The Interior Minister, Mr, Ambrose Dery in an interesting twist to the violence witnessed during the recently held Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, has said the Police Service did not play any role in the disturbances.
According to him, the Police service, which is under his ministry had no hand in the operations of the masked men who have been widely described in the media as party vigilantes aligned to the governing New Patriotic Party
He also disclosed that the vehicles used in transporting these masked and fully armed men to the La Bawaleshie polling centre, where most of the violence occurred, did not belong to the Police Service despite having the inscription “Police SWAT” on it and being driven by a uniformed police officer.
Mr. Ambrose Dery also said he had no idea of the deployment of the masked men to the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency and only saw them on national television.
He also explained that the official report sent to him, by the IGP revealed that the masked men in Khaki uniforms were not personnel of the Ghana Police service.
Speaking at the Public hearing of the Justice Emile Short’s Commission of Inquiry today [14th February 2019], Mr. Ambrose Dery explained that political vigilantism is illegal and must be dealt with at all costs since it has the potential to affect the country’s peace and stability.
“As reported to me, by the IGP, who was in charge of the operations, I will say that there were police deployed and there were also officers of the Ghana Immigration Service, also deployed in the 137 polling stations. That is what I know…”
“…I first saw on TV, some persons dressed in Khaki and some of them wearing masks and armed… and when I got the video, I forwarded it to the Police and he said these are not part of my men. I later got information that an officer of National security had said that they were national security operatives,” he said.
‘State-sponsored’ Ayawaso violence not a reflection of Ghana’s democracy – Mahama
Former President John Mahama after the violence launched a series of scathing attacks on Government by claiming that the brutalities recorded in the by-election.
In a series of speeches in his campaign in the Volta region, the former President cautioned that his party is ready to match the NPP “boot for boot” adding that no other party beats the NDC in “unleashing violence” of that kind.
Mr. Mahama also said he claimed that countries in the sub-region and elsewhere on the African continent had raised questions about the violence that happened at the La Bawaleshi polling centre during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
According to John Mahama, these are countries that look up to Ghana as a beacon of democracy.
Speaking on Wednesday at a meeting at Peduase with members of the Diplomatic Corps, former President John Dramani Mahama said the circumstances of the violence was not a reflection of Ghana’s democracy.
He said even though the violence was state-sponsored, it is not the true image of the democratic culture Ghanaians enjoy.
“The violence took a different form. It was state-sponsored because those who were involved in these dastardly acts were brought there by the state. They were armed to the teeth; they discharged weapons and injured several people. Unfortunately, that is not part of Ghana’s democratic culture. It was a day of shame for Ghana because Ghana has always been seen as the model of democracy in Africa,” he said.
The NDC withdrew from the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election following the shooting incident and ordered its polling agents and observers out of the area.
The masked men were caught on camera beating up civilians who did not resist arrest. The men, fully armed were also seen in the company of some police officers.
Some of these men believed to party vigilantes of the ruling NPP were seen in T-shirts with the inscription ‘NSC’ which translates as the National Security Council of which the President of the Republic heads.
The Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Samuel Nartey George, was also at the wrong end of some security personnel as he was seen being struck in the face by two security personnel in a viral video.
Mr. Bryan Acheampong, Minister of State in charge of National Security in an interview on the Citi Breakfast show, said his outfit deployed the masked men.
By: Jude Mensa Duncan | citinewsroom.com | Ghana | Duncanmensa@gmail.com