Ayariga In Trouble

Mahama AyarigaPRESIDENTIAL spokesperson Mahama Ayariga is facing a tongue-lashing from citizens of Bawku for allegedly fomenting trouble in the area, leading to the recent deaths in the town.

A group known as the Bawku Youth Development Association yesterday accused the Presidential Spokesperson of using his position in government to instigate the recent disturbances in the town, which had led to the death of two persons, including an officer of the Ghana National Fire Service.

“He is not a beacon of peace because his activities in the Bawku Municipality are inimical to the fragile peace in the area,” the youth fired Ayariga, appealing to President Atta Mills to call his spokesperson to order “so as to prevent him from pursuing a selfish political agenda to the detriment of the delicate peace in Bawku and its environs”.

Ayariga, who had apparently abandoned his duty post in Accra to campaign for a non-existent parliamentary seat in the area, was said to be distributing materials ostensibly to win votes if the seat which was a subject of litigation, eventually became vacant.

He was said to have been provided with heavy security by the military in his campaign tours, about which John Akparibo Ndebugre, former MP for Zebilla, had earlier warned him before the recent renewed violence leading to the death of two people.

Mr Ndebugre had urged President Mills to call his spokesman to order because his presence in the area was causing trouble.

A day after the former Zebilla MP’s warning, two residents were killed, but Ayariga said they were victims of robbery incidents when no investigations had been carried out.

However, it turned out that the deaths resulted from a renewed clash in the festering Bawku conflict.

Addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday, the youth group vehemently blamed Mr. Ayariga for disseminating false information to the people that there was an impending by-election this month in the Bawku Central constituency and distributing political campaign gifts to constituents amid heavy military and police protection under the guise of sharing relief items to the people.

“We are most appalled by the fact that he is being given heavy security to go round the constituency to campaign with the so-called relief items amidst tension in the Municipality when there is no by-election,” the spokesperson for the youth group, Abdul-Razak Wuni, lamented.

“Since when has Mahama Ayariga become a NADMO boss or a Municipal Chief Executive to be distributing relief items?” a member of the group, Adam Issah Zangbeo quizzed.

He also denied receiving some of the items allegedly presented to him as the Bawku Central Constituency Secretary of the NPP by Mr. Ayariga as being alleged.

According to him, the Presidential Spokesperson did not have any moral justification for his actions even if he claimed to be a native of the area and therefore had the legitimate right to help his people, as he had never done so in more trying times even when he was a Member of Parliament for the area.

Ayariga’s alleged actions, according to the spokesperson of the group, Abdul-Razak Wuni, is “wrong, illegitimate and is creating unprecedented tensions in our already volatile constituency since to the best of our knowledge and that of the Ghanaian public, there has not been any declaration of a vacant seat in our constituency”.

He stressed that the pronouncements were subtle attempts to prejudice the outcome of the Bawku case, which was pending in court and the political campaign being waged by the Presidential Spokesperson would further aggravate the violence and simmering tensions in Bawku.

“We appeal to Mahama Ayariga to give peace a chance to save women and children in the Bawku Municipality.

There is no by-election there and therefore he should stop campaigning to avoid needless provocations,” a group of women pleaded at the news conference.

The Bawku Central Constituency seat has been the subject of litigation in court following a writ filed at an Accra Fast Track High Court by a cattle breeder, Sumaila Bielbiel, who is challenging the eligibility of the incumbent MP, Adamu Daramani-Sakande and political pundits are worried that any pre-emptive actions or comments by individuals, especially government officials, would be grossly prejudicial to the matter and eventually disturb the peace in the area.

Presenting what the youth group described as the abuse of official power, Abdul-Razak Wuni further accused the Presidential Spokesperson of using the “controversial (five) tractors he acquired to plough Mamprusi farms for Kusasis to cultivate. We are wondering if they have any regard for the 1984 Minyillah Committee on farmlands in Bawku”.

All these, according to Wuni, had contributed significantly to the incessant violence and simmering tensions in Bawku, adding that instead of using his position in government to keep the peace in the area, the Presidential Spokesperson was fomenting trouble between Mamprusis and Kusasis.

He said about 40 Mamprusis had been arrested so far following the disturbances in Bawku. They had allegedly been placed in custody without being charged, and “we are inclined to believe that prominent Kusasis in Government are using security agencies as fender against the fragile peace in Bawku.

“We also wish to make it known to the public that the troubles of Bawku always start with a warning signal as such the recent trouble that led to the death of two people were very much anticipated because of the simmering tensions that Mahama Ayariga’s activities in the constituency has generated,” Mr. Wuni pointed out.

According to him, the youth group was particularly worried that the Presidential Spokesperson went on radio hours after the murder of the two persons to claim that it was an armed robbery attack when no investigations had been conducted.

“We do not know if Ayariga has become an investigator who can detect the motive of a murder without visiting the murder scene. His explanation that other people who were shot were hit by stray bullets is most unfortunate since it’s obvious that he did not know what he was talking about,” Mr. Wuni stated.

He called on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to conduct investigations into the human rights abuses in the Bawku killings to assuage the feelings of the people.

By Awudu Mahama