I have not had the chance to read the so-called Imposition of Restrictions Bill of 2020, reportedly presented to Parliament by the Presidency, but I perfectly concur with the need for such a Bill, contrary to what critics like Mr. Edward Abambire Bawa would have the rest of the Ghanaian citizenry believe (See “Does the President Need All the Powers in the Imposition of Restrictions Bill, 2020 to Protect Us?” Ghanaweb.com 3/20/20). You see, by and large, critics like Mr. Bawa seem to conveniently forget that absolutely no democratically elected postcolonial Ghanaian government has been faced with the sort of criminally brazen terrorism that the Akufo-Addo Administration has been confronted with by the leaders of the country’s main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
I sincerely don’t recall anytime since the inception of Ghana’s Fourth Republic, when the National Chairman of the main opposition political party was in court charged and being trialed for sedition or speech recorded at a secret meeting which was aimed as destabilizing the country by creating disaffection for both the legitimately elected government and the country’s democratically elected President, such as Mr. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo was forensically credibly captured on audiotape instigating against the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
When NDC leaders like Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo, and even former President John Dramani Mahama, have not been caught on audio- or videotape at a secret “jungle hideout meeting” conspiring to overthrow the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, by the criminal application or the use of force, or by the instigation of primitive and barbaric acts of terrorism, the two illicit schemers have been scandalously exposed as masterminds behind such acts of criminal destabilization of the country and the government, such as occurred in the globally decried abduction and kidnapping of the three young white Canadian women NGO volunteers in Kumasi, the Asante Regional Capital, not very long ago.
It is therefore flagrantly disingenuous for Mr. Bawa to observe that “While such restrictions may be essential during a public health emergency, government [sic] actions come at a time when concerns have been raised on [sic] attempts by government to trample on the rights of individuals and organizations seen to be critical of it. Examples include;[sic] the closing down of media houses, the threat to the lives of journalists[,] to mention but a few.” Now, this is rather absurd because nearly every media establishment in the country that has been shuttered or closed down by the present government was primarily on account of the flagrant breaching of laws and regulations governing the conduct of media operatives and proprietors, in particular vis-à-vis tax and licensing laws.
Indeed, the one regrettable exception was the case involving the two journalists on the staff of the Modern Ghana Media Portal who were reportedly arrested and manhandled by operatives from the National Security Agency (NSA). But even on the latter count, it was evidently clear that President Akufo-Addo had absolutely no direct or indirect involvement with this admittedly ham-fisted treatment of these two journalists. I did not expect Mr. Bawa to mention the infamous brutal mauling of the young Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) radio-broadcast journalist, who was savagely beaten up at the 37th Military Hospital, in the presence and evidently with the tacit approval of Dr. Edward Kofi Omane-Boamah, the extant Communications Minister, by Mr. Stanislav Xoese Dogbe, the Communications Director at the Mahama Presidency, in the summer of 2015, just about the same time that the allegedly deliberate mistreatment of some media attachés at the Mahama Presidency resulted in the cruel albeit avoidable death of Mr. Samuel Nuamah, the 27-year-old Ghanaian Times’ correspondent.
Recently, a victim from the same vehicular accident that resulted in the instantaneous death of Mr. Nuamah, by the name of Mr. Edward Kwabi, a broadcast journalist with TV3, also tragically lost his battle with death, largely from injuries sustained from the Ho-Accra Highway accident. Nana Akufo-Addo has governed the country with powers not substantively different from those of his four predecessors and has even admirably and exemplarily and unprecedently demonstrated that he is more than prepared to cede some of his present constitutionally mandated powers vis-à-vis the appointments of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), as the entire country witnessed in the dastardly NDC-sabotaged December 17 Referendum. So, what is all this pathological obsession with Nana Akufo-Addo’s supposedly having been ceded more powers than any peacetime democratically elected leader ought to have?
At any rate, the era of the Coronavirus pandemic is no ordinary time. That is why our President deserves to be ceded emergency powers, especially as locally influential community leaders, including Cedi-fixated one-man church owners and leaders adamantly defy the temporary Coronavirus-induced ban on crowd-drawing public events and activities.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
March 20, 2020
E-mail: [email protected]