President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed optimism that the findings and recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry into the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence will help rid the nation of the canker of politically related violence which has regrettably become part of Ghanaian politics.
He noted that the government would confront the realities of the day and find a panacea that would assure the people that they could go about their normal duties, including the exercise of their constitutional rights, in an atmosphere of freedom.
The President said this when he received the final report of the commission at the Jubilee House in Accra yesterday.
Details of the report were not disclosed.
The commission, which had Mr Francis Emile Short, a former Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), as Chairman, was set up to investigate the events surrounding the conduct of the bye-election at Ayawaso West Wuogon on January 31, 2019.
The other members were the immediate past Director of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, and a former Inspector General of Police, Mr Patrick K. Acheampong, with a former Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and private legal practitioner, Mr Ernest Kofi Abotsi, as the Secretary.
On February 6, 2019, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, inaugurated the commission.
President Akufo-Addo was full of praise for the commission for completing the task “in record time” and said the state was grateful to the members for agreeing to provide the laudable service for the people of the country.
He explained that the circumstances under which the January 31, 2018 incident occurred at Ayawaso West Wuogon were unfortunate and that might have proved somewhat difficult for others to accept the task to investigate, but Mr Short and his team agreed and decided to put their expertise at the disposal of the country.
He said the live coverage of the commission’s sittings on both radio and television allowed many people to follow the transparent nature of the proceedings with great care and attention and gave an assurance that the findings and the recommendations that had been made “will be given the greatest possible attention” by the government.
President Akufo-Addo said his government had the responsibility of ensuring the maintenance of law and order in the country, noting that that responsibility was not one that could be abdicated on any occasion.
He said the fact that the commission’s work could help the government advance the cause of law and order was welcome news.
He indicated that the findings and the recommendations would be the subject of close study, saying that might not warrant the issuance of a White paper on the part of the government “but we will look at all of these matters and respond appropriately”.
Just before presenting the voluminous report to the President, Mr Justice Short said he was initially daunted by the scope of the work and the mandate, vis-a-vis the time to complete it, but the members also shared in the resolve to work with dispatch, in light of the importance of the issues at stake and the public interest involved.
He said the commission commenced its work with dispatch, noting that with the support of the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Mrs Frema Osei Opare; Counsel to the President, Mr Kow Essuman, and others at the Presidency, the work became less difficult.
Mr Justice Short said the commission had completed its work in what could be termed record time and that the depth of the report would convince the President that all necessary grounds had been covered.
He expressed the confidence that the President would find the findings and the recommendations useful in shaping important reforms.
He commended the President for his personal resolve to stamp out the evil of political violence in the country.
Terms of Reference
The terms of the commission included:
` To make a full, faithful and impartial enquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to, the events and associated violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
- To identify any person responsible for or who had been involved in the events, the associated violence and injuries.
- To inquire into any matter which it considered incidental or reasonably related to the causes of the events and the associated violence and injuries.
- To submit within one month its report to the President, giving reasons for its findings and recommendations, including appropriate sanctions, if any.