The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has fingered the National Security and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for masterminding the dawn raid at the party’s headquarters at Asylum Down in Accra Monday.
At a press conference addressed by the acting National Chairman of the party, Mr Freddy Blay, the NPP accused the government of using state institutions to destabilise the party.
Supporters of the party, many of who wore anything red, provided a charged atmosphere at the media briefing as they sang and cheered the acting chairman as he narrated events leading to the ransacking of the party’s headquarters.
According to him, a careful review of the invasion of party’s head office and its Annex at Kokomlemle, by armed men in military uniform, and subsequent evidence proved that it was conducted by the State in order to destroy the fortunes of the NPP.
He said the ransacking of “The two party offices was designed to provoke the Invisible Forces to storm the two places with reinforcement in an anticipated move to take back ‘control’ of the party buildings. This could then trigger violence, turning the head office of the largest opposition party in Ghana into a scene of a nasty, ugly bloodbath.”
He accused President Mahama of being desperate to hold on to power and as such using National Security to infiltrate and cause confusion in the party in order that the ruling NDC win a third consecutive term in office.
He cautioned; “National Security personnel and others who have made it their industry to invest in the creation of confusion and sponsoring raids and physical attacks, we are saying to them for goodness sake: PLEASE STOP! Stop being used for evil. Your job is to protect the people and not to destroy.”
The NPP had, as part of their protest of the invasion of its offices, asked its supporters to storm the party office in red clothes and bands, a call many of them responded to.
Below is the full address by the acting party chairman
STATEMENT OF PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE ACTING NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY ON THE STATE-SPONSORED ATTACKS ON THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, our Vice Presidential candidate, National Officers of the New Patriotic Party, Council of Elders, National Council members, Members of Parliament, members and sympathizers of the great Elephant Family, the media, ladies and gentlemen.
We thank you for your presence here this morning, at the Headquarters of the New Patriotic Party; the very same premises that was the subject of very troubling incident on Monday, November 23, 2015. The red and black attire you see us wearing today depicts the mood of the Party. We are enraged. We are outraged. This is an alarming and dismaying moment for Ghana’s democracy. We see very dark clouds ahead for our democracy. And, we owe it a responsibility to the people of Ghana to express these concerns here and now.
We have called you here to protest against last Monday’s unprovoked, orchestrated, simultaneous dawn raids on our two main national offices: this place, our National Headquarters here in Asylum Down, and its Annex at Kokomlemle,by armed men in military uniform.
Hours after the Monday dawn raid, you would recall that ,we addressed the press, indicating that the Party would conduct its own investigations, apart from that of the Police authorities, and let the public know the outcome. This is to update you on our findings. Our findings so far suggest that what happened Monday was a wickedly orchestrated attempt to turn this head office into a bloodbath and with one aim only: to score a political point against the country’s largest opposition party, as we draw ever closer to the next general elections.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the details unfolding are frightening. After a careful review of the invasion, evidence, and subsequent events to date, the NPP is in no doubt that the attack on our offices was conducted by the State, specifically, using certain rogue elements within the National Security set up, in full collaboration with some identifiable individuals now bent on destroying the fortunes of the NPP.
An attack on the NPP is an attack on Ghana’s democracy. An organized violent attack against an opposition party using institutions of state is tantamount to an attempted coup d’état against thenation’s Constitution. It marks a clear departure from the democratic course we are on and a threatening return to the dark days of oppression. We must all stand together as one to kill off this dangerous phenomenon now.
EYE WITNESS ACCOUNT
Kindly permit us to begin with a brief eyewitness account of the incident:
Around 1:00 am that Monday morning, when the whole nation was fast asleep, a group of about 15 men in military fatigues, traveling in 2 military vehicles, escorted by one police vehicle, invaded this compound. First, there was a knock on the gate, the voice at the other end said “Police Patrol!” The NPP security man saw flashing blue light on a police patrol vehicle outside, and, with that assurance, opened the gate. Suddenly, men carrying AK47 in military uniform rushed onto the compound and rounded up four men on the premises.
At the same time, another contingent of armed men also attacked our head office annex at Kokomlemle, just four minutes drive away from here. They faced no resistance, and paved the way for 15 young men in red T-Shirts to ‘take control’ of that second party office.
Here at the main office, one party security man managed to escape while the remaining three -- a second security man and two cleaners --had their mobile phones taken from them before they were locked up inside the security post for a brief period. Shortly after, the armed men brought the party workers out, produced a sack,poured out its contents of guns and machetes on the floor and asked the three detained men, under duress, to pick the weapons up one by one back into the sack. This was clearly to implicate the innocent men with their fingerprints.
With this complete, and the premises secured, the uniformed men allowed a group of about fifty (50) young men and a woman, all wearing red T-Shirts, who were in a bus waiting outside, to enter the premises, with their ringleader saying to our security man, “We are here to take over.” Together with the uniformed men,they broke down doors, including metal ones, and ransacked offices.
