr. Thompson.
According to the Prosecutor, Mr. Thompson had been extended an invitation to the Police Station on January 14, to aid the police in the investigation, but he refused to honour the invitation and turned himself in only when he got wind of an arrest warrant secured against him.
The prosecution thus feared that Mr. Thompson would not avail himself for investigation if granted bail.
Disagreeing with the facts as presented by the Prosecution, lawyer for Mensah Thompson, Victor Kojogah Adawudu, said the accused person did not refuse to honour the police invitation.
He told the court that Mr. Thompson was undertaking an examination at the time of the invitation, so was unable to honour it.
He argued based on case law that it wasn’t the place of the accused person to aid investigations into the charges against him; and contended that Mr. Thompson’s only obligation was the assurances of his highest esteem to attend to the court whenever he’s called upon, even when on bail.
According to Mr. Adawudu, Mr. Thompson “was misled by a source (in his Facebook post) but he did the honourable thing by retracting and apologizing the moment his attention was drawn to it”.
When quizzed by the Magistrate, His Worship, Oheneba Kuffuor, Mensah Thompson told the court that he “did not intend to cause malice or breach the peace with his post but only sought accountability”.
His Worship, Oheneba Kuffuor, wondered why the accused person would run to social media with the post when he had officially written to the Civil Aviation Authority requesting information on the matter.
“It appears everyone is busy taking a part of the country off. What do you seek to gain with that?” he quizzed in astonishment.
In the belief of His Worship, Mr. Thompson’s Facebook was not derogatory and wondered how it would have incited the youth against President Akufo-Addo’s family members.
The case has been adjourned to 10th March 2022.