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By-election violence: Bryan Acheampong must step down – Agalga

Minority Spokesperson on Defence and Interior, James Agalga, has called for the Minister of State in-charge of National Security, Bryan Acheampong, to step aside ahead of findings of a probe into last week’s shooting incident during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

The police said in a statement Tuesday that it has expanded a committee to investigate the incident to cover the professional and criminal conduct of persons involved.

 The statement signed by ACP David Eklu, Director General of Public Affairs, said ACP Mr George Tweneboah, Deputy-Director-General, heads the investigation committee.

Police said top personnel from the Police Professional Standards Bureau, Police Legal and Prosecution Directorate, Police Operations, as well as detectives from the Police Crime Scene Unit and Airport Division, have joined the probe to unravel the widely condemned incident.

So far, 16 victims of the shooting incident, including a Member of Parliament, have been interrogated.

Despite these efforts, Mr James Agalga, who is also National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Builsa North in the Upper East Region, said police have a daunting task in unravelling the violent attack that marred the by-election if Mr Acheampong remains at post.

Mr Acheampong told Joy News’ on Saturday that the National Security Task Force – which comprised of police, military officers and security personnel – is typically deployed to each presidential and parliamentary candidate’s home leading up to elections.

“It is standard protocol to do this so that we can protect every candidate,” he justified the deployment of the masked security personnel, adding, “we also receive intelligence information and we track, trace and neutralise where needed…” he explained.

However, he did not know that just hours into the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on Thursday, dozens of armed men wearing black masks and “NSC” shirts would rampage the home of NDC’s National Chairman, Delali Brempong, where the violence took place.Official communication from police said six persons sustained gunshot wounds although this number has been disputed by some eyewitnesses.

Speaking on PM Express Tuesday evening, Mr Agalga said the justification for the deployment of the masked security personnel by Mr Acheampong is a clear indication that bringing the perpetrators of the violence to book would prove daunting.

“I don’t begrudge the police because the task they have been assigned is Herculean one. How can the police investigate their own boss? Bryan Acheampong is their boss…while Bryan Acheampong remains in office, how is it possible for the police to subject him to proper interrogation?” he quizzed.

Nobody should be above the law in Ghana, Mr Agalga noted, but says, “it appears Bryan Acheampong is above the law. If Bryan Acheampong is not above the law, he wouldn’t deploy armed thugs, goons to visit violence on innocent civilians who went out there on election day to cast their votes?”

New system

Deputy Majority Whip, Mathew Nyindam, who was also on the show, said considering that by-elections have always been violent, there was the need for a second look at the system.

He said instead of holding elections for a new parliamentarian when a sitting MPs pass away before their tenure, there should be internal elections within the party they represented.

“Those by-elections don’t help us and they come with violence…” Mr Nyindam said.

Meanwhile, the Minority has refused to recognise the new MP for the Ayawaso West Wuogon, Lydia Alhassan.

They walked out of Parliament on Tuesday when she was being sworn-in because, in the words of James Agalga, “her hands are soiled with the innocent blood of Ghanaians who were shot at without any provocation” during the by-election.

The Ayawaso West Wuogon seat became vacant following the death of Emmanuel Agyarko last year.

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