CSOs express regret at govt’s rejection of some recommendations in Short C’ssion report

THE Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Against Political Vigilantism say they are disappointed at government’s position on the recommendations of the Emile Short-chaired Commission of Inquiry which probed the Ayawaso West Wuogon bye election violence.

According to the CSOs, the decision by government to reject 58 per cent of the recommendations of the Commission was a “recipe for disaster”, as Ghana heads to the polls in December 2020 and has thus given the government a one-week ultimatum to rescind its position on the Commission’s work.

Government has rejected some of the recommendations contained in the report of the Commission of Inquiry, arguing that “the report failed to address the first and most critical of the terms of reference of the commission.”

It added that “the failure to do so disables government from accepting in whole the findings of the commission.”

But the Coalition, at a press conference, addressed by Mensah Thompson, Convener, in Accra yesterday, said government’s decision was “practically flawed considering how much evidence exists in the public domain about the incident, and this is dangerous and could be a recipe for disaster”.

For example, the Coalition was of the view that government’s decision to reject the recommendation of the Commission to prosecute the National Security operative who assaulted the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, because there was some provocation to a large extent “creates the impression of a tacit government approval for the assault”.

The above position, the Coalition said, could embolden political party aligned groups to visit violence on opponents when provoked, and could cause civilians to put their safety in their own hands during elections; cautioning that “this could degenerate into violent encounters that can undermine the peace of this country.”

“We are therefore calling on government to rescind its decision not to prosecute the operative,” the Coalition stated.

On compensations, as recommended by the Commission, the Coalition said it realised government did not exhibit any sign of “empathy or sensitivity” towards the people who were injured during the January 31, 2019 violence.

“There was not a strong acceptance of the recommendations to pay reparations to persons who were injured or lost their properties, except to say the matter would refer to the appropriate quarters.

“We demand that in the coming days, government comes up with a compensation package and a clear procedure for compensating the affected victims to ensure that justice is served unto these individuals,” the Coalition stressed.

Instead of picking and choosing on which recommendation to accept, the CSOs said government ought to come up with a roadmap to implement the recommendations, so as to instil confidence in the populace that the State will protect everyone equally ahead and beyond 2020.

The Commission, constituted by the Vice President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, on the direction of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was tasked to “to make a full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to the events and associated violence that occurred during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election”.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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