Accra, Ghana (PANA) – Politics, especially the rising temperature and increasing tension between the two biggest parties - the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) - dominated the headlines in the Ghanaian media this week, as the December presidential and parliamentary elections approach.
The newspapers also found space for a stern warning by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye, to indisciplined politicians and their unruly supporters, and the guilty verdict passed on former Liberian president Charles Taylor.
Last week’s inflammatory statements by opposition MP, Kennedy Agyapong, took an unexpected dimension this week when a previously unknown group, the Ghana Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC), said it had sent the case to the ICC.
The state-owned Graphic carried the story under the headline “Ken Agyapong sent to ICC.”
It said the Ghana Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC) had petitioned the court to investigate "the genocidal statements and ethnic-cleansing pronouncements" of the MP.
The petition was presented by three members of the coalition, Mr Francis Kojo Arthur, Mr Eric Akomayi and Mr Fortune Sase.
Mr Arthur, who is the legal officer of the coalition, said the petition was presented in pursuant to Article I5 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.
“In doing so, the Ghana Coalition for the ICC believes firmly in the view expressed by the court on 24 January, that it is better to avert future acts of genocide and violence.”
The coalition said that events in Ghana since 2009 gave cause to believe that politicians, especially within the opposition NPP, were plotting to unleash violence, war, genocide and ethnic cleansing either prior to or in the event that they lost the December 20I2 elections.
The Graphic had another story “ICC to examine petition over Ken Agyapong” in which it said the Court said it would examine the merits or otherwise of a petition.
Another story in the media on the headline “Dragging Ken Agyapong to ICC is wrong – Lawyer” quotes a lawyer for the embattled MP as describing as “regrettable” the decision by the group to engage the ICC to investigate what it terms the genocidal and ethnic-cleansing pronouncements made by the NPP legislator. According to, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, the group will fail in its efforts.
The group said it believed Mr. Agyapong’s statements made him liable for prosecution under Article 3c of the United Nations Convention on the prevention of genocide.
But Otoo disagreed saying the group had been “misinformed”.
“(Again), if you have the judicial system which would work, you don’t need any ICC, so I’m surprised that somebody has been charged before our court, he’s yet to be tried and somebody goes to say he should be taken to ICC,” he said.
“Police will deal with troublemakers – IGP” was the headline of the Graphic on the warning by the police chief.
It said the IGP, Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye, had given an assurance that the Ghana Police Service was poised to undertake its duties professionally and deal decisively with any person or group of persons who breached any law of the country before, during and after the December 2012 general election.
“We in the Police Service will do everything within our power to jealousy and religiously protect this peace by effectively and efficiently discharging our duties under the Constitution without fear or favour,” the IGP said.
He said notwithstanding the few, but serious security challenges across the country, including those relating to the ongoing biometric voters registration exercise, Ghana was at peace with itself.
The state-owned Ghanaian Times published the story under the headline “IGP warns troublemakers: We'll deal with them.”
The IGP said the police were ready to deal decisively with any person or group of persons who breached any law of the country before, during and after the December general elections.
He therefore urged Ghanaians to respect and use the existing police structures in addressing all grievances.
Mr Quaye stated this when he briefed the Minister of the Interior, Mr William Aboah, on the security situation in the country and how prepared the police were to ensure peace and stability in the upcoming elections.
Mr Quaye assured all stakeholders, particularly political parties, the electorate and the general public that the police would undertake their duties professionally and without fear or favour.
“NDC condemns politics of ethnicity,” was the headline of the Graphic on a press conference held by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) condemning what it described as “politics of ethnicity by the opposition New Patriotic Party”.
It said recent comments by leading members of the NPP, rallying the youth of that party to resort to the use of pestles, stones and guns, coupled with the latest rampage resulting from fallouts of Agyepong’s arrest clearly pointed to “the implementation of an orchestrated and well rehearsed agenda, meant to throw the nation into chaos”.
The NDC’s General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, at a press conference in Accra, said the NDC was of the opinion that the NPP was looking for triggers during the biometric voters registration exercise “to unleash terror they had planned on innocent people”.
The NDC General Secretary said where those triggers didn’t exist, the NPP would seek to manufacture same with the active connivance of media houses that shared in their agenda.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide published the story under the headline “NDC hacks NPP” saying Asiedu-Nketia argued that Agyapong’s latest statement should not be seen as a single isolated incident but rather as another stage in the planning and implementation of an orchestrated and well-rehearsed agenda of the NPP to throw the nation into chaos as a result of its inordinate ambition for power.
He said the United Party (UP), progenitor of the NPP, had its history deeply rooted in politics of ethnicity.
The headline of the Ghanaian Times read, “NPP has a diabolical plan to cause mayhem in the country”, with the story saying the ruling NDC said it had observed that this year's registration exercise had so far seen marked improvement in terms of security breaches over the 2008 exercise, notwithstanding the unfortunate incidents in Accra and Kumasi, the second biggest city.
At a press briefing in Accra, the party disclosed a catalogue of "events that pointed to the fact that the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) was “looking for triggers during the biometric registration exercise to unleash the terror they have planned on innocent citizens of Ghana".
The Graphic’s lead story on Friday was on the conviction of Charles Taylor, the former Liberian President.
It said international judges had found the former Liberian guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes during the Sierra Leone civil war, at his trial in The Hague.
Taylor is expected to serve his sentence in a British prison as the Dutch government only agreed to host the trial if any ensuing
jail term was served in another country.
-0- PANA MA 28April2012