Et tu, Dampare?
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Et tu, Dampare?

Saw the headline on Wednesday: ‘Amenfi East NPP PC arrested over galamsey comment’.

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The story was that the police had invited the NPP Parliamentary Candidate in Amenfi East who was recorded inciting illegal miners to beat any security officer who attempted to stop them from doing their work.

News of the arrest gave me no comfort. I am a Ghanaian, and when it comes to dealing with crimes against the political class, especially officials of ruling governments, Ghanaians are like God: we know the end from the beginning. They are saying that the man will be freed. I will return to this topic later. 

Re-arrest

For now, I want to spill some ink on the re-arrest and detention of Phillis Naa Koryoo Okunor, National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) parliamentary candidate for the Awutu Senya East Constituency.

My senior colleague journalist, Frank Apeagyei, can tell the number of times I have expressed desire to get the IGP, Dr George Akuffo Dampare, for an interview. I am not the oldest Ghanaian alive, but who in this country ever dreamed that a police headquarters, the type we had known since 1957, could transform into the five-star edifice Dampare has made it?

I did not know what to think when, live on television, he shed tears. That teary conduct earned him a good place in the hearts of 90 per cent-plus Ghanaians. Elsewhere, tears dropping from the eyes of a public officer or seeker for public office is interpreted as a sign of weakness.

In the US, of all places on earth, support for Senator Edmund Muskie, an early favourite to win the Democratic presidential primaries, waned and dipped because on February 26, 1972, newspapers reported that at a public event, he had "tears streaming down his face." That finished him.

Of course, long after he had been thus compelled to bow out of the presidential race, his enemies later acknowledged that the "tears" could have been melting snow! Americans are a different kettle of fish. In Ghana, a public officer in tears will melt hearts. Some people are convinced that there has been no IGP like Dampare.

That bubble has been punctured. His handling of the latest assignment has raised a big question mark over his inherent goodness. I want to believe that the IGP had not read the docket. Why was she being re-arrested after the first arrest and her statement taken by police in the constituency?

In all good conscience, was this lady a criminal? It is alleged that she was carrying an unlicensed gun. It has turned out that the gun was licensed. It is alleged that it was in another person’s name, but it is emerging that the name on the permit had been wrongly spelt, and that the wrong spelling was the fault of the police officer who wrote out the licence.

At any rate, why must someone with a gun she hadn’t used be arrested, re-arrested and detained overnight when only a few years ago, in 2020, another parliamentary candidate, Hawa Koomson, did not only possess a gun, but actually discharged it in a crowded place?

How many minutes did Hawa Koomson spend at the police station when she was invited? Is the IGP aware that there is a popular song which is an eulogy to Dampare’s greatness as an IGP?

He stands the danger of losing all this love. The handling of this assignment gives the man in the street the unavoidable feeling that “Dampare is not different, after all”.  Why should a great officer like him lose such beautiful credentials just to please political power?

Once

Once upon a time, in the mid-1960s, a civilian Minister of Information in the National Liberation Council military government resigned because the military Head of State, General Ankrah, sacked the Editors of Ghanaian Times and Daily Graphic.

He resigned because he felt it was wrong to fire an editor for only doing their work. Dampare is a chartered accountant holding a PhD. He completed his ACCA in 1996 aged 25. He holds two Master of Science degrees in Accounting and Finance and Business Systems.

Would he starve if he resigned today on principle? Most importantly, can he look Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit in the eyes come Sunday?
Now back to the story of the arrested Amenfi East NPP PC.  

Hear him: “We (NPP) have cancelled Operation Galamstop and the soldiers who have been tormenting you. So, officially, neither the military nor any security operative currently wields the power to stop anyone from engaging in illegal mining.”

Present was the Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah. All because an election is coming up and NPP must not lose in Galamsey constituencies as they did in 2000. When I heard Bawumia promise that “we will not burn your Galamsey equipment”, I knew that it had come to the wire!

Akufo-Addo’s appointees have soon forgotten that by taking power in their own hands, galamseyers killed Major Mahama. In a confrontation between officials of AngloGold Ashanti and galamseyers on an AGA concession on February 6, 2016, John Owusu, a communication strategist with the company, was killed. It’s a shame. 

The writer is Executive Director,
Centre for Communication and Culture.
E-mail: [email protected]

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