Ghana: Politics dominates Ghanaian media

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – Politics once again dominated the Ghanaian media this week, with the death of a former chairman of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) on the front pages.

The media also highlighted the arrest of three South African retired policemen imported by the NPP to train its security officers and its allegations that the government and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) were exposing its leaders to danger.

“Jake is dead,” was the headline of the pro-NPP newspaper, Daily Guide, on the death last Sunday in London of Jacob Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, affectionately known as Jake.

The newspaper said the death of smooth-talking Jake, 70, had sent shockwaves throughout the country, particularly among members of the NPP, with its leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, describing it as a tragedy and big loss.

The Daily Guide said NPP, through its acting General Secretary, John Boadu, in a statement, described the late Obetsebi-Lamptey as “a true son of the nation”.

It continued, “Mr Obetsebi Lamptey did not only serve his party selflessly and diligently, but also helped in nation building.” He was campaign manager when former President John Agyekum Kufuor won the 2000 and 2004 elections and served as Chief of Staff, Minister of Information and Presidential Affairs as well as Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City.

The state-owned Graphic had the headline, “Nation mourns Jake” with the story saying the immediate past National Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, died at a hospital in London at dawn on Sunday after a protracted illness.

It said a leading figure in advertising and marketing, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey, had a rich political history, his father, Mr Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, being a member of the “Big Six” who delivered Ghana from the shackles of colonialism.

Former President Kufuor has expressed profound shock and sadness, describing Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey as “very professional in his field of Public Relations and Advertising”.

The ruling NDC also commiserated with the NPP. "In all honesty, contemporary Ghanaian political history cannot be written without the mention of Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey and we pray the Good Lord finds a peaceful resting place for his soul," a statement signed by the party’s General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said.

“3 South Africans arrested,” was the headline of the Graphic on the arrest of the three retired South African police officers at Agona Duakwa in the Central Region for allegedly engaging in activities with national security implications.

Major Ahmed Shaik Hazis (retd), 54; Warrant Officer Denver Dwayhe, 33, and Captain Mlungiseli Jokani, 45, were arrested at the El-Capitano Hotel where they had been based and had been training some young men in various security drills, including unarmed combat, weapon handling, VIP protection techniques and rapid response manoeuvres.

The Graphic reported that the suspects had initially indicated that they were training the young men for the owner of the hotel, Captain Kwesi Acquah (retd), who is also the owner of Delta Force Security Company Limited. The leader of the group, Major Hazis, however, told interrogators that they had been brought in by a retired military officer to train young men as bodyguards and a rapid response team for some politicians and political parties.

It quoted security sources as saying during a search conducted in their rooms, a comprehensive report on the operations of Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) was found in Hazis' possession.

The STL is the company engaged by the Electoral Commission (EC) for the transmission of collated results to the EC during the 2012 general election.

“We invited South Africans – NPP,” was the headline of the Graphic on the admission of the NPP that the party invited the three South Africans but stated that their presence was not for any act that could be said remotely to threaten the country’s security.

According to the party, known security detail of the NPP’s presidential and candidate and his running mate were being given routine training by those security experts specialised in and licensed to offer VIP protection.

However, the Graphic quoted a security analyst, Dr Kwesi Aning, as saying it was dangerous and wrong for foreigners to be brought into the country for purposes of training agents of political parties.

That, he said, was more so when the Legislative Instrument that governed the operations of private security companies frowned on the involvement of foreign nationals.

Other political parties have also condemned the NPP's action.

The three men were arraigned at a Circuit Court in Accra where they have been granted bail.

Graphic Online reported on a press conference by the NPP in which it alleged that it had received information that the governing NDC was working to put in danger, the life of its election 2016 flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo.

According to the party, it was in view of this that it hired the South African security consultants to train Akufo-Addo's entourage.

Acting National Chairman of the NPP, Mr Freddie Blay, who made the allegations at a press conference in Accra on Thursday said, “some attack on our presidential candidate and his vice” is imminent. “If we are not careful it will happen.”

But the government has rubbished as “puerile, false and malicious’, the accusations of the NPP that its presidential candidate was the target of “a wicked” plot by President John Dramani Mahama and his government.

A statement issued by the Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, said the allegations offered as the motive behind NPP’s importation of the three South African ex-policemen only amounted to a “sterile attempt” by the NPP to extricate itself from the potentially nation-wrecking manoeuvre through wicked-dark lies.

The NPP also alleged that the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) had raided the offices of the NPP think-tank, Danquah Institute, and the residence of Capt (rtd) Edmund Koda, the head of security of the flagbearer.

On Friday, an allegation that the BNI was planning to raid the residence of Akufo-Addo sent scores of people pouring to his house to “protect” it.

But the Graphic Online said the BNI had denied raiding the Danquah Institute, the residence of Capt (rtd) Koda, and the office of Perry Okudzeto, the deputy director of communication.

The Graphic quoted sources as saying the BNI went to the Danquah Institute to speak to the director as part of their investigation into the importation of three South African former policemen by the NPP. When the watchman said the director was not available they withdrew after waiting for a while for him to arrive.

In the case of Capt (rtd) Koda, the BNI searched his house in his presence, the BNI said.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 26March2016

26 march 2016 08:55:02

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