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Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, Head of State during the AFRC days of mid-1979, says he signed Lieutenant General Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa’s death warrant because he, the former, was naive, and trusted the admonition of a general who asked, "Where is the rogue?"
“It must interest you to know that Afrifa was being provocative and I had him locked up, and he wasn't feeling too good so I asked that they [take] him to hospital. After he recovered, the gentleman keeping an eye on him was called Dennis, asked what needs to be done to Afrifa so I asked him to let him go home,” Rawlings told Kwaku Sakyi-Addo of Asaase Radio in part two of their controversial interview.
According to Rawlings, some true proper Generals who should have paid the price would have been 80 or more.
“Unfortunately, too many of the names belong to a certain ethnic group. If we had to punish them with the execution [which people wanted], it was going to look like ethnic cleansing. That's how come we had to load the faults on the heads of the commanders, including innocent ones and to limit the number,” the former military leader recounted.
He said that the execution of the innocent Generals was very painful “because some of them were good people and didn’t deserve to die but that was the only way we could prevent the thing from getting out of hand”.
Rawlings added that on the eve of the execution, with a heavy heart and tears in his eyes he presented the list of those to be executed to a senior colleague officer who was also a General and the latter asked “where is the rogue? The rogue’s name is not on the list.”
Rawlings said that even though he didn’t know who the general was talking about, he was at a point very shocked.
“So, I turned towards him expecting him to say who he meant by that rogue. Because here you are, trying to prevent a situation with such a list, for him to be asking for an additional name, a name that was not on the list, took me aback a little. Then he said General Afrifa," Rawlings added, refusing to disclose the name of the general.
Rawlings explained that this officer convinced him by stating, “Afrifa had been advanced a good lot of money to wage a campaign against Acheampong’s union government and instead of using that money for that purpose,...he used the money to edge out Paa Willie [William Ofori-Atta] and took over the leadership of that party…so I kept quiet collected the list and went away and did what I had to do.”
When asked whether General Afrifa’s name was added to the list, Rawlings stated: “it was obvious that his name would have to be added, because we would have to make some serious sacrifices and the guiltier you are, the easier you could be”.
A "naïve" Rawlings would later understand the politics at the time, he gave an alibi.
Rawlings explained that what the said General told him about Afrifa could very well be true, “however, I think he wanted that man out of the way because he felt upstaged by General Afrifa by virtue of the 1966 coup. Until then, he thought he was a rising star, the point man for Western Intelligence Organizations."
“When we compiled the list, none of us had Afrifa in mind. But when you hold such a General in awe and you’re just a young officer flashed into a situation like this and people have to go...it is not illogical.”
2. NDC unveils 2020 campaign team
The leadership of the party inaugurated a 26- member campaign team
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has inaugurated a 26- member campaign team for the December 7, 2020, general elections.
Former Vice-Chancellor of the University for Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Professor Joshua Alabi would lead the campaign team.
Professor Alabi shall be assisted by two deputies namely; Peter Boamah Otokunor (Deputy General Secretary of the NDC) and Mr Alex Segbefia, who is a former Minister of Health and the current Director of International Relations of the NDC.
The ceremony which was held at the party’s head office at Adabraka on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, was attended by the party’s leader and flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama.
President Mahama, at the inauguration ceremony, expressed his utmost confidence in the ability of the team to deliver the much needed victory for the NDC and Ghanaians who are hungry for change.
In his address, the Campaign Manager assured the Flag bearer (John Mahama) and the NDC of the team’s full commitment to the task ahead. He said they shall work tirelessly to deliver a resounding victory for the NDC and bring former President Mahama back to power.
Prominent among the campaign team are the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Johnson Asiedu Nketia (General Secretary), Sammy Gyamfi ( National Communications Officer) and Former Chief of staff Julius Debrah.
Other members of the team include; Kofi Totobi Quakyi, Haruna Iddrisu, Hudu Yahaya; George Opare Addo, Sam Pee Yalley, Valerie Sawyer; Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Victor Smith, Joshua Akamba, Dr. Hannah Louisa Bissiw, Alhaji Mohammed Mamah, Samuel Sarpong; Dr. Nana Ama Brown Klutse and Julius Yaw Cobbinah.
