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General News of Tuesday, 31 December 2019


Year in Review: Events that shocked the nation in 2019

Events that shocked the nation Events that shocked the nation

Some events that happened in Ghana in the year 2019 took many by surprise. The nation's most visited news website, GhanaWeb delivered the news as and when it happened.

Let’s cast our mind to some events that shocked the nation in the year, as the curtains draw in 2019.

Right from the ‘hasty’ decisions and moves from government officials to some investigations that exposed the rot in certain public institutions. How can we not mention scenes and drama from the entertainment industry? In all, there have been several rants across the country, here is a compilation of the events that will certainly go down in history.

Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence

Ghana has a track record of running smooth and peaceful elections. However, the acts of violence that broke on January 31, 2019, during the by-elections at Ayawaso West Wuoguon Constituency by far undermined Ghana’s democracy and peace.

Following the death of the incumbent member of parliament for the constituency, Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko on November 21, 2018, a by-election was conducted to elect a new member of parliament for the Ayawaso West Wuoguon Constituency.

The race was between the NPP’s candidate, Lydia Alhassan and NDC’s Kwasi Brempong who withdrew from the contest after a shooting incident. Eight persons sustained gunshot wounds at the La Bawalashie Presbyterian School Polling Station as a result of some acts of violence by some masked men who were alleged to be National Security Operatives together with some members of the New Patriotic Party’s vigilante group.

According to reports, some armed and unidentified men broke into the houses of the NDC candidate, Delali Kwasi Brempong and Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, to assault the two.

Following the by-elections violence, a commission of inquiry was formed by the government to investigate the happenings and outlines recommendations to prevent similar occurrences.

Militia Training at the Christiansbourg Castle

The much-anticipated investigative piece by Manasseh Azure Awuni in March 2019 exposed “De-Eye Group” which was a militia group operating from the Christiansbourg Castle also known as Osu Castle.

With affiliations to the party of the ruling government, NPP, investigations proved that the group had been training at the park of the Christiansbourg Castle which happens to be the Annex to the Seat of Government, the Jubilee House. It was discovered that leaders of the group had offices in the castle where they operated from.

The shocking revelation had to do with the fact that, the Commander of the militia group known as Nana Wireko Addo ‘Choman’ was the former personal bodyguard of the President Akufo-Addo.

Government response was that the findings in the documentary by Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni were “significant misrepresentations and misleading impressions” adding that National Security had closed down the office of the ‘company’ in October 2018.

A statement from the NPP government also clarified that ‘Commander Choman’ was not the bodyguard of Nana Akufo-Addo after assuming office as president as earlier speculated. The minority in parliament, NDC demanded the immediate resignation of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from office with claims that he supported the activities of militia group.

Black Friday: Kintampo-Techiman road crash

The head-on collision of two buses on Friday, March 22, 2019, at a town in Ampoma in the Bono East Region claimed over 60 lives. Passengers trapped in the bus were consumed by the fire when one of the buses involved in the accident caught fire. Several others sustained various degrees of injuries.

The accident involving the VVIP Kia bus with registration number GT 3915- 17 was traveling from Garu in the Upper East Region towards Kumasi when it collided with a Grandbird bus with registration number GT 5694- which was also heading towards Bolgantaga when the head-on collision occurred.

The Kintampo-Techiman road has claimed several, road users have been calling on the appropriate authorities to fix the rumble strips on the road. Some of the survivors blamed the accident on the driver who refused to park and take some rest adding that he was sleepy at a point in time.

CID Boss’ comments on ‘location’ of Takoradi girls

DCOP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah raised high the hopes of family members of the 3 kidnapped Takoradi girls after publicly stating on April 2, 2019, that her outfit knew the whereabouts of the missing Takoradi girls – Ruthlove Quayson, Priscilla Blessing Bentum and Priscilla Koranchie which later turned out to be false.

The case involving the missing girls gained national prominence with many wishing for a positive outcome from police investigations. There were several calls for the dismissal of the CID boss, the hashtag #TiwaaMustGo trended on social media for weeks.

Many demanded the CID boss to set down from her position after the final DNA test proved that some bones found at the home of one of the key suspects matched with that of the girls, proving that they were indeed dead. While many doubted police statements on the investigation, there were some who claimed that the accounts from the police wasn’t balanced.

