The flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Mahama, has criticised the Akufo-Addo government’s rejection of most of the key recommendations of the Justice Emile Short Commission Report on the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence.
Mr Mahama, speaking during a courtesy call by executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on Thursday, 10 October 2019, said it should be of concern to all Ghanaians that the government, by its actions, appears to approve of the lawless assault on innocent civilians”.
“To believe that government can say an MP deserves to be slapped because he provoked a security officer is unconscionable. I don’t know by what moral code this judgement is being made but it creates a very bad precedent for us. It means that… anybody can be brutalised by a security officer if he believes that you have provoked him… not even an MP is immune to brutality,” Mr Mahama lamented.
Mr Mahama argued that the actions of the government provide a sinister precedent for future attacks by government-trained thugs targeted at government’s political opponents. He said there was evidence that the government is training ‘able-bodied’ civilians at a government military training facility.
“It is a worry that Ayawaso West Wuogon will be repeated on a larger scale than it did. This was only a by-election but the way things are going and from what we are hearing, it is possible that some sinister force is preparing to wreak violence during the [general] elections and this is something that we must look at.”
Executives of the GJA, led by its President, Mr Affail Monney, were at the former President’s to invite him to the Association’s 70th-anniversary and GJA awards ceremony. Mr Mahama used the occasion to repeat his condemnation of the recent spate of attacks and threats on journalists and called on the government to protect them so that they can freely go about their duties without any intimidation or fear.
The former President also used the opportunity to congratulate all Ghanaian journalists on the 70th-anniversary, paying special tribute to former Presidents of the Association such as the late Edward Ameyibor, Kabral Blay Amihere, Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie and all those who contributed to the growth of the GJA.
Mr Mahama also spoke about fake news, mercenary journalism, the stalled DTT roll-out, continuous training for journalists, remuneration and compensation for journalists and government’s closure of pro-opposition radio stations.