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Opinions of Sunday, 16 December 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

The Road to Kigali – Part 3

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The widely reported raiding of the headquarters of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), by members of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), leaves much to be desired and must be unreservedly condemned (See “Bediatuo Insists the Police Raided NPP Office” 12/12/12). The police have released an official statement vehemently denying the aforesaid raid, and rather mischievously insist that, indeed, the raid, which they allege occurred in a building adjacent to the NPP headquarters, is merely being used as a pretext by some key NPP operatives to prejudice the outcome of the intended judicial challenge being mounted by the party.

More significantly, the police also deny having taken away some sheets of paper containing documentary evidence of what key NPP operatives claim to substantiate their allegation regarding the fraudulent declaration of President Mahama as the winner of the December 7, 2012 presidential election. Along with the paper work, the NPP also claims, computer laptops being used to compile and collate evidentiary data were also carried away by the uniformed raiders who had expressly refused to professionally identify themselves.

In American legal parlance, what we have here is called “The word of the NPP against the word of the involved personnel of the Ghana Police Service.” In such a scenario, everything boils down to a simple question of credibility. And in this instance, credibility may be readily established from two angles, namely, circumstantial evidence and the character profiles of the contestants involved.

On the circumstantial level, the membership of the police swat team that claims to only have raided the premises of the La Monte Guest House, which happens to be located next to the headquarters of the New Patriotic Party, has some explaining to do, as it were. There is clearly an element of grave suspicion here, particularly since as it turns out, there was absolutely no truth to the alleged tipoff that some twenty (20) young men had been spotted offloading what appeared to be caches of munitions into the La Monte Guest House.

The police’s claim that the “temper of the times” compelled them to take “cognizance” of the alleged tipoff raises a lot of suspicion, especially since the alleged incident on which the tipoff was based took place in broad daylight. The press release published by the police indicates that the swat team of raiders arrived at the scene of the alleged crime at 5:17 pm.

What the latter means is that the incident being reported likely occurred well before the arrival of the police. If so, and there is absolutely no reason to believe otherwise, then, at least, it stands to reason to assume that the subject of the raid occurred sometime between 3pm and the arrival time of the swat team. It could, of course, have happened a little later.

Whatever the case may be, the suspicious hint of deliberate orchestration with a flagrant motive of intimidation on the part of the police cannot be discounted; more so, when the press release by the police clearly indicates that it was “cognizance of the times” which prompted the police to dispatch a humongous team of some one-hundred (100) armed personnel to swarm the premises of the La Monte Guest House.

In other words, the glaring fact of the La Monte Guest House being located very close to the NPP headquarters, and very likely being the frequent haunt of key NPP operatives, played a major role in both the decision and the magnitude of police personnel dispatched to the scene. If the latter observation has validity, then the police are definitely not telling the public the entire story behind both the motive of the raid and the choice of the location of the same.

Now what we are left with is the legal basis for the raid. The police claim that they were acting on Section 94 of Act 30/60 when they raided the premises of the La Monte Guest House. The latter would make subversive activities or the endangerment of national security the basis of the raid. Significantly, however, even as the distinguished Constitutional Lawyer Nana Asante Bediatuo points out, the patent falsehood of the police’s counterclaim inheres in the very fact of Section 94 of Act 30/60’s expressly dealing with stolen goods, or merchandise, and not national security risk.

If Nana Asante Bediatuo’s claim has validity, then, clearly, it is the police who are not telling the truth. Now, the preceding leaves us with the testimony of Yale and Columbia-educated Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, who witnessed the raid, firsthand, and insists that the police carried away NPP-owned laptops and Election 2012-related evidentiary paper work. Needless to say, as a highly successful economist and Databank founder and entrepreneur of great repute, Mr. Ofori-Atta has the kind of credibility that the larger membership of the Ghana Police Service can only fathom. It is also significant that the police put the number of the victims of their raid at 20, while Mr. Ofori-Atta puts the same at 30.

But what is even more significant is the fact that the police are not disputing Mr. Ofori-Atta’s figure of at least 100 (one-hundred) police personnel having participated in the raid at the NPP headquarters. Then also, the flagrant political bias of the police is inerasably clear from this last sentence of their press release: “The Public [sic] are therefore entreated to dismiss the allegation as a piece of information intended to throw dust into the eyes of the public.”

A piece of guff intended to throw dust into the eyes of the public? Come on, Mr. IGP!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Department of English Nassau Community College of SUNY Garden City, New York December 14, 2012 ###

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