Eight victims of the Ayawasa West Wougon by-election violence who were to be compensated by the state as recommended by the President’s Commission of Inquiry on the matter have been ignored by the state Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram Sam George has said.
According to the lawmaker who himself was a victim of the violence, a group of wives whose spouses were victims of violence during the by-elections have petitioned the government through the Ministry of Gender for action on their compensation “but there has been absolutely no response.”
Speaking on the floor of Parliament on the Second anniversary of the violence that marred the by-elections in that constituency in 2019, Mr George said: “Mr. Speaker, accompanied by over eighty members of Parliament and my lawyers, I personally submitted a petition to then Inspector-General of Police, Mr. David Asante-Apeatu and the then Deputy Director-General of the Criminal Investigation Department, ACP Mr. George Tweneboah and identified some of my assailants. It is almost two years and the Police has failed to as much as respond to my petition whilst my assailant walks freely. It is this inertia in the delivery of justice that leads many to question if truly justice would be served in this unfortunate matter.”
He called on the Speaker to use his office to direct all relevant State institutions responsible for the payment of compensations to the affected citizens to act expeditiously to resolve the matter.
In 2019 during the by-election at Ayawaso West Wougon following the demise of the sitting MP, Emmanuel Kwabena Kyeremateng Agyarko, some masked national security operatives stormed the private residence of the main opposition National Democratic Congress’ candidate behind the La Bawaleshie Presbyterian Basic 1 School which was serving as a polling centre and opened fire.
Some constituents were hit and sustained gunshot wounds in the melee.
The incident, which happened just about two hours into voting also triggered chaotic scene at the polling centre and caused the NDC to pull out of the by-election for the safety of the party agents.
Below is Mr George’s full statement read in Parliament:
STATEMENT BY HON. SAMUEL NARTEY GEORGE (MP) ON THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE AYAWASO WEST WUOGON BY-ELECTION AND THE RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE EMILE SHORT COMMISSION.
Right Honorable Speaker,
This past sunday, 31st of January 2021 marked the second anniversary of the by-elections held in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency. The incidents of the day are a matter of public knowledge and have left an indelible scar on the 4th Republican democracy of our Nation. A number of harrowing incidents that sought to mar Ghana’s democracy and question our faith in our security services occurred in the full glare of the media.
The public outcry and international condemnation led to the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry by His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo pursuant to article 278 of the constitution to probe the unfortunate events that undermined the electoral process that fateful day.
Mr. Speaker, the Commission chaired by Justice Emile F. Short on the 14th of March 2019 submitted its report to the Presidency and made recommendations for further investigations, compensation, structural changes in the security architecture of the Country among other recommendations. Government in its white paper shockingly disagreed with a large portion of the recommendations by the Commission and even questioned if the eminent Justice Emile Short (former CHRAJ Boss), Professor Henrietta Mensa Bonsu (Now Supreme Court Judge and leading legal light on criminal law) and Mr. Patrick Acheampong (Former Inspector-General of Police) understood the mandate and scope of their work. Government however accepted to pay some compensation to some identified individuals who had suffered the brutality of state operatives.
It is heartbreaking Mr. Speaker for me to stand in the people’s chamber two years on and recount how none of these individuals have received any compensation or support from the State. I am heartbroken as I myself was a victim of the recklessness that characterized the action of state operatives on the day. I saw firsthand the brutality meted out to some of these innocent citizens of our Republic. Eighteen of them filed complaints with the Police subsequent to the violence. The heart-rending situation of Mr. Ishawu Yaro, a promising footballer who was his family’s bread winner, and who got shot several times in his leg and has been crippled even after three surgeries should not be our record as a Nation. Despite the recommendations of the President’s Commission of Inquiry on compensation for eight out of the sixteen and the acceptance of same in the white Paper, these eight innocent citizens have been ignored by the State.
A group of wives whose spouses were victims of violence during the by-elections have petitioned the government through the Ministry of Gender for action on their compensation. There has been absolutely no response. Mr. Speaker, accompanied by over eighty members of Parliament and my lawyers, I personally submitted a petition to then Inspector-General of Police, Mr. David Asante-Apeatu and the then Deputy Director-General of the Criminal Investigation Department, ACP Mr. George Tweneboah and identified some of my assailants. It is almost two years and the Police has failed to as much as respond to my petition whilst my assailant walks freely. It is this inertia in the delivery of justice that leads many to question if truly justice would be served in this unfortunate matter.
Rt. Honourable Speaker, our constituents deserve better. The citizens of the Republic demand action. We owe it as the representatives of the people and the true bastion of democracy to hold agents of State security to account for their infractions of law. We cannot fail. We must demand that justice is served the eight citizens whom government has pledged to compensate. The tenets of democracy must be protected. The rule of law, accountability and the protection of the Human rights of citizens is essential in this democratic dispensation and nothing or no one must be allowed to jeopardize this.
These citizens are Mr. Theophilus Sedofu, Mr. Seidu Zaneh, Mr. James Moore, Mr. Mohammed Alhassan, Mr. Ishawu Yaro, the Owner of vehicle with registration number GE 3844-17, owner of Kia Picanto with registration number GW 1045-17 and Mrs. Justine She, the owner of a beauty salon. We represent the last ray of hope for these citizens who have elected us here. I pray you to use your good offices to direct all relevant State institutions responsible for the payment of compensations to the affected citizens to act expeditiously in resolution of this matter.
Right Honorable Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make this statement to draw national attention to the plight of our Constituents
SAMUEL NARTEY GEORGE, MP