Still In Town …

Two weeks ago I told you, dear reader, that I was going to town. As you might have read, I started my journey, but I had to interrupt it last week to visit the Supreme Court where the mess caused by Betty Mould-Iddrisu and Ebo Barton-Odro was appropriately rectified when the hero of our time, Martin Amidu, won a favourable judgement for us all in the Woyome case.

I’m back in town this week and I must say I’m shocked by the pronouncements and actions of some state officials.

In Kumasi, I heard that Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Kofi Boakye, “has warned NPP and NDC to refrain from hiring thugs to visit the centres for the ongoing limited voter registration exercise in the region (Ashanti).” He is quoted to have added emphatically that “it is unlawful for anybody to visit the registration centres with stoutly-built persons popularly called macho men.”

I’m wondering which of our national laws debars stoutly-built people from going to voter registration centres. The focus must not be strongly built, but those who go to the registration centres to cause confusion and act in any unlawful manner. The warning must be focussed and properly referenced to have meaning and support.

When Kofi Boakye had his problem with the cocaine case which caused his interdiction, many of us expressed concern and fought in different ways to get him cleared and re-instated. Since then many of us have fallen in love with his action-oriented style of policing, but it appears to me he is getting swollen-headed.

He recently described a demonstration in Kumasi in a very derogatory term, thinking he is an authority over everybody. A demonstration which had no single starting point but rather had demonstrators coming from different locations cannot be described as chaotic or disorganised simply because they did not assemble at one point before they started. Effective policing demands that police officers adopt appropriate methods and strategies for every situation instead of just trampling on the rights of the citizenry with their myopic views and interpretations.

Kofi Boakye cannot warn any political party or persons in the language he did in Kumasi. He must begin to learn that he is not the only police commander in the country who is working. When he resumed duty in Kumasi, his initial utterances clearly indicated that his predecessor, DCOP Augustine Kwabena Gyenning, was asleep as regional commander, but the fact is that Gyenning did his best during his time in the Ashanti Region.

And who does Vincent Oppong Asamoah think he is? As a deputy minister of sports, does he think he has all the power in the world to dictate how journalists should work? Does he not feel ashamed of all the mess that took place in Glasgow in the Team Ghana camp during the Commonwealth games? And despite that he had the audacity to stop the payment of the per diem of two Ghana News Agency (GNA) journalists, William Dodzie and William Fiabu, who were covering the games, simply because the journalists were being professional and reporting what was going on and not what he wanted them to report.

Sometimes we don’t blame people like Oppong Asamoah because no matter what they do as ministers of state they would continue to be in office and continue to be of disservice to the nation. This is the reason he could do what he did and would have no shame. We wait to see what the Presidency would do on this act of Oppong Asamoah.

If our parliamentary vetting is anything to write about, there are many of the people who have become ministers since 1992 who would never have been ministers. For us, our parties are of much importance than Ghana, hence we all consider party interests first, and that is the case with our parliamentarians.

The media is no extension of any ministry, and ministers of state and other government officials must begin to understand this. In the UK, the BBC Political Editor travels with the Prime Minister in the same plane but criticises the Prime Minister in his stories and nobody questions the journalist as far as the story is professionally done. This can never happen in Ghana; very sad!

So Alfred Oko Vanderpuije is not ashamed that, as the Mayor of Accra, he and his assembly, after all the talk and noise, saw refuse mounting in almost all parts of Accra but did nothing, leading to the outbreak of cholera in the city.

Elsewhere, he would have resigned or been sacked. But here we go again with the same old story – very soon he may even get promotion to a higher position.

And what is Ebo Barton-Odro saying? Hundred times he will insist that Ghana has no case in the GH¢51.2 million Woyome case. If he has any shame, he would resign as the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament because he has not got the interest of Ghana at heart and he is not fit to occupy that position.

As a former deputy Attorney-General who messed up, if I were Barton-Odro I would keep my mouth shut on the case after the Supreme Court ruling. Oh Ghana, when can we have a functional democracy where people like Barton-Odro would have been kicked out of Parliament and sent to court by now?

Everything that goes up will definitely come down, and I’m sure there will be a time one day to question the actions of people like Barton-Odro.

PS: Is the Ghana Police Service being responsive to the citizenry or it believes it is above the law? What about its Public Relations Department? This is the 30th week this column has sought answers from the Inspector-General of Police over the unlawful killing of Adjei Akpor, the 22-year-old man his men killed at Adenta on January 6, 2014, but both the IGP and the Police Service have not deemed it fit to respond, neither has the service instituted any enquiry.

The widow and children of the deceased deserve justice and we shall continue this fight until the IGP and his service behave as a modern police service that is responsive to the public. One lawyer has graciously offered to take up this case, but the family needs funding for the court fees. Meanwhile, we still await other human rights lawyers to join in fighting this case for the defenceless family, as well as philanthropists to donate to cater for the court filing and other fees.