3. Police arrests nine for disrupting registration exercise
The Accra Regional Police Command has arrested two persons who disrupted the registration exercise.
Seven of their accomplices who tried freeing whilst police was sending them to the police station have also been arrested.
DSP (DSP) Effia Tenge, Head of the Public Affairs Unit of the Command told these to the Ghana News Agency.
She explained that whilst the registration was on-going at the E.P Church registration Centre, Accra New Town, two young men, whose names were not readily available, after a fight were found wielding machetes at the Centre.
They were therefore apprehended by the police personnel on duty but their colleagues numbering seven crossed the police patrol team who were transporting them to the police station.
She said they forcibly took the two suspects away, but police overpowered them and arrested all the nine.
All the suspects have been charged and will appear before court on Monday, July 13, 2020.
4. Politicians to use technology to reach out to electorates – IT Experts
Mr Kwami Ahiabenu II of Technology Innovation Experts
Mr Kwami Ahiabenu II of Technology Innovation Experts has postulated that in the era of global COVID-19 pandemic, the new digital technologies are now indispensable for the conduct of Election 2020.
“Ghanaian politicians desirous of reaching out to the electorate with their campaign messages must turn to the use of technology in order to reach out to voters. Today COVID-19 has raised the issue of Public health and the need to follow preventive restriction.
“Limiting face-to-face contact plus the need for adhering to physical distancing means face to face interactions are being replaced with virtual opportunities – Virtual Campaigns,” Mr Ahiabenu stated at a public political education forum in Accra.
The Public Education Platform: webinar was on the theme: “Using the Virtual Public Space for the 2020 Elections Campaign,” was created by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) to discuss the usage of the virtual space for campaign.
The main objective of the IDEG virtual forum is to promote responsible virtual election campaigning and contribute to achieving peaceful elections with credible outcomes in the face of the restrictions brought about by COVID-19.
Mr Ahiabenu, who was a panelists, noted that COVID-19 has brought significant changes across all spectrums of our lives, democracy is being tested, as over 50 countries have postponed local or national elections with more to follow.
He said in spite of the restrictions, technology was creating opportunities for coping with this pandemic, though it comes with challenges which include how to police, control and regulate this growing virtual electoral space.
He said the power of the Internet and social media as a tool for political mobilization was now established as a means to locate and communicate with voters, fundraising, virtual events ( campaign rallies, town hall meetings) door to door (target one to one interaction/messaging), call to action, and debates.
Mr Ahiabenu noted that despite the mass movement towards all media strategy, current regulatory framework in the country was not up to the task, stressing that digital platforms were not subject to the current rules.
“Any formal regulation of online/social media spaces is very complex- underlying structure of the Internet is premised on openness and inherent lack of a central control.
“Trade-off between regulation, censorship and maintaining freedom of speech remains a thorny issue,” he stated.
He therefore urged civil society to instigate a process, culminating in political parties, and candidates pledging to adhere to best practices in virtual spaces throughout the electoral cycle, while advocating for self-regulation.
He charged civil society to mount campaigns – to protect freedom of speech in the light of any regulations or laws.
Mr Ahiabenu also called on regulatory agencies, to investigate ways they could extend and support regulations in virtual spaces through public discourse, whiles the Electoral Commission should have a policy of zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour by candidates/parties.
He also charged the media to work towards setting good examples and providing education and information, hold political parties, and candidates to account and ensure self-regulation.
Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, IDEG Executive Director, noted that the virtual media space have now become a safer, powerful and more important medium for political party campaigns for Ghana’s 2020 national elections.
He said COVID-19 had knocked out large size public campaign rallies amidst political parties and election candidates will now have to rely extensively on the media, both traditional and new media to carry their messages across to the voting public.
5. Party management lapses making vigilantism fight difficult - STRANEK
Policy think tank the Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK-AFRICA) has blamed the attitude and posturing of political party leaders as one of the main and contributing causes of political vigilantism.
