The National Democratic Congress (NDC) said yesterday that it has learnt with shock and dismay the alleged merciless beating of a Pastor and the manhandling of another person by New Patriotic Party (NPP) thugs for asking President John Agyekum Kufuor questions they considered unpalatable at the recent People’s Assembly held on January 16, 2007 at the Christ the King Parish Hall, Sunyani.
A statement issued in Accra and signed by Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, General Secretary of the NDC, said the party couldn’t fathom how NPP supporters could so decide to violate the rights of such innocent Ghanaians, who were there at the seemingly genuine invitation of President Kufuor.
It said what made the incident abominable was the fact that the venue of the assembly was a chapel and the victim was a man of God.
'In the view of the NDC, if the People’s Assembly is supposed to be an NPP ritual for heaping praises on the President, then there is no justification for the application of state funds in its organisation' the statement said.
The statement said: 'It insults the sensibilities of peace-loving Ghanaians that the so-called apostles of free speech and the rule of law could so descend to such despicable depths of lawlessness by attacking defenceless civilians, who were merely seeking answers to legitimate questions that had been boggling their minds about the stewardship of the President.'
It said if President Kufour was not committed to equitable interaction with all Ghanaians irrespective of their political opinions, affiliations and tribes anywhere, then he should discontinue the pretence.
The Government on Tuesday said it strongly detested the alleged violence perpetrated against a contributor during the Jubilee People’s Assembly held in Sunyani earlier in the day.
A statement signed by Mrs Oboshie Sai-Kofie, Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, said if found to be true, the Government would not spare the perpetrator or perpetrators.
The alleged harassment reportedly occurred outside the venue of the Assembly, soon after the alleged victim made his contribution.
The statement said the very idea of the innovative People’s Assembly was to ensure a consistent deepening and strengthening of democracy and that one of the core values to be defended and sustained was that of freedom of speech.
It said President Kufuor and the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Kwamena Bartels, spoke at length during the event, about the need for tolerance, even when views and opinions differed.