Instructively, the one office that was specifically targeted for theft of documents was that of the Director of Electoral Affairs. Computer hard drive there was removed from the machine, several files, including correspondents with the EC and strategy documents were stolen.
The uniformed men then apparently communicated with the Police and went out of the building to hand over the sack of weapons and the detained security guardto the custody of the Police and drove off. Our information is that two separate divisions of the Police Service arrived at the scene and with separate briefs. The first set of Police that showed up appeared only interested in getting their hands on the sack of weapons and our security personnel. They did not bother to question the scores of young men who were at the time busily breaking down doors and ransacking offices.
Shortly after, another division of the Police, Nima, came and this time, these officers acted as was expected of them, rounding up as many of the fifty people as they could, as the rest fled.
An off duty party securityman, responding to a distress call around 3am, directed some of the Police officers from Asylum Down to the NPP Kokomlemle office where the other raid took place. There, the Police first rightly rounded up the fifteen men cladded in red T-Shirts. Oddly, the Police had a sudden change of mind and left the Kokomlemle office without effecting a single arrest. Our information is that the officers there received orders to set all the detained men there free. Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we have here photographs of nine of the 15 men rounded up at the Kokomlemle office, who can be seen clearly under full police custody. They were not taken to the Police station; they were not interrogated; their statements were not taken. They were just allowed to go.
As at Wednesday, November 25, 2015, the 11 men who were arrested at the NPP Headquarters here were all granted bail by an Accra Circuit Court. They were charged with unlawful entry, unlawful purpose on private premises and causing unlawful damage to the tune of GH¢28,000.
2012 RAID BY ARMED OFFICERS
Ladies and gentleman, this is not the first time such a raid has been conducted against the NPP. You will recall that on December 11, 2012,heavily armed Police and Military personnel raided a research office of the NPP, a few blocks away from here, where men and women were gathering evidence for the Party to challenge the results of the presidential election in court.That attack resulted in the theft of several boxes of evidence?The men who raided the NPPin 2012 claimed they were looking for arms and ammunition. None was found, of course.
But, this time, it appears those who raided this very office on Monday did not want to take chances so they brought their own weapons to be found by themselves.Let us pause here to attest -- unequivocally -- that the NPP is a peaceful, political party. We are proud of our non-violent history and our faith in the rule of law and democracy. We do not condone violence of any kind, and our headquarters does not house weapons -- not on that day and not at any time. We say without hesitation that the weapons in the sack were brought to the scene by the attackers and planted.
Intelligence information we have picked up and the manner in which the raids occurred and the response by the security agencies all point to one direction: that the raids, although “unofficial”, were done on the orders of highly placed people within the National Security set up.
THE FACTS ARE THAT:
A Police patrol vehicle, specifically, a blue Nissan Navara pickup, manned by men in police uniform drove to the NPP head office around 1:00 am.
A man in police uniform caused for the gate to be opened.
Two military vehicles, carrying men in uniform, came to the Party head office.
The 15 men who led the raid at the Party head office wore uniforms issued by the army.
They carried weapons issued to authorized officers.
The Armed Forces issued a statement Monday saying, “The Armed Forces has not officially sanctioned anybody to do anything at the NPP headquarters and we are waiting for the Police to come out with its findings then we can take it from there.”
The Police have so far not given any useful information about the weapons in the sack.
No action was taken against the trespassers who took unlawful custody of our head office annex.
Confidential information on the voters’ register and related items on electoral affairs were targeted and taken away.
THIS LEADS US TO ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
Why was the Office of the Director of Electoral Affairs the one singled out for theft of confidential documents, both in electronic and paper formats?
Which group stands to benefit from getting its hands on vital, confidential information about our election plans, including documents on the current issue of a new voters’ register?
Who authorized the use of military vehicles for that dawn operation?
Who authorized the use of the weapons used for the two raids?
Who authorized the use of the Police patrol vehicle?
Which Police officers were in the patrol vehicle?
Why was the first set of Police deployed to the NPP head office only interested in the weapons in the sack and arresting our security guard, but not the raiders?
Why did the Police not arrest the men in military uniform?
Is it because the Police were satisfied with the identity of the purported military officers who handed over the sack of weapons to them?
Is there an official army and an “unofficial” army within the Armed Forces in Ghana?
Is there an official Police Service and an “unofficial” Police Service?
Have the Police been able to trace the source of the weapons in the sack?
What are the names, units and identities of the men in uniform?
Have any of the men in uniform been arrested?
How come the results of the so-called search conducted by the Police-cum-Military not been released to the leadership of the NPP so far?
Why were the trespassers arrested at our Kokomlemle office immediately released and not taken into custody for interrogation?
Who gave the order to release them?