According to the think tank, “this is because the posturing of the leadership of a political party, is in itself reflective of the psyche and how it intends to orient its members (its membership management style).
This has become worrying, especially when access to the national cake appears to be tied to one’s contribution to the course of a political party prior to winning elections. Youth who have nothing to give but could display sheer show of bravado and machoism are directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously oriented and recruited to undertake offensive attacks on political opponents or carry out the wishes and directions of party leaders'” it said in a statement.
It said: “Even though Section 2 (1) of the Political Parties Law Act 574, (2000) states that “subject to the Constitution, every citizen of voting age has the right to participate in political activity intended to influence the composition and policies of the government”, oftentimes, the activities of these vigilante groups threaten the lives of innocent Ghanaians to the extent that some are prevented from voting whiles some have had to refrain from voting (disenfranchised) to save their lives or avoid trouble, especially in swing constituencies. In most cases, the strongholds of opposing political parties are not left out.”
Read the full statement below
INCREASED VIGILANTISM: A SYMPTOM OF PARTY MEMBERSHIP MANAGEMENT LAPSES AND THE WAY FORWARD-STRANEK-Africa
The inception of the 1992 constitution which ushered Ghana into its 4th Republican Democracy, saw the emergence of vibrant political parties such as the National Democratic Congress (a coalition of the National Democratic Congress, National Convention Party and Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere), the New Patriotic Party, People’s National Party, National Independence Party and People’s Heritage Party.
The aftermath of the 1992 elections has similarly, witnessed the birth, death and amalgamation of political parties to present today Ghana and some of which include, People’s National Convention, Convention People’s Party, United Ghana Movement et cetera and lately, the Progressive People’s Party plus the National Democratic Party using the 2016 general elections as the yardstick.
Very significant to this strategic document is the mention that “Ghana’s 4th Republic has not been spared the menace of political vigilante groups”, an “in-house approved” but publicly denied unofficial wing of unguarded political party youth groups.
Following a consensus reached by the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at a stakeholder dialogue meeting mediated by the Ghana Peace Council, a wave of hope clouded Ghana’s political atmosphere. At least, for the first time, the country has seen a collaborative effort by the two dominant political parties (NDC and NPP) in the drafting and hopefully, the passing into law of what is now known as the “Vigilante and Related Offences Act, 2019”.
It is evident that political parties since Ghana’s independence have engaged the services of youth groups in various ways. Mention can be made of the Convention People’s Party ‘Veranda Boys’ (pacesetters of youth activism in Ghana), important machinery employed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana’s first president) in the run-up to Ghana’s independence.
Such youth groups have metamorphosed into modern-day political vigilante groups. Similarly, under the pre-4th Republic Constitution, Ghana witnessed similar groups such as the “Mobisquad”, Committee for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR), Workers Defence Committees (WDCs), Peoples Defence Committees (PDCs) who were trained and equipped to defend the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).
Even though this bold step (Vigilante and Related Offences Act, 2019) deserves to be applauded, it is the position of STRANEK-Africa that the passage into law and even the effective enforcement of this Act would likely turn out to be a one off “window dressing”, whiles unknowingly ignoring the root course of this menace (vigilante Group activities).
It is, therefore, the position of STRANEK-Africa that the emergence and threat of increased Political Vigilantism to Ghana’s National Security and its democratic regime, is only but a symptom of Party Membership Management Lapses by political parties in Ghana. The goal of this policy document, therefore, is to contribute and provide informed policy proposal on how improved Management of Political Party Membership in Ghana will help curb the threat of political vigilantism in Ghana.
Attitude and Posturing of Political Party Leaders in Ghana
The attitude and posturing of political party leaders in Ghana appear to be one of the main and contributing cause of political vigilantism. This is because the posturing of the leadership of a political party, is in itself reflective of the psyche and how it intends to orient its members (its membership management style). This has become worrying, especially when access to the national cake appears to be tied to one’s contribution to the course of a political party prior to winning elections.
