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Punish hooded security officers who intimidated civilians at Ayawaso – CHRAJ

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) wants the hooded security officers who allegedly shot at and intimidated civilians during the by-election held in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency to be punished.

CHRAJ in a statement signed by its Commissioner, Joseph Whittal also chastised the security agencies in the country for the violence recorded at the election.

“The Commission believes that the security arrangements for this by-election by the Ghana Police Service were inadequate, and the deployment of heavily armed, masked and hooded security personnel to the La Bawaleshie polling centre to harass, intimidate, and shoot indiscriminately into the electorate, harming some in the process, as criminal and dastardly acts that should not be allowed to go unpunished,” Whittal added in the statement.

CHRAJ is the new body to join the numerous condemnation of the violence that marred the by-election held on Thursday.

According to CHRAJ the attacks only epitomizes the evolving security situation in the country and urged the President and his security team to check such issues.
“The Commission is deeply concerned about the evolving security situation in recent times in the country which this by-election only seems to epitomize and calls on the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, H.E. Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and his Security Chiefs and Advisors to treat it as one of the highest issues of priority of the Government,” Joseph Whittal added.

The Police say they are investigating the shooting and pockets of violence recorded during the by-election at Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency.

Some National Security Operatives allegedly fired gunshots at a polling centre at La Bawaleshie, injuring about six persons believed to be NDC supporters during the election on Thursday.

The NDC subsequently withdrew its candidate from the race claiming it took the decision to forestall further attacks on its members.

The New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary candidate for the area, Lydia Seyram Alhassan subsequently won the election by a landslide victory.

The violence has been widely condemned by civil society organisations including CODEO, OccupyGhana among others.

CHRAJ called for thorough investigation into the matter.

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Below is the full statement from CHRAJ

CHRAJ CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AT AYAWASO WEST WUOGON

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) condemns in no uncertain terms acts of violence leading to grievous bodily injuries caused to some members of the electorate during the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election held in Accra yesterday.

The Commission received news of this development with great consternation considering the fact that Ghana has over the period enjoyed peace and stability before, during and after elections and so is of the view that this situation left unchecked would undermine the nation’s hard-earned democracy on the African continent.

The Commission believes that the security arrangements for this by-election by the Ghana Police Service were inadequate, and the deployment of heavily armed, masked and hooded security personnel to the La Bawaleshie polling centre to harass, intimidate, and shoot indiscriminately into the electorate, harming some in the process, as criminal and dastardly acts that should not be allowed to go unpunished.

We, therefore, call on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. David Asante-Apeatu, and other national security and law enforcement bodies to investigate thoroughly circumstances that led to the shooting incident at the polling centre and to punish the perpetrators if found culpable.

We strongly advocate that stringent measures are put in place to ensure that security personnel behave more professionally during subsequent elections, and also in the discharge of their general duties so that this inhumane and embarrassing situation does not recur.

The Commission wishes to call on the political parties sponsoring vigilante groups who are used as political party thugs to cause mayhem during elections as happened in this by-election to put a stop to this outmoded, undemocratic and criminal practice as it has seriously dented Ghana’s democratic and peace-loving credentials.

The Commission is deeply concerned about the evolving security situation in recent times in the country which this by-election only seems to epitomize and calls on the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, H.E. Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and his Security Chiefs and Advisors to treat it as one of the highest issues of priority of the Government.

JOSEPH WHITTAL

COMMISSIONER

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