General

Two arrested for taking Akufo-Addo, Otumfuo to juju shrine

The Volta Regional Police Commander, DCOP Francis Doku, has said two young men working on behalf of anti-Oti Region elements in the area, have been arrested for attempting to cast a spell on President Nana Akufo-Addo, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Chairman of the Commission of Enquiry into the creation of the six new regions, Justice Brobbey; Chairman of the Electoral Commission Mrs Jean Mensa and some other prominent personalities who are connected in one way or the other to the processes leading to the carving out of the proposed Oti Region from the Volta Region.

DCOP Duku told journalists at a press conference on Thursday, 6 December 2018 that: “Our meeting here this afternoon is basically about the threats that we are receiving from the impending referendum.

“If you recall, at the launch of ‘Operation Clam Life’, I did indicate that we are receiving threats from people who are against the creation of the Oti Region and the threats are coming in physical and spiritual forms.”

“Just yesterday [Wednesday, 5 December 2018] at about 12 o’clock in the afternoon, the police in Dzodze had information that some two young men from Ashaiman had approached a herbalist with some names of prominent people including the president of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Dr Yao Letsa Archibald, the Volta Regional Minister; Mr Dan Botwe, the Minister of Regional Reorganisation; Mrs Jean Adokwei Mensa, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission; Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, a prominent politician and also a citizen from one of the areas that has been earmarked for the new region, and we have Justice Brobbey who chaired the Commission that was to seek the opinion of people who intend to have a region for themselves, and then finally we have Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II also on the list.”

“The purpose of these two young men approaching the shrine is to cast a spell on those that I have mentioned in order that they will call for the cancellation of the referendum in the Oti Region.”

“Now you’d recall that I keep saying that they are up to all manner of things and we, on our part as the security body responsible for the maintenance of internal security, will do everything within our power to ensure that the referendum is held devoid of any security threats or manifestations.”

“Now, the people we are talking about are Ebenezer Atsu, 32 years; and Shepherd Acolatse, 55 years, who both hail from Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region. The name of the fetish priest is Festus Kwashie Babanao.”

“Upon interrogation, it turned out that the two were sent by their collaborators outside the region. For security reasons, it will be too early for us to give you the names of their collaborators but we are following up on the information that they have provided to us and we’ll want to believe that in the next few days, we’ll call you to give you an update on how far we’ve gone with the investigations.”

“But they [suspects] keep saying that they set out to do what they went to do on their own. Now listening to the herbalist, it turned out that when he got the information about their purpose of being at the shrine, he quickly called the police, because, according to him, he is not interested. He is not somebody who undermines the security of the state. And, so, we’re most grateful that he’s done this.”

“We want to extend this invitation to other spiritualists who may be approached with issues regarding the threat of the security of the state or the security of individuals or organisations to desist from such engagements.”

“We have been reliably informed through our intelligence that the Western Togoland group is solidly behind this move. We want to sound a caution to them that if they think they have a case, they should go through the normal process but not to interfere in the impending referendum.”

“If they do, we’ll crush them. We’ll not sit down for anybody to take the law into their own hands. They have started their course, the process is there, they know which processes to go through. They must pursue those processes. If they extend their activities towards impeding the referendum, we will not allow that to happen. As we speak, the Minister of Regional Reorganisation, the Regional Minister and other stakeholders are having a meeting in Worawora to shape up the impending referendum. Their security is assured”, the police commander said.

Just recently, President Akufo-Addo instructed the Ministry of Information to publish the 398-page Justice S.A. Brobbey Commission Report on the creation of new regions.

The Supreme Court last week threw out a challenge to the constitutionality of the process by some people who are from the Volta Region.

The applicants, Mayor Agebleze, Destiny Awlimey and Jean-Claude Amenyaoglo, were seeking interpretation of Article 5(4) of the 1992 Constitution, which states:

“Where a commission of inquiry appointed under clause (2) and (3) of this article finds that there is the need and a substantial demand for the creation, alteration or merger referred to in either of those clauses, it shall recommend to the President that a referendum be held, specifying the sues to be determined by the referendum and the places where the referendum should be held”.

They argued that the recommendations of the Justice Brobbey Commission that the upcoming referenda should be carried out in only the areas to be affected by the proposed new regions and not the entire existing regions out of which those new ones would be carved, was unconstitutional.

Deputy Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, the lawyer for the Electoral Commission (EC) Justin Amenuvor and Mr Albert Quashigah, the lawyer for the applicants, all told the Supreme Court that they rely entirely on the addresses they have filed in court.

Their submissions paved the way for the judgement of the apex on Wednesday, 28 November.

The lawyers for the EC argued that: “What the plaintiffs in the case are asking the Supreme Court to do is to twist, alter and insert words into clear, precise and unambiguous provisions of the Constitution, so as to substitute their preferred recommendation for that of a constitutionally-mandated Commission that has exercised its powers and discretion within the confines of the law”.

“We submit that this is an unnecessary invitation to this court; it is not supported by our constitutional provisions or the jurisprudence of this court and we invite Your Lordships to decline this invitation. My Lords, we submit that on this point alone, this action ought to be dismissed in limine and with costs,” the written address said.

The Deputy Attorney General argued that: “The plaintiffs, through the invocation of this court’s original jurisdiction, subtly seek a review of how the Article 5 Commission set up by the president, as well as the EC, discharged the duties cast on it by the Constitution.”

“We submit that the duties of an Article 5 Commission and the EC under Article 5 of the Constitution are not reviewable by any person or authority, save in the case of a violation of the law or Constitution. Where the Constitution has placed a duty on a person or authority that duty must be performed.”

“The performance of that duty is not questionable in the absence of an excess of the powers conferred by the Constitution or other forms of illegality committed by that person or authority. Plaintiffs have woefully failed to show any such unconstitutionality or illegality, and, therefore, the instant action ought to be dismissed”.

Mr Dame added: “For failure to satisfy the essential requisites for an invocation of the court’s original jurisdiction under Articles 2(1) and 130(1), the instant action is devoid of a cause of action, and ought to be dismissed”.

In its judgement read by Justice Professor Nii Ashie Kotey, the seven-member panel, unanimously sided with the EC and AG’s arguments that Article 5(4) of the 1992 Constitution is clear in meaning and had no ambiguity whatsoever about it and, therefore, there is nothing that arises for interpretation.

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