Oboafo Kwadwo Asante
The brutal fight that ensued in Suhum in the Eastern Region over the weekend among ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) members at a funeral has nothing to do with any presidential aspirations of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Trade and Industry Minister Alan K. Kyerematen.
It rather has something to do with the Suhum seat which Frank Asiedu Bekoe, aka Protozoa, a presidential staffer at the Office of the Chief of Staff is reportedly lacing his boots to snatch from the incumbent MP, Oboafo Kwadwo Asante, who also unseated longstanding MP, Frederick Opare-Ansah last year, and went ahead to win the seat for the NPP.
There is currently a turf war between the MP and Protozoa in Suhum, which appeared to have started during the Eid-Ul-Adha celebration of the Muslim community.
Matters came to a head when some NPP communicators who attended the funeral of the father of one of their colleagues in Suhum were engaged in a brutal fight with the MP’s supporters.
Protozoa was said to be already at the funeral grounds and the communicators were there mourning their colleague on Saturday when the brawl which resulted in casualties, started.
When the MP arrived, an NPP communicator called Alexander Odei, aka Big Deal, reportedly approached the legislator and requested to be allowed to announce his arrival but a brother of the MP objected because he perceived Odei to be pro-Protozoa.
Odei then reportedly took the microphone and started announcing that the MP did not want to work with the communicators so they were leaving the funeral grounds, a threat that did not go down well with the MP and his entourage.
The Women’s Organiser of the constituency, Hannah, who was at the scene, then snatched the microphone from Odei for making that statement, and in the ensuing melee, Odei was attacked by some supporters from the MP’s camp.
There were also claims that when Hannah approached Odei to snatch the microphone, she was slapped by Odei and that sparked the mass brawl.
The communicators sensing that their colleague (Odei) was being attacked also intervened and it became a free-for-all fight.
The MP’s driver who was identified as Jamal, then brought a machete from the car and slashed Bernard Kwasi Amoani, 51, from Asamankese, a communicator who was said to have tried to stop the fight but suffered a head injury and bled profusely.
The police later confirmed the incident and said they were investigating the matter. They also said they are keeping the machete as exhibit.
Immediately the incident occurred, social media was inundated with comments claiming that the brawl was between the supporters of Vice President Dr. Bawumia and Mr. Kyerematen, who are all believed to be interested in leading the NPP in 2024 when President Akufo-Addo is exiting office after serving two mandatory terms of four years each.
Mr. Kyerematen in a statement has reacted to those linking his camp to the incident and said it was being done out of mischief.
“Rumours currently circulating on social media that the clash was between my supporters and those of our Vice President are not only completely false but mischievous and have been contrived to bring both the Vice President and my good self into public ridicule. I condemn without reservation this barbaric act of some members of our great party,” he said.
He said that “any disagreement whether relating to a contest for position or differences in ideas and opinions should not be manifested in such violence in a party such as ours,” adding “The ideals of our party and tradition call for peaceful and harmonious coexistence and our motto, Development in Freedom, has no place for violence.”
“I, therefore, urge the Suhum Constituency Executives, the Eastern Regional Executives as well as the National Executives of the party to take immediate steps to resolve the differences between the two feuding sides to restore peace and discipline in the party,” he added.
Protozoa, who was accused of being a beneficiary of the melee, issued a statement yesterday, denying any involvement and said the spurious allegation was designed to tarnish his reputation.
He said “my attention has been drawn to some false social and print media publications where my name has been cited as a beneficiary of the scuffles that ensued between the supporters of Hon Kwadwo Asante and the Eastern Regional Grassroot Communications Team at Suhum over the weekend.”
“I wish to state with all certainty and clarity that I am in no way a party to the scuffles at Suhum, hence the publication by some media outlets must be treated as gross misrepresentation and utmost distortion aimed at casting a slur on my hard won reputation.”
He said that “in fact, I have no capacity and interest to incite party Grassroot Communicators against the party hierarchy in Suhum. Rather, the rift was between supporters of the MP (Hon, Oboafo Kwadwo Asante) and members of the Eastern Regional Grassroot Communication Team who had come to sympathise with their colleague communicator, Opare.”
“I, Frank Asiedu Bekoe (Protozoa) am in no way associated with any of the parties engulfed in this open tussle. I only attended the said funeral as a true son of Suhum and also based on my love for our dear Communicators within the echelons of the NPP and the need to empathise with my good friend Opare whose father was deceased,” he said, adding “the publication being circulated is therefore, not only a complete falsehood, but mischievous and orchestrated attempt purposely contrived to cause public ridicule to my personality.”
Protozoa also “condemned this barbaric act by these unscrupulous person in no uncertain terms and also wish the victims of his needless attack a speedy recovery,” and said “as it stands, the matter remains in the custody of the Ghana Police Service at Suhum for the purposes of investigation, hence, I urge the general public to stay calm and allow the law to take its course.”
The NPP communicators, who call themselves NPP Eastern Regional Grassroot Communicators, issued a statement saying they were seeking to set the records straight.
“First and foremost, we, the Eastern Regional Grassroot Communicators of the NPP attended the funeral of our colleague, Opare’s father and requested that we join the entourage of the MP (Hon. Oboafo Kwadwo Asante) in extending pleasantries to the bereaved family since we are all cherished members of the NPP.”
The statement said “after informing the PA of the MP of Suhum Constituency of our decision, we were clearly informed that the MP does not recognise any of us as members and, therefore, we cannot join his entourage in exchanging pleasantries to our dear brother.
“At that material moment, we were left with no option than to ask for permission to leave the funeral grounds for other equally important engagements. Our Spokesperson was therefore, asked to seek permission for us to leave the funeral grounds. Upon seeking permission, our Spokesperson expressed our dismay by the position of the Suhum MP and his team to disrespect hardworking grassroot communicators of our dear party in that denigrating manner.”
They claimed in the statement that “in the process of reiterating our displeasure, disappointment and resentment on the position of the MP, our Spokesperson was forcibly attacked by a mob of supporters of the MP who manhandled him in an uncharitable manner,” adding “these despicable individuals also turned their attention to innocent leading members of the Eastern Regional Grassroot Communication’s Team of the NPP in an attempt to rescue our Spokesperson from harm.
“In the process, the driver of the MP grabbed a machete from the vehicle of the MP and slashed the forehead of our colleague Bernard Kwasi Amoani, who was immediately rushed to the hospital for medical attention.”
The group then said they are expressing their disappointment in the supposed actions of the MP “for not showing leadership by calming tempers knowing very well that we all worked towards his victory in 2020 and continue to work for the NPP party.”
They also claimed that the MP did not visit their colleagues “who were severely assaulted in his presence by his own team members.”
“We therefore, use this opportunity to inform the party hierarchy and the general public of our decision to indefinitely suspend our communication on matters involving the MP in both traditional and print media until formal apology from the MP,” they added.
By Vincent Kubi