Ghana’s Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has sworn in 3 members of the Commission of Enquiry tasked to investigate the circumstances that led to violence at the recently-held by-elections at the Ayawaso West Wuogon in the Greater Accra Region.
At a brief ceremony at the Jubilee House on Friday, February 8, 2019, Vice President Bawumia swore in Justice Emile Short, a former head of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Prof. Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, a law professor and member of the United Nations Independent Panel On Peace Operations; and Prof Kofi Abotsi, a former Dean of the GIMPA Law School. Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, a former Inspector General of Police, is out of Accra.
The four-member Commission, chaired by Justice Emile Short, has been mandated:
(a) to make a full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to, the events and associated violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon By-Election on the day of January 31, 2019;
(b) to identify any person responsible for or who has been involved in the events, associated violence and injuries;
(c) to inquire into any matter which the Commission considers incidental or reasonably related to the causes of the events and the associated violence and injuries; and
(d) to submit within one month its report to the President giving reasons for its findings and recommendations, including appropriate sanctions, if any.”
Speaking after the swearing in, Vice President Bawumia described the setting up of the Commission as “historic”, the first such commission to investigate electoral violence in Ghana, and urged members of the Commission to undertake this important national service with dedication.
“We’ve had incidents of violence at by-elections in the past, whether you’re talking about Talensi, Chereponi, Atiwa. But I think this is the first time any government has set up a Commission of Enquiry to get to the bottom of it. This is historic, and it shows a difference in looking out for transparency, and to be able to deal with this issue fundamentally, so that for the future, it bodes well for our country.”
Government, Vice President Bawumia assured, would provide the necessary logistical and other resources to aid the Commission to undertake the Enquiry in the stipulated time.
Speaking on behalf of the other members of the Commission, Justice Emile Short expressed gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the opportunity to serve the nation “on this extremely important assignment of national interest.”
Justice Short pledged that the Commission would undertake its mandate in a “transparent, fair and objective manner”, and appealed for cooperation as they seek to identify the root causes of electoral violence and recommend credible and lasting solutions.
Violence erupted during the January 31st, 2019 by-election at the Ayawaso-West Wuogon constituency after some armed masked heavily built men in police vehicles clashed with supporters of the NDC.