Youth who have nothing to give but could display sheer show of bravado and machoism are directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously oriented and recruited to undertake offensive attacks on political opponents or carry out the wishes and directions of party leaders. Even though Section 2 (1) of the Political Parties Law Act 574, (2000) states that “subject to the Constitution, every citizen of voting age has the right to participate in political activity intended to influence the composition and policies of the government”, oftentimes, the activities of these vigilante groups threaten the lives of innocent Ghanaians to the extent that some are prevented from voting whiles some have had to refrain from voting (disenfranchised) to save their lives or avoid trouble, especially in swing constituencies. In most cases, the strongholds of opposing political parties are not left out.
Not only has this posturing lured these youth into acts of political vigilantism but have also emboldened them to act with impunity regardless of the law enforcement system in place, because there is hope in sight for them. This hope insight comes in the forms of political parties organizing mass number of supporters to solidarize with these perpetrators/agents and sometimes promising them juicy packages and assignments (joining the Police Service, National Security, BNI et cetera) when the party wins elections. A typical example is the posturing of the Deputy General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Obiri Boahen, in relation to the compiling of the ‘New Voters Register’.
Speaking on Dadi 101.1FM and responding to the position of the NDC on the compilation of the ‘New Voters Register’ on 13th May 2020, Nana Obiri Boahen warned that “Stay home if you don’t agree to the compilation of the new register because anyone who tries to disrupt the exercise will be beaten. We will beat you mercilessly. What happened in Ayawaso is just a tip of the iceberg”. Similarly, David Prah, the Eastern Regional Communication Director for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), during an interview on Happy 98.9 FM’s program ‘Epa Hoa Daben’ on 19th March 2020 said, “we have asked our people to beat anyone who attempts to disrupt the process.
The lawlessness of the NDC is within their party only and cannot transcend outside the NDC. Anyone who thinks he can put the law into his hands and disrupt the process should know that, we in the Eastern region will beat them”. On the other side, on 16th November 2019, NDC Member of Parliament for Kintampo South, Felicia Adjei, with the help of heavily built macho men assaulted and disrupted the mass registration exercise being carried out by the National Identification Authority (NIA) in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions. Same can be said about Mr. Bernard Mornah’s (National Chairman of the PNC) rhetoric during the Inter-Party Resistance against New Voters Register press conference on May 26, 2020, in Accra.
Mr. Bernard Mornah’s is reprted to have said “People, who are already Ghanaians and already registered and going to be taken out of the voters register, don’t you think confusion will come at the registration station and if confusion comes there, you think the EC staff will be safe. We will beat each other there. We will kill each other there if that is what the EC want to lead this nation to”.
Before you attempt to downplay the posturing of these political actors, remember, these are significant actors with a very significant influence on the behaviour and actions of their party members. It is, therefore, the position of STRANEK-Africa that the communication strategy (an important membership management tool) of these political parties, reflects peace and not militant as we approach the 2020 General Elections. This is because the “how” and “what” political parties’ and its leaders communicate to its members can either incite, encourage and embolden unsuspecting youth to engage in political vigilantism with impunity.
Director of Policy and Political Affairs
+47 412 45 303
Nii Tettey Tetteh
+233 559 042 914
6. 39 workers of Food and Drugs Authority test positive for coronavirus
Thirty-nine (39) staff of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) have tested positive for Coronavirus out of staff strength of 450.
This was captured in a statement issued by the Authority.
According to the FDA, the staff who tested positive have been asked to self-isolate.
FDA says despite this new development, it shall continue to render its services to the public.
“The general public is assured that despite this unfortunate development, the FDA shall continue to effectively execute its mandate as a regulatory agency to register and enforce the important, manufacture, distribution and sale of safe and quality products, especially PPEs, Face Masks, Sanitizers, Medicines, Food as well as other medical devices which are now more than ever in the vital fight against COVID-19,” the statement reads.
Read the full statement below:
Please don't forget to like, share, comment, and follow me for more breaking news in Ghana everyday. Thank you.
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