Senior Minister Yaw Osafa Maafo has described former president Mahama’s portrayal of Ghana to the diplomatic community as “shameful” and “unpatriotic”, when he recently met them at Peduase to brief Ghana’s partners about the violence that took place during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
“To say the least, this is unpatriotic and shameful”, Mr Osafo Maafo said.
He explained: “It is because if he gathered Ghanaians, call it Ghanaian professionals, Ghanaian businessmen, and he talked about matters of concern to him, I’ll have no problem.
“He’s a former head of state and, therefore, a very important opinion leader. But to gather foreigners and try to paint Ghana black is just not acceptable. What is he really after? What does former president Mahama want to portray? Why does he want to paint Ghana black when, indeed, there’s nothing to paint black?”
In Mr Osafo Maafo’s view, even though “there was some violence, it didn’t happen at a polling station, it happened, as it were, in the parliamentary candidate’s house away from any polling station and we’re yet to know who even shot”, and, so, wondered: “Why would you want this to look like it’s a national disaster?”
“This really is not good and I will never support such a thing but if you look at what happened in previous by-elections in this country, this is nothing more than what had happened earlier. Somebody drove through a crowd in a by-election in Atewa. What happened?” Mr Osafo Maafo said in an interview with Accra-based Joy News.
About 16 members of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) were shot and injured by masked national security operatives at the private residence of the party’s candidate at La-Bawaleshie barely an hour into the poll on Thursday, 31 January 2019.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe the matter. It is chaired by Justice Emile Short. Its members include world-renowned legal luminary Prof Henrietta Mensa Bonsu and former IGP Patrick Acheampong with the former Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Dr Ernest Kofi Abotsi as its Secretary. The Commission has a month to present its report.
In his meeting with the diplomats over the issue, at which they were shown several videos of the shooting and violence perpetrated by the national security operatives against the NDC supporters, Mr Mahama said the by-election violence was a criminal act that must be prosecuted straightforward.
“It is my belief”, Mr Mahama, who is running for the flag bearer slot of the NDC ahead of the 2020 polls, said: “That the President would have known what security arrangements were being made”.
“These are all issues that have come up. We believe that this is a straight criminal case and the people involved, many of them have been identified and the Police should have invited them, taken their statements and started their investigation. Instead, they have decided to set up a Commission of Inquiry.”
“We all know what happens when Commissions of Inquiries are set up. The main usefulness of a Commission of Inquiry is to bring out the facts and put in place measures to ensure that such a thing does not happen again but it is not the most convenient way for sanctioning criminal conduct.”
Mr Mahama also told the diplomats that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has trained vigilante groups, some of whom were deployed to mete out violence on NDC supporters.
The meeting was also graced by the National Chairman of the NDC Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia, Deputy Minority Leader James Klutse Avedzi, a former Minister of National Security Kofi Totobi Quakyi and senior members of the NDC.