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Opinions of Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Columnist: Aggrey, Harry Jonson

A better Ghana indeed

Barely one month after NDC`s “better Ghana” was unfolded by President Atta-Mills, New Patriotic Party supporters across the country are being brutalised, chased out of their abodes and evicted by some supporters of the National Democratic Congress. Some of the victims of harassment sought refuge at the campaign office of Nana Akufo-Addo, the NPP Presidential candidate for the December election, which is located at Asylum Down, Accra. They were said to have come from Agbogloshie Market, Nima, and some of the Zongo communities in the Accra Metropolis. These 'refugees', numbering over 150, were made up of young men and women, and were being catered for by the party leadership as well as some sympathisers of the NPP. According to reports, Abdul Mohammed, one of the victims, who said he lived at the Agbobloshie Market, told The Statesman newspaper that shortly after John Evans Atta Mills had been sworn-in as the President, some NDC thugs in the area began to attack NPP supporters, beat them up and also destroyed their properties. It was gathered that most of the ‘refugees" were scrap metal dealers whose livelihood had depended on that trade for years now. According to Mohammed, one NPP supporter was stabbed to death, maintaining that the police had been informed but no arrest had yet been made.

Members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the northern regional capital, Tamale, continue to suffer brutalities at the hands of some persons believed to be supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The acting Northern regional secretary of the NPP, Faisal Gbangili, was severely beaten by six thugs over the weekend. According to the victim, a day before the incident he went to Changli, a suburb of Tamale, following a clash between NDC and NPP supporters. After the visit, he indicated, he granted interviews to a number of radio stations in Accra on the situation and the party’s position on the matter. The disclosure of some facts to the radio stations, he observed, might not have gone down well with one Abdul Razak aka Area Commander, who allegedly beat him to pulp, razed down his house and threatened to kill him. In a related development, some NDC ‘Aluta Boys’ in Tamale had gone haywire, burning houses of some NPP supporters, causing a chaotic situation in the Metropolis and allegedly resulting in one person being wounded by gun shot. Two persons, we gathered, had been arrested.

Barely 48 hours after President Mills had been sworn in, there was pandemonium at the Osu Christianborg Castle, the seat of government, in Accra when Victor Emmanuel Smith, former aide to ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, led a group of soldiers in a typical coup d'état fashion to seize the keys to vehicles parked and others that had gone there to refuel. Castle sources described the episode as a rough and near-violent one which attracted a scared crowd when Mr. Smith and the soldiers stormed the premises at about 2:30pm and after a series of inspections, demanded the full list of all official vehicles there and started the seizure of car keys. Sources said while some of the soldiers were in uniform, the rest were in mufti and were believed to be members of the defunct 64 Infantry Battalion, popularly called the Commandos - a specially trained militia loyal to ex-President Rawlings. They reportedly drove some of the Castle staff out of their offices and headed for the fuel station where they seized the keys to all state vehicles that had gone there to refuel.

In a clear flouting of Ghana’s Constitution, a “better Ghana” Mills then appointed an interim ministerial team including chiefs who are clearly banned by the Constitution to oversee the affairs of certain ministries. A three member team headed by Tobgui Afede Aso to oversee the finance ministry. Former deputy finance Minister Moses Asaga and Kwabena Duffuor former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, are the other members.

Others appointed include, Brigadier General Nunoo Mensah for National Security, with Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni and Vice Admiral E.O. Owusu Ansah heading the Interior and Defence Ministries respectively. The appointments ignited criticisms from certain quarters as the re-emergence of the old gurus of the erstwhile P/NDC.

Still in January, the man who in his inaugural speech said he will be the president for all Ghanaians on the orders of his transition team sacked thirty civil servants who were A5 Foreign Service officers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who had received their appointment letters and had been officially sworn into office.

Ministry sources said the Mills' Transition Team Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs had expressed doubts about the political affiliation of the said civil servants and thus directed that their appointments be terminated with immediate effect. Indeed the dismissal letters were copied and specifically attentioned to Dr. Tony Aidoo, Chairman of the Government Transition Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs. These sacked civil servants, as part of the admission requirements, were made to write an entrance examination in May 2007 after which they were interviewed for the positions in February 2008. They eventually received their official appointment letters on December 1, 2008.

Then in a rather seriously comical move, the acting boss of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), DCOP Douglas Akrofi Asiedu, was been sacked from office in a letter dated 9th January, 2009 signed by Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, presidential appointee in charge of the Interior Ministry. The move, according to the letter, was part of the transitional arrangement. Mr. Kofi Portuphy, who hitherto occupied the same position, was reassigned to take over the responsibilities of the organisation.

In Ashanti, the supposed bastion of the NPP, armed men in military uniforms stormed the residence of one of Ghana’s finest musicians, Charles Kwadwo Fosu aka Daddy Lumba, at Atimatim, a suburb of Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital. The all-male squad, believed to be military personnel and numbering about three, forcibly entered the musician’s plush residence which was purposefully built for his departed mother at about 7.30 pm on Sunday January 11. The agitated armed men appeared at the residence in a KIA Sportage 4x4 Vehicle whose registration number was not immediately known. Briefing Ash FM, a Kumasi based private radio station about the incident, Faustina Fosu, a younger sister of Daddy Lumba, said she was in the house with other relations when the armed men came and asked about the whereabouts of the veteran musician. She narrated that when she enquired from the men why they were looking for her elder brother, they said they travelled from Accra to Kumasi with him (Daddy Lumba) and that he asked them to meet him in the house at that time for discussion. Still narrating the bizarre episode, Faustina noted that when she told the combat-ready men that her brother was not yet in town, they disappointedly went back to their vehicle and sped off. Management of all the 18 public toilets in Ashaiman were taken over by some executive members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at Ashaiman, soon after their party over took the administration of the country. Though management of the facilities was under privatization programme, therefore not partisan, the NDC members forcibly found their way there. A BETTER GHANA INDEED. Watch out for February news file

Harry Jonson Aggrey