Maame Tiwaa Addo-Danquah reacting to the calls for her head stated that her resignation will not automatically resolve the issue and bring back the kidnapped girls.

“I don’t need to resign…resigning is like resigning from the Ghana Police Service…the position is not something that I have to resign and say I am no longer a Director-General of the CID,” she said.

Stonebwoy pulls gun on VGMA stage

The 20th Anniversary of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards held at the Fantasy Dome on May 18 was interrupted with a brawl that erupted between long-time Dancehall rivals, Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale. To the surprise of those in attendance, Stonebwoy pulled a gun on stage after Shatta Wale uninvitedly stormed the stage with his team following the announcement of Stonebwoy as the winner of ‘Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year.

People present at the event, left the grounds before the show could close. It took the timely intervention of the Security and some police personnel to maintain calm. Stonebwoy later that night explained his actions with these words,

“I am really sorry for the incident that happened earlier on and I only had to react out of natural instincts because we all know how premeditative some people can be. We’ve seen on social media the treats and everything so we couldn’t come in unprepared because anything could have happened like you guys saw”.

According to Shatta Wale, he only took to stage to congratulate Stonebwoy who had won Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year for the fifth conservative time. Many have refuted his claim adding that, he was angered when Stonebwoy’s name was mentioned as winner of that particular category. The two have been fighting for supremacy for the title as ‘Ghana’s biggest Dancehall artiste’.

Both artistes were fined 50,000 each after the case was brought before the court. Stonebwoy was charged with offensive conduct conducive to breach of peace and display of a firearm in public without permission while Shatta Wale was charged with offensive conduct conducive to breach of peace. The two have resolved their long-time ‘beef’ as both artistes have been seen in the embrace of each other. Shatta Wale surprisingly graced the stage at Stonebwoy’s ‘Ashaiman to the World’ concert on November 30, 2019.

ECG terminates PDS contract

On October 23, 2019, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) announced the termination of the Private Sector Participation Transaction Agreements with Power Distribution Services Ghana Limited (PDS) which saw a revert from PDS to ECG.

Following the ‘U-turn’, ECG assumed full operational and financial control of the electricity distribution business in the country. The termination of the contract received mixed reactions from the general public. According to reports, the people who were in charge of the concessionaire privatization of ECG did not accord due diligence in handing over the assets of ECG to PDS. Ghana lost some GH¢2 billion after the termination of Millennium Compact Challenge Concessionaire Agreement involving the Millennium Compact Corporation (MCC), Government and the Power Distribution Services (PDS).

Comprehensive Sexuality Education Program

The big flashing light was against the introduction of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) program as part of the new curricula for basic school students from Kindergarten to Primary 6. A section of Ghanaians including stakeholders in the education sector strongly stood against the CSE program.

There were various myths and misconceptions surrounding CSE due to lack of broader consultation between government, religious groups, the media, civil society organizations and politicians who later politicized the program. Not many had background information on the program, there were people who tagged Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) with “homosexuality”. The aim of the CSE is to give students the knowledge, attitudes, skills and values to make appropriate and healthy choices in their sexual lives.

The continuous debate was on why children who are considered to be unable to make life choices introduced to education on their sexuality. As a result of the inefficient communication on the program, some teachers and their union leaders as well as religious bodies gave strong public sentiments with many opposing its introduction.

The main opposition party in the country, National Democratic Congress (NDC) described the CSE program as “satanic”. In a press release dated October 10, 2019, the NDC stated that,

“Also, contrary to the claims of President Akufo-Addo, it is clear from objectives of the approved CSE guidelines that at the core of this satanic programme is a subtle attempt by the government to inculcate in our children acceptance and tolerance for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) which affronts the laws and socio-cultural values of Ghanaians”.

On the back of the NDC’s opposing views on governments-initiated guideline curriculum on CSE, the Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Education, Mr. Vincent Asafuah also revealed that the NDC was first to introduce CSE in 2016.

President Akufo-Addo also added his voice to the conversation on whether or not the introduction of CSE was going to be beneficial to basic school students. He finally called it off, his move brought some claim into the country.

“I’m a Christian and as long as I sit as President of Ghana, I will not allow anything like that in our schools so I urge you all to be calm because I won’t let that happen”.

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