The Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, has criticised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for shielding vigilantes who perpetrated the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence.
“What happened in Ayawaso West Wuogon has never happened in our history because the hoodlums came in state vehicles. They came disguised as national security personnel and they were supported by ministers who justify the actions,” he bemoaned.
A by-election was held on January 31, 2019, to elect a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency after the sitting legislator, Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko, lost his life to ill health.
The election was marred by sporadic shooting at the residence of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate, Kwasi Delali Brempong, which resulted in injuries to 18 persons.
The culprits from the SWAT team of the National Security stormed the polling station at the La Bawaleshie polling station and MP for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George was also assaulted by a well-built man who was part of the national security team.
The government, however, issued a white-paper and failed to implement recommendations of the commission of inquiry led by Justice Emile Short which was constituted to investigate the incident.
At the one-year anniversary to mark the incident, Mr Pratt, stated in a speech on Friday that: “Up to today, those hoodlums are still embedded in the national security”.
He was concerned that: “they are still being paid by your taxes”.
In his opinion, “if the government is serious about preserving the sanity of this country, the first step is to dismantle immediately, those outfit of hoodlums in the security service. Let’s sanitize the security services and let’s throw off the vigilantes from the security services”.
He questioned why the perpetrators of the violence have not been sanctioned and concluded that such conduct will derail the fight against party thuggery despite a law banning vigilantism.
In his opinion, acts such as what was witnessed a year ago “can destabilize this country” and concluded that “this country is slowly sliding down the path of chaos”.
For him, violence should not be promoted by political parties because “stray bullets [as witnessed during the incident] cannot distinguish between an NPP and NDC sympathizer”.
Before the remembrance day, an alleged police internal memo emerged on social media which threatened to sanction any cop who steps at the venue of the remembrance to provide security.
The top hierarchy of the Ghana Police Service has neither denied nor confirmed the memo.
Mr Pratt believes “it is the first time in my life and perhaps the first time in recorded history that a police institution is calling on policemen not to provide security. If the police are not providing security what is the police there for?”
He further questioned the actions of the law enforcement agency and wondered if it was not a move that encouraged thugs to carry out violence and attacks.
“Was the police not sending a signal to hoodlums that they can come here and do what the please and that the police will not act? Was that not what the police was doing yesterday?” he questioned.
He said Mr Mahama was at the venue and entitled to security just as any other former Presidents like John Agyekum Kufuor and Jerry John Rawlings hence the state should not have issued such as memo restraining officers from performing their duties.
The situation left him “shocked about the conduct of our police service”.
In his words “no security force can stand the will and determination of the people”.