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September 28, 2023

TALKING DRUM: Freddie Blay & the marauding brigade!

Mark Tetteh [L] is being held for arson for the burning of the Fiapre tollbooth Friday night
Mark Tetteh [L] is being held for arson for the burning of the Fiapre tollbooth Friday night
At the Passport Office, here in Accra, a police man stood on his feet giving orders. He was commanding stranded passport applicants to move back, a bit away from the premises.

“No one must stand here! Massa [referring to a gentleman] go, go,” he said.

It was January 10, 2017 hours after some thugs of the New Patriotic Party stormed the passport office demanding a takeover of the facility. Asking why? Their government is now in power.

This barbaric behaviour is not the first to be orchestrated by these NPP hoodlums.On January 9, 3news.com reported: “Persons believed to be supporters of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Monday seized the official vehicle of the Chief Executive of the Nzema East Municipal Assembly.”

On January 10, it was again reported that the “Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), in the Trobu Constituency, Kwame Ofosu Adjei is in the grips of the Amasaman Divisional Police for attacking a police officer on duty at the Pobiman tollbooth.” It was alleged he was on a mission to seize the tollbooth.

Many discerning Ghanaians including some NPP MPs have since condemned the incidents.

Reading about the police’s arrest and seeing the officer, at the passport office, act the way he did to ensure sanity prevailed, I wore radiant of smiles. At last, the police have been brave enough to prevent these incidences from reoccurring.

Little did I know, however, that the officer I saw driving away people who stood idle at the entrance of the passport office was exhibiting but the power vested in a child over a tethered he goat.

“We are here working in fear,” said a worker who wanted anonymity.

“Those the police arrested, yesterday, are back here [passport office]. At the security post and at the reception, these NPP supporters are today on a silent mission all in an attempt to take over the facility,” she said.

Really? And that police officer was ‘showing off’ at innocent persons? I asked myself. This woman’s claim pricked hard in my ear the way the penis does to the wall of a bell. It pushed me to probe further.

“How sure are you concerning your claim, Madam?” I asked.

“I am not supposed to tell you this, you know. But …” she said, looking a bit frightened.

“The truth is that we are privy to information that a high official, in government, ordered the release of these thugs.”

Checks at the security post of the passport office, indeed, confirmed the allegation. Some civilians were seen assisting the police in manning the facility. At the reception, too, I was fortunate to have had a security man, who wore mufti, waiting to collect his passport, to also confirm how serious the situation was.

This is certainly an affront to our democratic credentials as it has become a ritual that when there is a change in government the winning party’s supporters do the unthinkable. One would hear NPP serial callers and some party communicators say ‘the National Democratic Congress (NDC) did same in 2009. So, the situation repeating itself after the Electoral Commission declared the NPP winner of the 2016 election is but equalization of what the NDC supporters previously did.’

It, however, becomes very shameful when leading party executives, the elderly of course, endorse these nefarious acts of their supporters. When I heard the Acting National Chairman of the NPP speak to Ghanaweb and 3FM saying these party supporters are only protecting state properties, I buried my head in my palm.

“At the harbour, people are stealing cars. People are carrying away items that should attract duties and so forth, containers being taken away without going through the right process.

“If we see people stealing cars from the harbour, are you suggesting that we should wait and go and call the Police?” said lawyer Blay to Ghanaweb.

Citizen vigilantism is commendable but one does not do so by going beyond their limit. Do citizen vigilantes burn down tollbooth as it was seen and heard at Fiapre in the Brong Ahafo region? When did Mr. Freddie Blay’s brigade realise that some people were stealing at the Tema Habour? Where were these hoodlums when Anas Aremeyaw Anas caught on tape some officers at the habour taking bribe? In protecting state property, would it not have been ideal these NPP supporters went there to arrest these corrupt officers? Shaking my head!

Interesting, isn’t it? Their government is in power and they have big men behind them. They have the effrontery to explain why they attack and burn down properties. I vehemently condemn the NDC’s 2009 attacks and it could have only been reasonable the NPP supporters acted with a sense of maturity this time.

The Mighty Eagle in the movie Angry Birds said it right that “wisdom is not something that is given. Wisdom is attained.” I only hope and pray that these political parties’ supporters attain wisdom with time to understand that none of the politicians, they follow, will push their children to go seize toilets and tollbooths.

When I left the passport office on that Tuesday, I wondered which top official in government could have possibly called the police to release these NPP thugs. There seem to be an answer to this question now. Nonetheless, this is the time the police must prove that they are independent and deal with outlaws.

By Solomon Mensah

The writer is a broadcast journalist with 3FM 92.7. Views expressed here solely remains his opinion and not that of his organisation.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @Aniwaba


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