Pressure is mounting on President Akufo-Addo, to sack his Minister for Special Initiatives, who raided a registration centre at Kasoa in the Central Region with heavily armed thugs, frightening prospective voters, burning motorbikes, as she and her thugs, fired gunshots, some of which went into the house of an innocent woman living with her children, forcing them to duck for cover.
Almost every security expert in the country, have called on Mavis Hawa Koomson, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Awutu Senya East, to resign but if she fails to resign, President Akufo-Addo, must fire her immediately, but several hours have passed since the call was made, but the President is yet to say something on the incident.
Prof Kwesi Aning; Security Expert, Adam Bonaa; Security Expert, Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI Africa, and many others, including the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), have condemned the MP for firing the shots, saying the MP’s action was selfish and asked her to resign.
However, of all the calls on the Minister to resign or be fired, that of Colonel Retired Festus Aboagye, another Security analyst ,who has repeatedly cautioned against violence at the 2020 polls, appears the strongest. He did not only call for the resignation or dismissal, but wants the minister arrested after her resignation or dismissal.
Also joining the call for the minister to resign, is the chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Prof Emmanuel Asante. According to him, the Minister must resign for acting dishonourably by pulling a gun and firing warning shots.
On Monday, the Step to Christ registration centre in Kasoa was closed down by officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) after gun-wielding men and the MP, stormed the premises.
Police later arrested four persons in connection with the incident which saw at least three motorbikes burnt during the chaos.
The suspects, Sulley Razak, Majeed Amadu, Suleman Yusuf and Razak Musa are currently in police custody, having been provisionally charged with disruption of the process, discharge of firearm without authority and causing unlawful damage.
Shortly after the incident, Mavis Hawa Koomson, admitted on prime radio that she fired a gun.
In the words of Ms Koomson in an interaction with Accra-based Adom FM, she was responsible for the warning shots at one of the polling centres in her constituency.
She said, “The lives of my people were in danger when the guys on motorbike came to the registration centre so I fired warning shots but I didn’t direct it to anyoneâ¦The shots I fired brought sanity to the centre because the guys on the motorbike left the centreâ¦None of my men had guns on then when we got to the centre. I fired the shots myselfâ¦I’m a Member of Parliament, I need to protect myself. It was at dawn; my police escort had not started work yet. So that is a mechanism I have adopted in his absence.”
The MP, who is yet to be arrested, indicated she went to the place because she heard her opponent had bussed people from other places to the registration centre.
“I’m a Member of Parliament, I need to protect myself. It was at dawn, my police escort had not started work yet. So that is a mechanism I have adopted in his absence,” she said but after her admission, Prof Kwesi Aning, stated on Joy News TV’s PM Express”it is my hope that the President will ask Hawa Koomson to step aside or probably dismiss her”.
The Director of Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, said the warning shots fired by the Minister, were unacceptable, premeditated and put the lives of her constituents at risk, adding the incident brings to the fore the ease of acquiring guns in Ghana.
Also expressing his displeasure over the incident on yesterday, Colonel Retired Festus Aboagye,said the best move for the Minister was to resign from her post.
“This is a Minister and a lawmaker who violates the very law that she has participated in establishing. What else can you say?
“That is not acceptable. The right thing to do is either to resign or for her to be recalled by whoever appointed her,” he told Daniel Dadzie.
But the security analyst believes the Minister should have been picked up by the police as well.
“Under normal circumstances, you and I know that the minister â to use very diplomatic language â should have been invited by the police yesterday, she should have made the number five, of those arrested by the police,” he said.
“Assuming that she had been an opposition Member of Parliament, wouldn’t she have been invited by the police?” he quizzed.
The security analyst, also demanded that the MP apologises to Ghanaians for her actions which he describes as unacceptable.
Speaking in his personal capacity rather than for the National Peace Council, which he chairs, Prof Asante, described the incident as “very veryvery worrying”.
“I saw this very late last night before I slept and really, I was disturbed about the whole thing”, he told Benjamin Akakpo in an interview on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show yesterday.
“Why? For the simple reason that we have an honourable minister, an honourable member of parliament also, and I believe that she’s also the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for Awutu Senya East Constituency. We would expect that such honourable people would provide leadership, no matter the provocation”, he explained.
