Two opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate some seven deaths and eight injuries that occurred during the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.
The MPs, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the representative of North Tongu constituency and Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, the representative of the Ellembelle constituency, in their petition presented to CHARJ today lodged a complaint against the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Defence as well as the Inspector General of Police of the Ghana Police Service and the Chief of Defence Staff of Ghana Armed Forces.
The MPs want disciplinary action as well as the prosecution of the officers that caused death and injuries during the polls. They are also seeking compensation for the victims or their representatives.
"The complainants demand that the Commission conduct investigations into the NESTF’s activities during the December 2020 elections at the Techiman South, Odododiodio, Ablekuma Central and Savelugu constituencies in the Bono East, Greater Accra Region, and Northern Regions of the Republic of Ghana," the petition states.
"The Complainants also demand that the investigation identify officials of the Ghana Police Service and Ghana Armed Forces responsible for the unlawful acts the subject matter of the present complaint and the persons under whose command and instructions they acted.
"The Complainants finally demand that the investigation identify the role played by the Ministers of the Interior and Defence in terms of instructions and orders in relation to the conduct resulting in this complaint, and the lack of leadership or proper oversight to prevent, stop or respond in a manner to curb the violations".
Legal justification for petition
The MPs in the petition state that CHRAJ has the mandate under Article 218(a) of the 1992 to investigate violations of rights, abuses of power as well as injustice and unfair treatment.
Their complaint is restricted to the Techiman South, Odododiodio, Ablekuma Central, and Savelugu constituencies in the Bono East, Greater Accra and Northern Regions of the Republic of Ghana respectively.
It relates to the manner in which the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Armed Forces discharged their constitutional and statutory mandates in the constituencies.
"In the case of the Ghana Armed Forces, their conduct in furtherance of the purpose of the National Election Security Taskforce (NESTF) did not promote the development of Ghana as prescribed by article 210(3) of the 1992 Constitution, as their conduct caused damage to life, limb and property," the petition reads.
"Regarding the Ghana Police service, the manner in which they carried out their functions to further the purpose of the NESTF undermined their constitutional obligation under Article 200(3) of performing their “traditional role of maintaining law and order".
Deaths & injuries
According to the petition, the actions of armed officers on December 8, 2020, led to the death of two persons and injuries to seven others at the Brokyepem Hall close to the Techiman Municipal Assembly in the Techiman South Constitution.
The petition also mentions that on the same day, the acts of uniformed officers resulted in the death of two persons each in the Odododiodio and Savelugu constituencies and another at the Odorkor Police Church Collation Centre at the Ablekuma Central Constituency.
"Like the other shooting incidents, there was no justification for this clear violation of their (the officers) mandate to provide and safeguard the security of citizens who legitimately came to the polling station to vote and observe the polls," the petition states.
The names of all the deceased and injured are stated in the petition which was submitted to CHRAJ today.
The MPs also attached medical reports as well as video footage of some of the incidents as evidence to CHRAJ.