Some 30 or so cutlass-wielding and stoutly-built men, otherwise known as macho men, stopped former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings from having a hitch-free thanksgiving mission to Cape Coast, drawing their authority, as they claim, “from above”.
The chaos unfolded a week after a Daily Guide report quoted the 31st December Women’s Movement in the Central Region as warning the former First Lady, who is also President of the movement, not to set foot in the region.
The machomen were led by the Cape Coast Constituency Chairman of the NDC, Elvis Amoasah, a man popularly known as Alhaji Ship Angel and one Papa Amanyie, a self-styled bodyguard of the Central Regional Minister, Mrs. Comfort Ama Benyiwa Doe. The group descended on the premises around 8:30am, locking it up, regardless of the payment made for the use of the facility.
Police officers deployed to the scene were threatened by Papa Amanyie, formally a second-hand shoes seller at Kotokuraba, that he would tell Mrs Doe to sack them if they should stop them from carrying out their intended action- a situation which compelled most people around to ask whether the regional minister was behind the skirmish.
The machomen threatened journalists who turned up at the venue, warning them not to take pictures of the ensuing scenario. The group started insulting followers of Nana Konadu who arrived at the scene to support her. “We were sent here to come and fight so whoever is ready should come, foolish people like you. You are going round tarnishing the image of our lovely president because of your self interest, we will never allow you even if we have to die to save the president,” one of them said.
Kofi Adams, an aide to Former President Jerry John Rawlings, arrived at the scene around 11.00am dressed in a black and white suit and sporting a coolly-high cap.
The atmosphere was electrified with FONKAR and 31st December Movement slogans when Mrs. Rawlings arrived in her black landcruiser with registration number GR4174-09, around 12:15pm in the company of her two daughters, Amina and Yaa Asantewa.A cheerful Mrs. Rawlings had no option but to address her supporters in the scorching sun instead of the main auditorium which the machomen debarred her from using.
She expressed disappointment about the way her own party members had treated her in the metropolis, adding that this would never stop her from thanking people who risked their lives and sacrificed for her during the congress in Sunyani.
“I cannot be ungrateful to people who voted for me because even God expects us to say thank you to Him when he does something for us,” she said.
The former First Lady noted that the principles of honesty, truth and social justice, the foundation of the party, were missing, hence the need to rise up for the betterment of the foot-soldiers.
“The party has principles that need to be pursued. Don’t allow money to destroy us,” she said.
Kofi Adams, in his address, charged the machomen to go and face the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Akufo Addo if they thought they were strong enough, since he had declared “all die be die”- a statement which attracted a lot of applause from the crowd.
A leading member of the party in Cape Coast, Kojo Hobo, stated that NDC members in the region had to appreciate the effort made by Former President Rawlings in making it possible for a Fanti man to become president for the first time in the country’s political history.
“No Fante could have been a president if it was not because of the Rawlingses; so why has it become a taboo when you mention the name of Rawlings?” he asked.
“NPP members in the metropolis will never treat Alan Kyeremanten the way you have treated Nana Konadu. Have you forgotten that the party is a democratic party?” he questioned.
The machomen, who waited till the end of the program, started hooting at the former First Lady, saying, “Away! Away!! Away!!!” till she and her entourage had left for Biriwa to attend the funeral rites of a 31st December Women’s Movement member.
According to a security source, a reinforcement of policemen from the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) unit of the Ghana Police Service in Accra supported the efforts to bring the chaos that had erupted under control.
When a semblance of order was restored, the former First Lady spoke for only 15 minutes or so and left under the escort of the RDF, he told DAILY GUIDE on anonymity.
According to Owusu Bempah, Director of Operations of the Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (FONKAR), the visit of the former First Lady was preceded by a notice to the Central Regional Executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
An advance party had turned up earlier as was characteristic of such missions, he said, but the group discovered upon arrival that some machomen had barricaded the town hall, insisting that they would not allow the former First Lady to use the place.
Mr. Bempah said he made a call to the regional minister so she could intervene, but according to him, she declined to pick the call.
“I made a call to the National Security Coordinator Gbevlo-Lartey about the unfolding development and this was followed by the arrival of some policemen to the scene,” he said.
It was intriguing to note, according to him, that instead of dislodging the machomen and allowing FONKAR to use the facility since they had paid for it, the police “rather negotiated with the machomen”.
Leader of the machomen warned the commander of the cops deployed to the location that he should not frustrate their efforts because “we are working upon orders from above to prevent the former First Lady from using the facility”.
Source: Sarah Owusu-Darlington, Cape Coast
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