“And, for her to have said that she felt threatened, so, she pulled a gun and fired it and created chaos in that place; what if, in pulling the gun, others, whoever the detractors may be, even if they were around, … also pulled a gun? What would have happened?” he asked.
Prof Asante wondered if “pulling a gun” was the “only option” the minister and MP had under the circumstances.
“Even if her bodyguard was not around, couldn’t she have gone to the police station to inform the police about what was happening? As far as I’m concerned, it cannot be justified in any sense”, he said.
“She should do the honourable thing, and for me, resign”, Prof Asante demanded.
Apart from that, he said the “police must also investigate the matter and let the law take its course for that matter, especially, the context within which this was done â in a situation where tension is rising and we’re doing all we can, people from different angles are doing all they can to ensure that there would be peace and tranquility in what we are doing; we will not expect our leaders, honourable people to do things of this nature”.
“We expect our honourable people to do honourable things, not dishonourable things”, he added.
“If I’m an honourable person and I’ve done a thing of this nature, then I need to sit back and consider what I have to do. As for her being a minister, can she still maintain that dignity of an office? This is the thing”.
Beyond asking for her resignation and the police taking her on, Prof Asante said Parliament must also sanction the MP for her “dishonorable” action.
“Parliament must also have a say on such matters. Parliament cannot sit down and think that parliamentarians can do whatever they like and there will be no sanctions whatsoever. I would think that parliament, the executives, the speakers and all the leadership of parliament, will have something to say to this person because she brings the name of parliament into disrepute by her action. I mean, so, in any panicky situation, you pull a gun and shoot it? If an ordinary citizen does that, what is going to happen?
Adam Bonaa, another Security expert,also said the minister should resign or should be dismissed.
“Holding a fire arm is a privilege. She is a threat to society and her fire arm license should be withdrawn,” Bonaa stated, adding: “Holding a fire arm do not give you the audacity to shoot. There are rules and regulations. Her constituents should not retain her.”Â
However, her colleague MP in the Okaikoi North, also of the NPP, Fuseini Issah, has jumped to the defense of Hawa Koomson, stating that something might have triggered her action, therefore, calls for her dismissal are too early.
He said details of what actually transpired at the centre, must be given in details before concluding whether or not she should be dismissed.
Speaking on TV3 morning show, the MP said “â¦with what transpired at the registration, I don’t think the minister will exercise first option by pulling a gun without a cause or a defect. The details are still coming in and we must be circumspect.”
“It think it’s too early to make those calls, let’s find out what actually transpired.”
But National Communication Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, raised concerns over the MP’s decision to defend his colleague, adding that the act is a criminal one and shameful.
“Am highly scandalized by the justification for the Fusieni Issah for this heinous crime and clearly indefensible act of the minister and MP.”
“What the woman was engaged in is a crime, it is shameful and reprehensible,” he said.
Vice President of the Ghana Medical Association also questioned the presence of the Minister registration centre in the Awutu Senya East constituency, in a submission on ‘Pure Morning Drive’ hosted by Kwame Adinkrah.
“What at all was her business at a registration centre marred by tension? See if I were the minister, I wouldn’t bother going there Physically. There are processes to follow â You already have agents at the centre. So all you need do is to ask them to challenge the eligibility of those registrants. And you know once the registration is challenged you don’t get your card. As a minister she’s privy to this. And it her responsibility as a minister to encourage the process to work but because of power people will do things and at the end of the day find themselves in trouble.”
“Unfortunately she’s a woman. Someone we all expect to show some sort of decorum. But for her to come out boldly and admit that she pulled the gun in addition to all the narration she’s putting outâ¦At the end of the day you notice she was being hooted at. Anything at all could’ve happened”, he said.
When questioned by the host if calls for her resignation will be in the right direction, Dr Serebour said:
“I think that the conduct itself wasn’t right. My position is that it wasn’t necessary for her to be there. of course, if she was really in danger, which videos I have seen shows she wasn’t at all; then she acted recklessly. Judging from the president’s conduct so far, I won’t be surprised if she’s asked to resign. That was a reckless act,” he stressed.