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General News of Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Source: GNA

Police refutes candidate's allegations

Sunyani, Feb. 13, GNA - The National Democratic Congress Parliamentary candidate for Asunafo North constituency, Mohammed Kwaku Doku, has expressed concern over "recent spate of intimidation and harassment of people who express views contrary to that of the ruling New Patriotic Party and its operatives in the constituency".

He said in a statement "We are worried when the state security personnel who are paid by the public to protect them allow themselves to be used by local NPP activists to perpetrate acts of harassment and intimidation against perceived critics of the government."

Mr. Doku alleged that one Kwaku Effah, a final year philosophy student of the University of Ghana, was mercilessly beaten by a fireman who posed as the security assistant to Mr. Robert Sarfo Mensah, MP for Asunafo North, for expressing a divergent opinion at a meeting organized for tertiary students in the constituency.

He also alleged that on February 4, Chief Superintendent Nana Asare, Goaso Divisional Police Commander, in the company of some other police and security operatives "stormed" a local radio station, Success FM at Goaso, "ostensibly to arrest one Michael Kwame Asante, a level 200 political science student of the University of Ghana. Mr Asante was a panel member of the station's morning show, for allegedly expressing his "candid" opinion on issues that appeared in two private newspapers during a newspaper review programme.

Mr. Doku, a former DCE for Asunafo District, said "ironically the two newspapers whose contents were reviewed that day were published, circulated and reviewed in Accra, both in the print and the electronic media but to date none of the editors or publishers of the newspapers have been arrested or invited for questioning." "So whose interest is the police, BNI and fire officers serving in the Asunafo North?" he asked.

Mr Doku said the behaviour of the police and other security personnel in the area would not foster peace and unity in this election year and reminded the police of their constitutional mandate to protect all at all times and must therefore not allow themselves to be used by any political party as agents for harassment.

"The NDC, as a peace and democratic party, shall not allow itself to be intimidated by any person or organization and will fiercely resist all such unlawful attempts this election year", he said. Mr. Doku advised the security operatives, especially the police in the constituency to, in their best interest and the country as a whole, see all, irrespective of party affiliation, as true citizens and allies who deserved equal treatment "if we are to avert any confrontation this election year".

When contacted later by the GNA on telephone Nana Asare refuted the allegations, saying there was no truth in them and that it was unfortunate Mr. Doku was using such vile propaganda in his campaign. He said two activists reported to him that Mr Asante had in a radio discussion made very serious allegations against President Kufuor. He said since he did not listen to the programme he asked an Inspector with an official letter to contact the station's programmes director, Mr. Fiifi Danquah, for a copy of the recorded programme. Nana Asare said he later in the company of two detectives went to the station where the programmes director told him the programme was not recorded so they returned to base. "Even when we went there none of us talked to the said Mr Asante whom none of us knew so how can Doku go to that extent of saying that he was harassed by security operatives? "It's unfortunate that Mr. Doku is using this in his campaign. Nobody even touched Mr Asante and there was no order to arrest anybody", Nana Asare said.

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