Minister for the Interior Ambrose Dery has revealed that he forwarded pictures of battered and bloodied #FixTheCountry activist Ibrahim ‘Kaaka’ Muhammed to Inspector-General of Police James Oppong-Boanuh the moment he chanced upon it on a platform.
“I saw pictures on some platforms about a person who has been beaten and what I did immediately was to forward the picture to the IGP and say: ‘What about this?’ And his response was: ‘We are trying to find out where it is’”, Mr Dery told journalists on Tuesday, 29 June 2021, adding: “The first information that came out didn’t tell us where it was”.
Asked if the IGP didn’t know where the incident had happened, Mr Dery responded: “No, I sent the information to him because it’s all over the place”.
“He’s been beaten and he’s in a hospital, he’s unconscious, no indication of where the hospital is, no indication of where he was beaten, so, when you give such information, we have to now call the whole country and ask: ‘This picture, where is it and what happened?’” he noted.
Mr Dery also said neither the Akufo-Addo-led government nor the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is behind Kaaka’s murder.
Kaaka, who was also a member of the Economic Fighters League, was attacked in the early hours of Saturday, 26 June 2021, which resulted in his unconsciousness and hospitalisation.
He died while on admission on Sunday, 28 June 2021.
Mr Dery told journalists that “we want to know who did the beating, we want to know who attacked the person”, adding: “What is this thing about the government, it’s NPP [who killed him?].”
“No”, Mr Dery denied.
“Who attacked the person? And #FixTheCountry [campaign], where have we shown high-handedness against the #FixTheCountry [campaign]?” he asked.
In his view, the government has rather been magnanimous toward the #FixTheCountry campaigners, saying “the first thing they came out with was that they wanted to demonstrate and then we said: ‘Look, at that time – even now, Sierra Leone, Liberia and all that, even you know the UK had to postpone its lifting of the lockdown – corona is really increasing around us; so, we said: ‘Look, immediately, it will not be possible for us to allow you to [demonstrate] but come to a meeting”.
“So, we held a meeting. At that meeting, all the security ministers were there, the minister of finance was there, the minister of foreign affairs, and we said: ‘While we are waiting to see how we can give you the chance to demonstrate, what are the issues? Can you bring up the issues and we see how we can resolve them? If we fail to resolve them and you want a broader representation from the government, we would do so”, he noted.
“They told us they had to go back and consult”, the minister revealed.
When parallels were drawn between the intended demonstration and the funeral held for late Forestry Commission CEO Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John) despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Dery retorted that with “Sir John’s funeral, no permit was given to them to attend the funeral. It’s different”.
In contrast, he said: “You are asking the police to give you a permit to demonstrate”.
“By the way, you are doing so because you want to give us a message and we are saying: ‘What is the message? Is it that the security agencies are not really doing their work? Is it the economy?’”
Mr Dery insisted the government is not against the march, stressing: “We have no difficulty whatsoever with the #FixTheCountry movement”.
“Let me make it clear; we are not a government that is against demonstrations. At all. We are not”, he emphasised.
So, he noted, “we are interested in whoever they said is fixing but that name that I heard, that’s the first time I heard it and they say he’s fixing”.
He, however, warned: “Don’t also let us allow criminals to get away because while we are supposed to be pursuing them, we are engaging in this argument about this”. “Whoever it is who attacked that person, it was a criminal act; we condemn it. The government does not support illegal, criminal acts at all”, he said.
Asked what he was doing about the murder, Mr Dery said: “I’m making sure the police follows up. That’s why I told you that the first thing I got, I sent it to the police and the police said: ‘Look, I’ve seen your thing, where is the hospital?’ I said: ‘Go ahead and find it out’”.
“We are interested and I am condemning it”, Mr Dery said and also expressed his sympathies to the family of the deceased.
“I want to actually extend my condolences to the family and to ask all those who have information about what exactly happened to come forward and I’m assuring you that the government is not out to protect any criminal”, explaining: “If he kills you today, he’ll kill me tomorrow and, so, we are not interested in that