Accra, Feb. 14, GNA –
Three Ministers of State on Thursday, gave evidence at the first sitting of the
Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission of enquiry, investigating the violence that
erupted during the January 31 Parliamentary bye-election.
The Ministers are Mr
Ambrose Dery, the Minister of the Interior; Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, the National
Security Minister and Mr Bryan Acheampong, the Minister of State in-charge of
The trio gave their
respective accounts of the security situation during the parliamentary
bye-election and the aftermath.
condemned political vigilantism; stating that, political vigilantism was
criminal and that those who engaged in it should be punished according to law.
The trio also
reiterated Government’s resolve and commitment to eliminate political
vigilantism in the country.
The Commission was set
up by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to conduct a far-reaching
investigation, which would sustain the peace of the nation.
It is under the
chairmanship of Mr Francis Emile Short, a former Commissioner of the Commission
on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
Other members of the
Commission are Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, an eminent professor in
Criminal Law and Mr Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, a former IGP; with Dr Ernest
Kofi Abotsi, a private legal practitioner, and a former Dean of the GIMPA Law
School, as the Secretary.
Mr Dery, who was the
first to appear before the Commission, said it was not the Police
Administration, which authorised the January 31 operation at the residence of
the National Democratic Congress Parliamentary Candidate in the Ayawaso West
He said the briefing
he received from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) thereafter indicated
that the masked men were from an outfit of the National Security.
He said, he first got
to know about the event, involving the operatives, clothed in brown uniforms
and black T-shirts, embossed with NSC, through the media, before the IGP’s
The confrontation that
ensued between the operatives and the men in the house resulted in gunshots.
Six persons were
hospitalised with various degrees of injuries, with one seriously in the
The incident has since
been condemned widely across the country, amidst calls for thorough
investigations to bring the culprits to book.
Both Mr Kan-Dapaah and
Mr Bryan Acheampong stated before the Commission that they were out of town on
the day of the Ayawaso West Wuogon Parliamentary bye-election.
Mr Kan-Dapaah, who was
the second to testify before the Commission, disclosed that the masked men
deployed during the Ayawaso West Wuogon Parliamentary bye-election were
officials of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of the National
He said based on
intelligence information gathered, his outfit deployed 60 men, which were made
up 25 police officers and 35 operatives to check for weapons in a particular
building in the constituency.
Responding to a
question from Professor Mensa-Bonsu, Mr Kan-Dapaah noted that, the notion that
political parties owned vigilante groups was false and that no party in the
country owned any such groups; adding that, vigilante groups were rather owned
by members of political parties.
“There isn’t one
vigilante group that belongs to a political party, the Centre for Democratic
Development (CDD) has just come out with a study, which established that these
vigilante groups are owned by some individuals and kingpins within the
“So the NPP has not
got a vigilante group per se because if you go into it you will find that these
are not vigilante group of the party.”
He noted that
political vigilantism was a crime and that the police and other security
personnel had been instructed to deal with any acts of vigilantism.
In a response to Mr
Short’s question as to why the man who attacked Mr Sam George, the
Ningo-Prampram Member of Parliament had not been arrested and prosecuted, Mr
Kan-Dapaah said the matter was still being investigated by the police.
Mr Eric Osei Mensah,
the Commission’s Counsel asked Mr Bryan Acheampong whether media reports making
rounds that he (Mr Bryan Acheampong) ordered the deployment of the SWAT team
was true, Mr Acheampong replied in the negative, saying at no point in time did
he ever make such a claim.
He recounted that he
granted three interviews to three media houses, and that in all his remarks, he
used the words “we deployed….”; referring to the National Security.
At this point, the
Commission’s Counsel asked that the tape of the interview Mr Bryan Acheampong
granted on Citi fm be played for the records.
After listening to the
tape for eight minutes, it confirmed Mr Bryan Acheampong’s submission.
adjourned sitting to Friday, February 15.
Dan Soko is a short story author and web content editor. He has work appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including GhanaScoop, Nigeria Daily News and CapitalBay. When he’s not frightening strangers with his post and writing, he’s most likely frightening his wife Mimi and their two mischievous cats: Buttons and Snaps. You can visit him at www.ghananation.com/author/webby.