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, as we hinted earlier, we have picked up very disturbing intelligence. The raid by the men in military uniform was apparently to clear the two party offices for the men in red T’ Shirts to ostensibly “take over”. Their presence at the two party offices was designed to provoke the Invisible Forces to storm the two places with reinforcement in an anticipated move to take back ‘control’ of the Party buildings. This could then trigger violence, turning the head office of the largest opposition party in Ghana into a scene of a nasty, ugly bloodbath. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how far some are prepared to go for the sake of scoring a political point against the NPP. But, God being so good, the Party security men did not fall for this bait.
Most of the men in red had no idea of this. They are poor, unemployed, hungry and marginalized young people who were mobilized from Nima, Odorkor and Kwame Nkrumah Circle area and paid very little sums of money just to be there. Unknown to them, those who brought them there were prepared to watch these young people sacrifice the lives.
SLUSH FUNDS TO DAMAGE NPP
Desperate to hang on to power in spite of its abysmal performance, the Mahama administration, according to a preponderance of information we have, has therefore put aside a huge budget and a crack team, supported by elements in the National Security set up, to make the job of attempting to damage the NPP a top priority. To the ruling NDC, creating confusion in the NPP is a more competent and convenient way to gain electoral advantage than fixing the myriad of problems they have visited on the country. We are aware of the tens of millions of Ghana Cedis in slush funds dedicated to this special project. And, we also know of the individuals, including two heads of important organizations, whose job it is to fund and fuel this evil plot.
DESPERATE THIRD TERM PUSH
President Mahama is desperate and believes he can use this fiction of confusion to snatch for his party a third consecutive term in office. Already, he has started with the focus of his recent campaign speeches.
These attacks on the NPP, and the deliberate dragging of the party’s image in the mud have followed a clear pattern in the last year or so. Our major worry is that the plot is getting thicker and more deadly. We believe if we do not bring focus to this evil plot now, more lives could be lost and our democracy could be severely damaged. We cannot accept this. We have come too far as a nation for a return to the ‘dark days’ of the culture of silence. These times, however, some journalists, by no means all, are paid to abandon their ethics and adopt a culture of silence over the way our country is being incompetently managed, keeping their attention rather on making the opposition unduly unpopular.
National Security personnel and others who have made it their industry to invest in the creation of confusion and sponsoring raids and physical attacks, we are saying to them for goodness sake: PLEASE STOP! Stop being used for evil. Your job is to protect the people and not to destroy!
ADAMS MAHAMA, ABUBAKAR SADDIQ
Already, two lives have been destroyed as a few bad elements in our midst have allowed themselves to be used as instruments of evil against the NPP. It must be noted that the two party people who lost their lives this year, Alhaji Adams Mahama, our energetic Upper East Regional Chairman, and NPP activist AbubakarSaddiq of Asawase, Kumasi, were both staunch loyalists of the Party and were fully dedicated to the project of getting Nana Akufo-Addo, our Presidential Candidate, elected in 2016. They were not victims of a party with an intolerant majority crushing dissent from the few. They were rather togetherwith the overwhelming majority of the NPP and suffered for it. We shall not sit by and let our broad, united front be broken by enemies of democracy, whether within or without, whose sole aim is to mute the main opposition voice for the sake of keeping the incumbent in office for another four wasted years.
The country is faced with serious challenges. We will suggest that President Mahama and his people redirect their energies towards at least attempting to confront those challenges. Hiring hoodlums, sending armed men, using state security apparatus to harass, intimidate, and provoke reprisal attack sis cheap, archaic and unimaginative!
It is interesting to note that Bismark Danso, who claimed to have organized the thugs in red T-Shirts, is a known NDC activist who hails from Suhum and connected to known individuals in the NDC government.
The NPP grossly deplores and condemns these crude tactics by powerful people of the State to create a constant state of diversion from the mountain of problems facing the country. We call on the good people of Ghana to join us to resist these growing threats to our democracy by the forces of darkness.
The State security agencies, including the Military high command, the Ghana Police Service and the Office of National Security, must conduct full-scale investigations into how and why and under whose authorization their own forces were involved in an attack on the offices of the opposition. The investigations must be conducted professionally, transparently, and without political interference or bias. Anyone who participated in the planning and execution of this attack must be held accountable.
We must end this here, today.
Let us stand firm and build within the NPP a strong unity of the willing. Let us close ranks with the multitude who are united in their eagerness to work for the CHANGE that must come in 2016.
Let us all build this country, its democracy and bring about good governance for the benefit of the people of Ghana.
In conclusion, we wish to assure those who wish as evil and, more importantly, reassure the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians who wish us well, that the New Patriotic Party under the able and competent leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo and his running mate Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia is more determined than ever to bring the change Ghana needs in 2016. We will get Ghana back to work. We will bring back integrity to the business of government and restore the pride and dignity of institutions of state. And we will ensure the protection of the rights of the people -- all people, including those who oppose us politically.
We shall not be moved! We shall stay focused!
God bless the NPP
God bless Ghana and
God bless we all gathered her for this conference.
Freddy BlayAg. National Chairman, NPP