General News of Wednesday, 11 June 2003
Source: Network Herald
KUMASI, the capital of Ashanti and the surest bet of the ruling NPP is reeling under fears and apprehensions of an NDC demonstration of the size that marched through Accra during the “March For Survival” last month. What is obvious so far is that the police in the metropolis are treating NDC officials to a hide-and-seek game and equivocations on approved dates for the march to be dubbed “kafo didi.” They claim that latest frustrating signal which has all the trappings of intimidation is the regularity of threatening telephone calls to officials of the NDC in the city.
Presently, even die-hard NPP supporters have received the explanation from the police that the march which was scheduled for today has had to be postponed because it coincides with the start of a three-week special security exercise to be undertaken in the region with a pinch of salt and lent credibility to apprehensions from NDC party executives in the region that there could be more to it than meets the eye.
They see the repeat postponement of the event by the Kumasi police as “pay back” time for their masters in Accra who are bent on sabotaging the march because their investigations have revealed that the Police in Kumasi are acting on “Instructions from Accra”.
”This is a serious frustration which has political undertones,” says Sly Akapovie the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NDC. Already, the Regional Chairman of the party Emmanuel Nti-Fordjour says he has received four anonymous calls that have warned of burning down his printing house if he leads the demonstration.
The Police have not fixed a new date for the demonstration either but Mr. Akapovie maintained that his party would use all legal means to ensure that the demonstration comes off. For the second time, the Ashanti Regional Police Administration informed the party last week that the date it had fixed for the march was inappropriate. The NDC Regional Chairman said the position of the police was conveyed to members of the party after he personally went to demand a response to a letter they officially sent the police informing them about the intended march on Thursday, June 5.
He said although the police made their position clear, they still requested that “we come over the next day to meet the Regional Commander to discuss the issue further.” Unfortunately, on the said day when some officials of the party went to the Regional Police Administration they were only informed that the police regional commander was indisposed and could not see them.
He said they were instead asked to call at his office yesterday June 9 for a discussion. Mr. Nti-Fordjour said the leadership and rank and file of the party were getting disappointed at the tricks being employed by the police to ‘frustrate and kill off’ the protest march.
As a last resort, therefore, the regional executive of the NDC would make a formal protest to the Inspector-General of Police about the “unfair manner we are being treated by the regional police administration”.
The NDC’s street demonstration scheduled to have followed the largely successful Accra event was first scheduled for May 29 but called off due to a disagreement between the party and the police on the route for the march.