President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured members of the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election Commission of Inquiry that their recommendations will be given all the necessary attention it deserves in order to avert future violent occurrences during elections.
Addressing the Commission after they presented their report to him at the Jubilee House on Thursday, 14 March 2019, President Akufo-Addo said he was happy that the work of the Commission has finally come to an end.
“The findings and the recommendations that have been made will, of course, be given the greatest possible attention by me and the members of my government”, President Akufo-Addo said.
He noted that the “government has the responsibility of maintaining law and order in the country and that responsibility is not one that can be abdicated on any occasion”.
“To the extent that this Commission’s findings and recommendations can help us advance the cause of law and order in this country, I welcome it and it will be the subject of close study. Not sure if the circumstances of this Commission will call for the issuance of a white paper on our part, but we will look at all of these matters and we will respond appropriately”, the President noted.
Chairman of Commission
Chairman of the Commission, Justice Emile Short, in his remarks before presenting the report to the president, said: “All the necessary grounds have been covered by the Commission and that the government will find the findings and recommendations useful in shaping important reforms for the future”.
“I wish to thank you Your Excellency for this necessary initiative and commend your resolve to stamp out the evil of electoral violence from our body politic”, Justice Short added.
Swearing in of Commission
Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on 8 February 2019 swore in the three-member Commission to probe the violence that happened on Thursday, 31 January 2019. The Commission started its public hearings at the Christiansborg Castle, Osu, Accra on 14 February 2019.
Membership of the Commission
Apart from Mr Short, who is a former head of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the other members of the Commission included Mrs. Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, legal luminary and jurist, and Mr. Patrick K. Acheampong, a former Inspector General of Police. Mr. Ernest Kofi Abotsi, a former Dean of the Faculty of Law, GIMPA and a private legal practitioner, served as Secretary to the Commission.
Terms of Reference of the Commission
The terms of reference of the Commission, according to the statement that announced their appointment, were: 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; to identify any person responsible for or who has been involved in the events, associated violence and injuries; 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 to submit within one month its report to the president giving reasons for its findings and recommendations, including appropriate sanctions, if any.