Police Commander was ‘sidelined’ in bloody by-election in his district

The Short Commission investigating violence in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election has heard how the district commander for the area was sidelined in the organisation of security for the polls.

DSP George Asare who heads the East Legon District police said, although the exercise was within his jurisdiction, another police officer was brought in to handle the exercise.

This officer, Chief Supt Kwasi Ofori, was his junior in the service and was in charge of operations on that fateful day, January 31.

At least 15 persons were hospitalised, some with gunshot injuries as a routine by-election was marred with political violence.

Testifying at the Commission, DSP Asare said he was told matters of security in the by-elections was to be handled at the regional level.

He said he was however called in by the Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP Patrick Adusei Sarpong, after violence erupted at La Bawaleshie.

His task was to go and investigate violent scenes at La Bawaleshie polling station.

According to him, he led five officers to beef up about five others at the scene and drew attention to how his “tactical” intervention de-escalated tensions.

DSP Asare said he returned to find seven suspects in the custody of the East Legon District police. Two had minor injuries to the head.

He said he was not keen on interrogating them beyond learning they visited polling stations to give food and also protect NDC party agents.

According to him, he did not proceed with any further interrogation because he “didn’t want to embarrass them”

In any case, there was going to be investigations, he explained.

Commissioners Patrick Acheampong, a former Inspector-General of Police and Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu tried to point out to the witness, he was unhappy about being sidelined and therefore did little about maintaining law and order, gathering evidence, ensuring the injured suspects received medical care.

The former IGP in particular grilled the DSP and was interested in finding out why he was excluded and what steps he took to find out the reasons for his exclusion.

The DSP had earlier explained, “in our work, we don’t challenge authority.”

News Reporter

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