The Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry into the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence will bring the hearing of witnesses’ accounts of the violence that nearly marred the polls to and end today, Friday, March 8, 2019.
The end of the commission’s sitting will be culminated with a meeting with the press, during which the commissioners will make their concluding statements on the inquiry.
A statement released by the Office of the Executive Secretary to the commission yesterday said the meeting with the press would serve as a forum to answer important questions pertaining to the work of the commission.
The meeting, it said, would also be used to make known to the public the next line of activities for the commission after the public hearings.
Four more to go
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Checks conducted by the Daily Graphic revealed that four more witnesses are to appear before the commission today, after which the hearings of witnesses would be brought to a close.
The remaining witnesses are Mohammed Suleimana, a member of the National Security SWAT team; Nathaniel Tengey, Mr Delali Kwesi Brempong’s housekeeper, and James Moore and Mohammed Alhassan, both victims of the violence.
Reports from the Office of the Executive Secretary to the commission had earlier indicated that the commission was to have officially ended its sitting yesterday, after which a meeting with the press would follow the same day.
However, due to its inability to exhaust the list of witnesses scheduled to appear before it today, a reschedule of the closure became necessary to allow for all remaining persons who matter in the investigations to be heard.
“Due to the sheer volume of testimonies which need to be taken prior to the commission bringing to an end its hearings, it has become necessary to reschedule the prior announced press briefing to Friday, March 8, 2019,” the statement said.
Following the violence that characterised the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on January 31, 2019, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo set up a three-member committee to probe the violence.
The commission, chaired by a former Commissioner of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Justice Emile Short, has Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, a legal expert, and Mr Patrick Kwateng Acheampong, a former Inspector General of Police (IGP), as the other members.
It was inaugurated on February 6, 2019, after which it began sitting on February 14, 2019.
Yesterday marked the 11th sitting of the commission in three weeks.
Since its first public hearing, individuals, made up of eyewitnesses, victims of the violence, heads of security agencies, security analysts and journalists, have appeared before it to give their testimonies.
They include the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr David Asante-Apeatu; the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery; the Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah; the Minister of State in charge of National Security, Mr Bryan Acheampong, and a security analyst, Dr Kwesi Aning, who is also the Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
‘I’m not leader of the Hawks’
Earlier yesterday, the suspected leader of the Hawks group, Mr Theophilus Sododi, had appeared before the commission as the second victim of the by-election of January 31, this year.
He told the commission that he arrived at Ayawaso West Wuogon as an executive member of the Ablekuma North branch of the NDC to support the party.
When he was shown photos of him wearing a T-shirt with the inscription ‘The Hawks’ to justify being labelled the leader of the group, he denied the accusation, saying that he was given the T-shirt when the party held its Unity Walk in Kumasi and the Volta Region.