The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has petitioned the Commonwealth over alleged “human rights violations, criminal prosecutions, and harassment” of some of its members, supporters, and other social activists in the country.
Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the Party, at a media engagement in Accra on Monday, said the NDC was also concerned about attacks on journalists and the closure of some media houses in the country.
The cases filed at the Commonwealth included the Republic vs Stephen Kwabena Opuni and two others, the Republic vs Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and Anthony Kwaku Boahen, and the Republic vs Cassiel Ato Forson and others.
Other issues of concern to the Party were the fallout from the 2020 general election regarding the non-representation of the people of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lipke and Lolobi (SALL) in the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
Mr Nketia also said it was worrying that the killers of Investigative Journalist, Ahmed Hussein-Suale, three years on had not been found just as the case of Ibrahim Mohammed, also known as Kaaka Macho, remained inconclusive.
The Party also lamented about the arrest of Oliver Mawuse Barker-Vormawor, a social media activist as well as recent “attacks, arrest and incarceration” of some journalists, including Accra FM’s Presenter Kwabena Bobbie Ansah and Oheneba Boamah Bennie, of Power FM.
The 2021 World Press Freedom Index maintained Ghana’s rank at 30 among 180 countries.
It cited the failure of State authorities to investigate and prosecute persons involved in the killing of Mr Hussein-Suale for the non-improvement in the ranking.
The current situation, Mr Nketia said, threatened the country’s political stability, peace and security, while Ghana’s democratic credentials could be dented.
Mr Nketia alleged that: “Since assuming the reins of power in 2016, the message of physical violence against political opponents that Nana Addo preached and championed before the 2016 general elections has turned into structural, institutional and systematic forms of violence in the form of human rights violations, harassment, and political persecutions against members and supporters of the NDC.”
“These actions of the government of Ghana create conditions that threaten Ghana’s political stability and further erode our democratic values.”
He added that: “It is very unfortunate that after riding on the high horse ad banner of a human right activist, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has become a democratic despot who brooks no opposition.”
The NDC General Secretary said the Party had since petitioned the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, to monitor human rights violations, investigate the matters, and monitor criminal prosecutions against NDC members.
The plea of the Party was for the Commonwealth to ultimately: “Call upon the government of Ghana to put a stop to these persecution, harassment, threats, and killings of supporters and members of the NDC.”
Mr Nketia said it was important for Commonwealth to, “Closely follow the political and human services situation since the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy and fundamental freedom is a core value of the Commonwealth.”
He said a team of lawyers, judges, and other legal experts were also required in the country, “to assess the adequacy and quality of the justice being administered to members of the NDC who are facing criminal prosecutions.”
The Party also asked the Commonwealth to “continue to engage the government, support and encourage their pursuit of accountability for the perpetrators of the Ayawaso West Wuogon bye-election and the killings of eight Ghanaians during the December 7, 2020, general election.”
The NDC also called for engagements to be held with government officials, political parties, representatives of civil society, “to respect, promote, protect, human rights in Ghana.”
Ghana is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations; a political association that promotes world peace, representative democracy and individual liberty.
Members could be suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth for “serious or persistent violations” of the Harare Declaration, particularly in abrogating their responsibility to have democratic government.