The police have begun intensive investigations into the death of the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Alhaji Adams Mahama, from acid attack last Wednesday night.
They have arrested one of the two suspects who are alleged to have poured a gallon of acid on Alhaji Mahama, leading to his death yesterday morning at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital.
The identity of the suspected attacker has not been disclosed.
Alhaji Mahama last week had exchanges with Mr Afoko and the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr Kwabena Agyepong, over the failure of the two to inform him of their visit to the region.
Meanwhile, the untimely demise of Alhaji Mahama, believed to be one of the strongest regional chairmen of the party, has thrown Bolgatanga into a state of shock and mourning.
Party faithful, sympathisers and well-wishers, in a pensive mood, thronged the deceased’s family house, the regional office of the party, as well as the morgue, to confirm the news of his death.
The Administrative Officer of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital, Mr George Tampure, who confirmed the death to the Daily Graphic, said Allhaji Mahama was brought to the hospital at midnight on Wednesday and passed on around 7 a.m. yesterday.
He said an autopsy was yet to be performed to identify the cause of death before the body could be released to the family for burial, in accordance with Islamic tradition.
Alhaji Mahama is said to have been attacked by two men who allegedly poured a gallon of acid on him when he was returning home from work about 11 p.m.
According to the police, when Alhaji Mahama was just about 20 metres from his house, two men flagged him to stop. Thinking that the men had come to discuss party issues with him, he stopped and rolled down the window glass by the driver’s seat, only for the attackers to pour acid on him.
Alhaji Mahama is said to have managed to get out of the vehicle and started shouting for help, but before neighbours could go to his aid, the suspects had run away.
But the deceased, who later had blisters all over his body, was able to mention the names of the suspects to the police, one of whom has been arrested.
In an interview, the Upper East Regional Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr Thomas Yao Agbanyo, declined to disclose the identity of the suspects for security reasons.
The police are said to have mounted a search for the other suspect.
Second Vice-Chairman attacked
In another development, the Second Upper East Regional Vice-Chairman of the NPP, Mr Osman Konkonaba, was also attacked on the premises of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital morgue, in the company of two other people who had gone to the hospital to commiserate with Alhaji Mahama’s family over the chairman’s death.
A group of irate youth, believed to be the sympathisers of Alhaji Mahama attacked Mr Konkonaba’s Benz saloon car, with registration number UE177X, in which the vice-chairman and others had come, with stones and blocks.
The occupants of the car had to jump out, while it was still in motion, and it went to hit a tree. It took the intervention of the police, who had to fire warning shots, to disperse the mob before they could rescue the victims of the attack, some of whom sustained various degrees of injury.
Alhaji Mahama’s wife was so distraught that the family members prevented the Daily Graphic from talking to her.
But a family member, Ms Mariam Salam, recounting what Alhaji’s wife had told them, said around 11 p.m. last Wednesday, she was indoors when she suddenly heard her husband shouting.
Ms Mariam said the woman had rushed out, only to hear her husband mention the names of two persons who he said had poured acid on him.
The wife quickly helped her husband to remove his shirt, after which she rushed him to hospital.
Ms Salam said because of the quantity of acid poured on Alhaji Mahama, his wife, in helping him to remove his shirt, also came into contact with the acid and had also developed some blisters on her body.
Alhaji Mahama was in the news recently after some hired thugs had chased out Mr Afoko and Mr Agyepong from a meeting in the region.
The incensed thugs attacked the two and some constituency officers of the party with sticks and broken bottles for organising the meeting without informing Alhaji Mahama.
The timely intervention of the police prevented a bloodbath.
Alhaji Mahama, who was accused of being the mastermind of the confusion, later apologised but cautioned the national executive of the party to respect party structures.
In a statement he issued after the incident, Alhaji Mahama said: “This unfortunate development was entirely avoidable. It has brought to the fore two urgent matters which have to be rectified as soon as possible and the elected national officers of the party must be proactive in doing so.
“Firstly, I am appealing to the National Chairman and the General Secretary to stop this habit of sidelining elected officers they do not like. They must respect the structures of the party and work with the structures and the hierarchy of the party, including their colleagues at the headquarters and regional chairmen across the country. The more they seek to sideline those the party’s constitution says they must work with, the more suspicion and problems they fuel in the NPP.
“It was wrong for them to go to a region to campaign without consulting the regional chairmen of the first two regions they visited. We want them to consult the leadership of the party in the various regions and not to sideline existing structures of communication and operation in the running of the party at the regional level."
“Secondly, I urge the National Chairman and the General Secretary to stop their preferred mode of operation, which is to sideline the other elected national officers in decision-making at the top. It is only fuelling flames of suspicion and I urge them to stop this and begin working with the rest of the team.
“After what happened at the last Steering Committee meeting, the rank and file of the party want to see national officers working together. Would it not have been nice if the Chairman and the General Secretary had chosen to go on this trip in the regions with the other national officers to show unity?
“If they want to be believed that they mean well, then they should let us see that they are prepared to work with the other elected national officers. The Chairman and the General Secretary should not be seen to be trying to run a two-man show and by that marginalise the other executives. They should be seen travelling and working with the other national officers to show a united front to the members of the party, “ he said.
He recalled that the delegates in Tamale last year elected national officers on the same day and charged them to work together, and that was what the rank and file wanted to see, saying, “We in the regions are willing and ready to work with all of them, but we shall not tolerate anybody who wants to be an impediment on the route to victory in 2016.”