Security analyst, Dr. Kwesi Aning, has welcomed a decision by the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, to crack the whip on the Upper West Regional Minister who allegedly shielded some violent youth of the governing party from being arrested by the police.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Thursday, Dr. Aning said the suspension will serve as a deterrent to the various vigilante groups in the country as well high profile members of political parties who protect some of these violent groups.
“I think this is a useful step. When you have the first gentleman of the land saying I will not tolerate this and people challenge the authority of the president that is unacceptable because the President is no more the leader of a parochial political party, he is a representative of the Republic of Ghana in whom our hopes, dreams and aspirations are vested in. So when people challenge his authority that undermines the sanctity not only of the presidency but of the sovereignty of the Republic of Ghana,” he added. President Akufo-Addo on Thursday suspended the Upper West Regional Minister, Sulemana Alhassan for protecting a group of angry youth believed to be members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), who besieged the Upper West Regional office of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) on Wednesday evening.
A statement from the Presidency said the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Amidu Ishaq, will act in the stead of the suspended Minister pending the conclusion of an investigation into the incident, according to a statement from the Presidency.
The statement added that “President Akufo-Addo reiterates his commitment to the application of the laws of the land, which must occur without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and without recourse to the political or ethnic affiliations of any citizen of the land,” the statement added.
Dr. Aning on Eyewitness News further commended the President for the suspension.
“…The reputational damage that the behaviour of the Invisible forces and Delta forces have done taking on iconic names that send signals to rest of the world that they are untouchable has damaged us so much. So this is really very good, it shows a President who has deep respect for the rule of law but even more importantly is willing to put the generality of Ghana’s interest beyond parochial party political issues,” he added.
Some youth from the Wa East district, numbering about 30, in two pickups and a minibus, stormed the NADMO office at the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council on Wednesday evening. They chased out the Regional NADMO Coordinator and beat up his aide to pulp who was later hospitalized.
After the police got to the scene of the disturbances and effected the arrest of three persons, Alhassan Sulemana ordered the release of the suspects.
He reportedly told the police that “This is a party matter, I will have a meeting with them and get back to you”.
After that, the attackers walked home freely.
Following the incident, workers of NADMO declared a strike on Thursday, and demanded that until the suspects are arrested, they will not return to work.
They slammed the Regional Minister, whose duty is to protect citizens as the Regional Chairman of the Security Council, for choosing to shield the attackers.
Five NPP youth arrested for attacking U/West NADMO boss
Meanwhile, the Upper West Regional Police Command has picked up five persons alleged to have masterminded the attack on the Upper West Regional office of the National Disaster Management Organization [NADMO].
The five, according to Citi News sources at the Command, were sent to the police station by the Upper West Regional Minister, Sulemana Alhassan, at about 1:00pm on Thursday, February 1, shortly before his suspension was announced.
Political vigilantism in Upper West
This incident marks the third major disturbance perpetrated by youth aligned to the NPP in Upper West Region in the last few months.
On January 22, some NPP youth in the Wa municipality vandalized the residence of the Municipal Chief Executive of the area, Issahaku Moomin Tahiru.
The rampaging youth also vandalized the family house of the MCE and two other houses belonging to his supporters.
In November 2017, NPP youth in Gwollu, the capital of the Sissala West District stormed the precinct of the Assembly and locked up the District Chief Executive, Mohammed Bakor in his office.
They had accused the DCE of engaging in “divide and rule” tactics and failing to address their concerns.
After the Wa incident, seven NPP supporters were arrested and charged with rioting, including the Sissala West Constituency Chairman of the NPP.
Sulemana Alhassan defended similar attack on Sissala West DCE
The suspended Minister, who doubles as the Chairman of the Regional Security Council, REGSEC, in October 2017, downplayed a similar incident at the office of the Sissala West District Chief Executive, where rowdy New Patriotic Party youth boldly locked up the office of the public officer.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Alhassan, who did not emphatically condemn the action of the youth, described it as a “small hitch between some party youth and the District Chief Executive for Sisala West that led to the youth locking up the office.”
Defending his stance on the matter, the Minister said that “even though [the youth’s storming the office] was not legal, they didn’t cause any damage to any property. They didn’t cause any harm to anybody” he insisted.