Aggrieved supporters of the ruling National Democratic (NDC) in the Upper West and East regions have been on rampage over the latest ministerial reshuffle which saw their regional ministers ousted.
The NDC supporters yesterday carried their threat of embarking on a violent demonstration to protest against President John Dramani Mahama’s relieving of the Upper West Regional Minister, Bede Ziedeng and his Upper East counterpart, Dr. Ephraim Avea Nsoh of their posts.
The rampaging NDC supporters, after destroying party property in Wa, the Upper West regional capital, issued a stern warning to President Mahama to stay clear of the region until their concerns have been addressed.
Agitations by supporters of dismissed ministers have been a bargaining tool for the re-engagement of such ministers as a demonstration by the people of Wassa Akropong in the Western Region caused the re-assignment of Akwasi Oppong-Fosu, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations – replacing ageing Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei.
Bede Ziedeng was sacked in the latest ministerial reshuffle on Sunday with his supporters on Monday issuing a three-day ultimatum to the President to reverse the decision. He was subsequently replaced with Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, Minister of Roads and Highways.
A violent demonstration on Thursday saw the youth defacing some portraits of President Mahama at the NDC Regional Secretariat.
They also took to the principal streets, burning lorry tyres and threatening mayhem if their concerns were not immediately addressed.
A visit to the regional party headquarters revealed that the paintings on the entire building were vandalised and replaced with inscriptions such as ‘No Bede, No JM’, ‘JM why Hamidu again?’ among many others.
Armed police managed to dispel the youth but they (youth) resurfaced at the Wa Central constituency and visited similar acts of mayhem on the constituency office, defacing the portraits of the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Rashid Pelpuo.
The Regional NDC Youth Secretariat was not spared either as more angry youth joined in the fray and vented their spleen on the structures.
The outgoing Minister, Bede Ziedeng, a former general secretary of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) who landed the job following his rejoining of the NDC and his Deputy Minister, Abu Kabiebata Kansangbata, who later visited the area, condemned the actions of the youth and distanced themselves from their rowdy conduct. They appealed to the police to apprehend those behind the criminal act.
According to Mr. Ziedeng, they had the right to disagree with the President but the use of violence in drumming home their concerns was against the law, reminding them that appointments and dismissals were the sole prerogative of the President.
He therefore directed the police to fish out the perpetrators of the demonstration and make them face the full rigours of the law to serve as a deterrent to other defiant supporters who felt they could go about destroying properties and get away with it.
Bongo Chides Mahama
On Wednesday June 11, the Bongo constituency executives of the NDC and a large number of supporters at a press conference, threatened to pay the NDC leadership and President Mahama back in their own coin come 2016, if the dismissal of Dr. Ephraim Avea Nsoh was not reversed.
James Zuugah Tiigah, currently with Ghana’s Permanent Mission to the UN, was named Minister-designate for the Upper East Region, replacing Dr. Avea Nsoh. However, this has not gone down well with the people, some of whom were seen breaking down Mahama billboards.
According to the Bongo executives and their colleagues from other constituencies, in the event of President Mahama and his government failing to rectify this “mistake”, they could not guarantee the continued commitment and support the party had enjoyed.
Dr. Avea Nsoh’s dismissal was described as ‘painful’.
The MP for Bongo, Albert Abongo, had enjoyed the
loyalty of the people; and that even when he could not use his position as the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing to initiate an extension of pipe borne water to Bongo, majority of the people in the constituency voted for the NDC.
The Bongo executive said Dr. Avea Nsoh had shown preparedness to work hard to attract development projects into the region.
They described Dr. Avea’s decision to draw a development plan for the region as a laudable idea that had never happened in the history of the area; and should have been left in office to start executing his plans.
Since the news about his dismissal broke out, Dr. Nsoh has
attracted a lot of sympathy from various groups through radio interviews and press conferences.
Many residents think the President has been listening to wrong counsel and so has been taking wrong decisions in connection with his appointments and changing of regional ministers.
Recently, a former constituency youth for the People’s National
Convention (PNC), Johnson Ayine, said President Mahama decided to sacrifice Dr. Avea to please another person, knowing very well that the Bongo Constituency would always support the NDC – even if the party disappointed them hundred times.