I would have killed President John Mahama if he had gone for church service. He has brought so much hardship onto Ghanaians. And I need to rescue them. I have been to the church on four occasions. The first time I went to the church, the President was there. However, the President never showed up on three occasions when I was fully armed”.
“President Mahama should not have been the one to succeed the late President John Atta Mills, especially so, after I caused the death of President Mills, while in France,” said Charles Antwi, unemployed, before his 10 years conviction by an Accra Circuit Court for unlawfully possessing firearms and taking same to the Assemblies of God Church, Osu branch on July 26.
The court heard that President John Mahama worshipped at that church, but was not present when the convict was arrested.
The 36-year-old Antwi, changed his plea from not guilty to guilty after the second reading of his offence and subsequent translation to him by the court clerk in his mother-tongue.
The prosecution told the court that the convict went to the church with a cocked gun.
While admitting the offence, the accused justified his intention as a “step to save Ghanaians from economic instability, which he said was characterised by dumsor…. dumsor…(to wit unreliable power supply) in the country.”
Antwi, a native of Daddieso-abaa in the Brong-Ahafo Region, told the court presided over by Justice Francis Obiri, a High Court Judge, sitting with additional Circuit Court responsibilities that the path of economic emancipation and positive development of the country could not be addressed by democracy which required that leaders should be elected into public office.
Asked whether he knew that possessing a firearm without permit was an offence, he responded in the affirmative and added that he was a Ghanaian and what he did was in the interest of the nation.
His candid justification and response to questions posed by the judge threw the court into a state of laughter and bewilderment.
His action would have been a new enactment of a January 1964 attempted assasination of the first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Appearing in court in a plain white shirt over a pair of trousers and a pair of sandals to match, Antwi did not show any remorse, neither was he perturbed.
Passing sentence, Justice Obiri said the accused deserved no mercy because “mercy is shown to people who are merciful to others”.
He said the court took into consideration the following; the degree of revulsion felt by law abiding citizens, the seriousness of the offence, the premeditation with which the plan was executed, the prevalence of the offence in the country and the mitigating factors such as good behaviour among others.
He bemoaned the security lapses of the country, saying that “had the accused succeeded as he had claimed, the nation would have been thrown into a state of mourning”.
“I think his likes should be kept from law abiding citizens for a long time. If he had been successful as he claimed, it would have plunged the country into chaos, anarchy and confusion,” Justice Obri said.
He said the security apparatus of the President should take a self introspection of where it fell short and address it.
“As a nation, we have subscribed to democracy and constitutional rule and we must all help to protect the constitution, the President and other public officers. I urge the security to do a self introspection and see where they are lacking,” he said.
Justice Obiri ordered that the gun and cartridge be destroyed by the investigator under the supervision of the Registrar before the close of work yesterday.
Prosecuting, Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Abraham Annor told the court that the Antwi was seen in the church of the Assemblies of God, Ringway Osu branch, fidgeting on a seat.
He said a member of the church who was suspicious of his action raised the alarm, and a search conducted on him revealed a locally manufactured pistol and two rounds of ammunition.
DSP Annor said Antwi upon interrogation admitted the offence but said the gun was sold to him by a Burkinabe at Nkoranza in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
By Malik Sullemana