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Politics of Saturday, 25 July 2020


Sammi Awuku seen with Hawa Koomson after gunshot incident

National Organiser of the NPP, Sammi Awuku spotted with Mavis Hawa Koomson, minister National Organiser of the NPP, Sammi Awuku spotted with Mavis Hawa Koomson, minister

It is becoming clear that, nothing will happen to the Special Development Initiatives Minister, over her gun-firing incident this week, despite a groundswell of public opinion from individuals, religious groups, civil society organizations and professional bodies, calling on her to either resign or be fired by President Akufo-Addo.

In what appears to be a rescue mission by the National Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sammi Awuku, he had been seen touring the Awutu Senya East (Kasoa) Constituency in the company of the beleaguered Mavis Hawa Koomson, monitoring the ongoing voters' registration exercise.

The exercise by the Electoral Commission (EC), had gotten the minister moving around the Constituency with armed thugs, and personally shooting into buildings.

The gunshots forced a poor grandmother to abandon her pot of banku, rushing to save herself and grandkids. Three motorbikes were also burnt by Hawa Koomson's thugs in the process.

The heavy condemnation and boos Hawa Koomson received from all quarters, following the incident at the Step to Christ registration center at the Awutu Senya East in the Central Region, sent her into hibernation, until she was spotted with the NPP National Organizer, on Friday, again touring the Constituency.

After the tour, Mr Awuku, took to his facebook page with pictures and wrote "We continued our monitoring of the ongoing Voter Registration Exercise in Awutu Senya East (Kasoa), Efutu, Cape Coast and other parts of the Central Region today! Kudos to our Parliamentary Candidates, Party Executives and Our Agents for their resilience and vigilance so far. #GETINVOLVED #GETREGISTERED #4MORE4NANA".

The NPP National Organiser is not the only one solidarizing with the minister known for her uncouth behaviour and vile language.

The NPP National Chairman, had also defended the minister, describing her as one of the calmest female representatives of the party in Parliament, who cannot be tagged as a violent person.

According to Freddie Blay, calls by National Peace Council, Christian Council, IMANI Ghana, OccupyGhana, political actors, journalists, security experts among others for the sacking of the minister, because she fired a gun at a voter registration centre, is "absolutely needless", adding that such calls should be "totally disregarded".

"It is most worrying to see different groups expected to be more objective in their submissions, rather fall for the propaganda and misrepresentation of the opposition NDC in relations to the matter."

"With the unfolding evidence and facts surrounding the incident, it is clear that her actions were in self-defence to the unwarranted attacks on her and her team by masked motorists invited by the NDC to disrupt the EC registration process in her constituency," he said.

"There is no evidence of any sort that can suggest her to be a violent individual, even in the face of extreme provocation."

Mr Blay, a lawyer by profession and former MP for Ellembelle in the Western Region, further suggested that her critics were being insensitive.

"They have failed to evaluate the extent of fear and trauma this lady, mother and leader had experienced following the siege on her by sufficiently outnumbered armed hooligans hired by the NDC to disrupt the EC registration process."

Hawa Koomson, has claimed she was acting in self-defence by firing the warning shots during a confrontation between her people and some members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the registration centre, but the questions have been asked about the reason behind her people burning of the three motorbikes.

Interestingly, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, another leading member of the NPP and a cousin of President Akufo-Addo, has also gone to the defense of under-fire minister of Special Initiatives, saying she fired the gunshots at the registration center because she wanted to scare away some people who were out to bully her.

In a post on Facebook, Gabby, who is a lawyer, said he can't criticize Hawa Koomson, because she sought to only defend herself.

He wrote: "In this male-dominated world of politics, I struggle to find serious fault against a woman MP, who decides to stand up to alleged bullies and she does by not pointing her gun at them, but firing in the air".

"It is easy for you and I to feel she overreacted. She probably did. I will not doubt that. She probably panicked. Many of us have a licensed gun which we carry in our glove compartment and we pray to never feel the need to use it".

"I am very uncomfortable joining the bandwagon to go after a woman who used a weapon, not to harm any person, but to scare away people he felt could harm her and others. I am looking at the level of venom in the attacks she is receiving. I wonder if there is a subtle misogynism at play here. This is not to say I endorse any threat of violence whether in self-defense or not by or against man or woman".

"My problem is that when it comes to the affairs of the few women in our frontline politics my instinct is to side with them until otherwise convinced. So far, I am still trusting my instinct,"

Characteristics of her, Communications Minister, who will defend anything an NPP member does, indeed, declared her fullest support for Hawa Koomson, the Ewutu Senya East MP over her registration centre gangsterism.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful,Ã? ?Ã? in a tweet on Friday, said the Special Development Initiatives Minister, was only defending herself at a time she felt threatened.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, who is also a lawyer by profession and doubles as MP for Ablekuma West, stressed that Ms Koomson has the right to self-defence and she exercised that right, when some people alleged to be NDC, threatened her life.

"I stand with Hawa Koomson. If I had a gun on me in April 2012 when NDC [National Democratic Congress] sponsored thugs attacked me in Odododiodio, I would have shot them to protect myself. I didn't and the rest is history," her tweet read.

The NPP's Director of Communication, Lawyer Yaw Buaben Asamoa, who is also MP for Adenta, also defended the Awutu Senya East MP, while speaking on ''Kokrokoo'' on Peace FM, he asked what Hawa Koomson's crime is.

To him, there should be a cause for a woman to fire gunshots at a place like a registration centre, and cautioned the NDC not to pre-empt investigations by the Police, stressing Hawa Koomson deserves a hearing.

''What crime has Hawa committed? Have we concluded the investigations? How do you claim she is a criminal? Where from the big insults on her? Why can't they wait patiently for the findings? When she goes for the Police interrogation and she is found culpable, the Police can deal with her but what if the investigations check out that she was indeed telling the truth?'', he questioned.

Meanwhile, the Central Regional Police Command has retrieved the gun fired by the Special Development Minister, after they invited her to file her statement.

The Police retrieved the weapon and ammunition together with the license on Thursday. It was preceded by the release of four suspects namely; Sulley Razak, Majeed Amadu, Suleman Yusuf and Razak Musa on bail. They have been provisionally charged with disruption of the process, discharge of firearms without authority and causing unlawful damage.

Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Police Service in the Central Region, DSP Irene Oppong, disclosed this after the interrogation.

"We are in possession of her gun, ammunition and the accompanying licence. The case docket is no more here at the Cape Coast regional CID but at the headquarters in Accra," she said.

But it is unlikely the minister will be charged too although she has admitted she fired the gun.

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