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20.04.2004 General News

Minister, aspirant in crossfire … trade accusations

By The Chronicle
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An aspiring Independent Parliamentary candidate for Sunyani West, Obiri Francis, has accused Mr. Kwadwo Adjei Darko, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and MP for Sunyani West, of using the police to intimidate and harass his campaign members as well as supporters.

Obiri told The Chronicle that the minister on Saturday last week, ordered the Brong Ahafo Regional Police Commander to arrest a member of his campaign team, one Nana Yaw and make him sign a bond of good behaviour.

When The Chronicle contacted the minister, he confirmed that he ahd asked the regional police commander to invite Nana Yaw and let him give his statement to the police and also sign a bond, because the behaviour of Nana Yaw exhibited towards he Mr. Darko was cruel and against the public order law.

Mr. Darko contended that Obiri Francis, as a lawyer by profession, was supposed to know the context and parameters in which campaign activities needed to be conducted.

According to the minister, if Obiri Francis wanted to contest for the Sunyani West seat with him, he needed to organize himself in a manner that would not create any conflict between him and his political opponents.

He added that, “but if he wanted to use rough tactics, we have people who can stand him squarely.”

He therefore warned the independent candidate to deploy a fair and gentle method of campaign to avoid any clash between them.

Obiri Francis told the paper that on April 10, Nana Yaw and his colleagues from Dumase, near Sunyani went to Adentia to buy “kalambo” (meat) and entertain themselves as well.

He said as they were going, Nana Yaw, in the company of about five young men in a chartered taxi, were singing along the main Adentia road.

Coincidently, the Local Government minister and his campaign team were having a meeting with the people of Adentia just by the road.

He said they passed by to the town, where they bought some “kalambo” and returned, singing still.

According to him, as Mr. Darko heard them singing, he accused them of hooting at him.

Obiri Francis told The Chronicle that, following this the Minister became angry, abandoned the meeting, entered his car and drove away to Sunyani.

He disclosed that the minister then went to the regional police commander and ordered him to go and arrest Nana Yaw and let him sign a bond.

On the following Sunday, 11th of April, the constituency chairman, Mr. C.T. Baidoo led some police men to the house of Nana Yaw at Dumase, but the chairman did not enter the house, he narrated.

He revealed that Mr. Baidoo was left in the car that brought the police. The police alone, according to him, therefore went in to meet Nana Yaw, but did not arrest him.

He added that Nana Yaw and the police had a chat and later left.

The following day, the aspiring candidate told The Chronicle, his campaign member went to work and on his return, was informed that some two police men had come to arrest him and they are still searching for him.

He lamented that “following this development, he (Obiri Francis), in the company of four others, went to the constituency chairman, Mr. C.T Baidoo to ask him about the incident and he confirmed it.”

He told The Chronicle that, Mr. Baidoo told them that when the minister was leaving for Accra, he asked he the chairman to see the police commander to come for Nana Yaw and let him sign the bond.

According to Francis, it was illegal and unconstitutional for the minister to order the police to press on Nana Yaw to sign a bond.

Francis told The Chronicle that this type of politics of intimidation and harassment was past, adding that in this era of democracy, such dirty politics should not be entertained.

The Chronicle's independent investigation at Adentia, where the incident occurred, revealed that Nana Yaw and his colleagues of about five, loaded in a taxi, came to the town to hoot at the minister.

Our investigations established that as the meeting was going on, Nana Yaw and his team were driving up and down, chanting war songs and making noise, apparently to disrupt its proccedings.

According to our facts, the people there advised the minister to exercise patience, as the Nana Yaw and his team were not from the town, but were only there to affront the minister.

One Akyeame Kwadwo Amankwah told The Chronicle that because it was in the evening, they could not identify the boys, Only Nana Yaw could he identify. He urged the minister that whenever he wanted to do something there, he should come in day time, so that whatever went on could be seen.

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