Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Kwaku Boahen and Johnson Asiedu Nketia
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is clearly hiding behind the criminal trial of two of their national executives to frustrate efforts to build consensus on the eradication of political vigilantism in Ghana.
On Thursday at Peduase in the Akuapem South District of the Eastern Region, the opposition NDC was conspicuously missing at a dialogue organized by the National Peace Council for leaders of political parties on the effort being made to build consensus on vigilantism.
Their General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, giving reasons for their boycott of the dialogue said cynically yesterday that it was because the NDC Chairman Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo had a court date, the party deemed it more important than the national exercise.
He created the impression that the whole NDC machinery were in court to support their chairman when in fact not all the executives and key party leaders were present in the courtroom on Thursday.
They even appeared to impugn the integrity of the National Peace Council (NPC) when the General Secretary said the council had been fixing the dialogue dates to coincide with their chairman’s court date.
“Anytime there is a court appearance that coincided with the Peace Council meeting, we attended court first before and if there is sufficient time, we continue. It didn’t appear from the beginning that the court appearance would cause our inability to be there completely so we were expecting to do the court appearance and subsequently proceed to the meeting,” he said.
“Chairman Ofosu-Ampofo is our leader so we don’t know whether it was coincident or deliberate that whenever we are going to court, Peace Council fixes the date on that same day,” he added.
He said the dialogue had reached a stage where nobody in the NDC apart from their chairman can make inputs and added that if Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo skipped court he would be cited for contempt.
“We had come to the critical point where we are about summarizing proceedings and drawing conclusions so it was absolutely necessary for the leader for our delegation to be there,” Mr. Nketia said.
“We are the same people that go to court so you can’t eat your cake and have it,” the NDC General Secretary added.
He said “there have been previous occasions when we have been able to combine them.”
The Chairman of the NPC, Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, said at the dialogue that “they (NDC) are fully aware that this document is being discussed. The outcome will be conveyed to them and a date will be set for the public signing after we have endorsed it.”
Currently, NDC Chairman Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo, and a Communication Officer of the party, Anthony Kwaku Boahen, are standing trial in respect of a leaked tape.
The two are standing trial over the tape that captured how the NDC was allegedly planning to commit crimes in the country and turn round to blame them on the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Among the strategies were the creation of a general state of insecurity in the country through kidnappings and arson, and verbal attacks on public officials like the Chairman of the NPC, Most Rev. Prof. Asante, and Electoral Commission boss, Jean Mensa.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo has been charged with one count of conspiracy to cause harm and two counts of assault against a public officer, while Mr. Boahen is facing one count of conspiracy to cause harm.
They were both granted bail of GH¢100,000, with one surety each.
Already, Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo has on two occasions failed in his attempt to have the charges against him struck out by the court after he said using the infamous tape against him infringed on his human rights.
The prosecution is expected to call its first witness on December 18.
By Nana Kwasi