Some aggrieved men said to be members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) have vandalised state properties at the Bawku West District Assembly over speculations that a candidate they dislike has been nominated as District Chief Executive.
The group, alleged to be loyalists of one of the three candidates vying for the DCE position in the area, appeared without warning on the premises of the assembly around 6:30pm Tuesday, wielding sticks, machetes and rocks. They marched upstairs, turned furniture upside down inside the 4-storey building and smashed up desktop computers, louvered windows and doors among other things found in their way.
Reports also indicate that the rioting men, most of whom were in NPP-branded white shirts, later stormed the NPP’s office at Zebilla, the district capital, and visited another havoc on the structure there. Minutes after the group had left their first port of attack, officials of the assembly raced to the military base in Bawku for intervention.
The private residence of the Member of Parliament for Zebilla, Frank Fuseini, who is also the Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, was not spared in the string of attacks. Party executives confirmed that the gates to his house were vandalised.
It is not clear yet how the MP is linked to the anger the men vented on their targets Tuesday. Police in the troubled district confirmed the development to Starr News after dispersing the angry men from the roads where they had also set tyres on fire to underscore their rage about the said nomination.
Military reinforcement as things got worse
The rampage, according to eyewitnesses, degenerated to a level where military reinforcement was called for from the Bazua Garrisons. More military men and police officers were also deployed from Bawku to quell the disturbances.
“I received a phone call this evening around 5:30 that some youths were mobilising to vandalise the party office because they have overheard that they are going to nominate somebody in which they are not in agreement. So, I was trying to take more information. Not quite long, I was told they were in the party office. I quickly went to the police station to inform the commander. The commander was not there.
“I went to the commander’s house. When I got there, the coordinating director was already there. He said they (the men) just left the assembly, throwing things. I was told they moved from the party office to the MP’s house. I got to the MP’s house and his gates were broken. I couldn’t get to the party office because I was told they were burning tyres. So, I went straight to the house. As I speak now, I’m still in the house,” the Zebilla Constituency Organiser, Daniel Anania, told Starr News in a telephone interview.
A zonal research officer of the party, who did not want his name mentioned, narrated: “The constituency chairman himself was not even in town. The men scattered the town because they made a nomination they are not happy about. They have destroyed a lot of things. I went with the constituency organiser to the BNI man’s house and the District Police Commander’s house. They went to the MP’s house, poured petrol at the entrance and set fire there.”
Zebilla is not the only constituency in the Upper East region with outbursts over rumoured nominations of some MDCE candidates against the preferred choices of some groups within the ruling party.
There have been open protests also in Bongo, Bawku and some areas among the region’s 3 municipalities and 10 districts. In the instances seen before now, agitated groups within the party had resorted to a news conference to route their grievances to appropriate quarters.
Zebilla’s ‘cutlass conference’ is the first violent outpouring of frustrations the entire region has recorded so far on rumoured MDCE nominations. Whilst the disturbing latest development may suggest that what angered the rampaging men at Zebilla may have sounded more unbearable than what provoked the earlier peaceful protests in the other constituencies, development watchers have their opinions that the Tuesday’ disturbances in the Bawku West District, which came only hours after the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, reportedly had met with all MDCE candidates to strengthen the ties that bind the party together in the region, could be pointing at probably worse future reactions ahead, after the President’s nominees finally have been publicly announced.