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Kaaka’s family declines invitation to testify at Ejura Committee

Kaaka’s family declines invitation to testify at Ejura Committee

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Kaaka’s family declines invitation to testify at Ejura Committee

The family of the late Ibrahim Mohammed, known popularly as Kaaka, declined an invitation to participate in the public inquiry into the chaos and killings that happened in Ejura on June 29, 2021.

The Committee has since June 6 heard testimonies from the Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, a bold journalist whose crew was among the first to take photos and videos of the chaos, Erastus Asare Donkor, The Municipal Chief Executive, Mohammed Salisu Bamba, among others.

In a statement issued by one Nafiu Mohammed, Spokesperson for Kaaka’s family, it is stated among other things that the Committee’s posturing seems prejudicial against the media.

“Our concern that the Committee’s attempts to portray the media’s highlighting of Kaaka’s affiliation with the #FixTheCountry call to action as somehow rash and misguided, do not tally with well documented and easily accessibly evidence of Kaaka’s own self-description and online activism.

We are disappointed, in particular, that the Committee’s haste to distance Kaaka from his #FixTheCountry online activism, in connection with which he received several death threats, some of which are captured on video; could potentially prejudice the ongoing criminal investigation into the circumstances and motivations of Kaaka’s murder.

As we understand from the Police’s own public communication, the question whether Kaaka was murdered because of his online activism is probable a line of inquiry that is still an active part of their ongoing investigation,” the family stated as one of the eight justifications for the decision not to testify at the committee hearing.

What are the reasons?

The family has given the following eight reasons for declining the invitation to testify at the committee hearing:

(1) Our regret with the decision to not establish this inquiry using the powers provided for under Article 278 of the 1992 Constitution. We are concerned that the failure to institute a proper Commission of Inquiry under Article 278, means that this Committee of inquiry does not have the powers, rights and privileges of the High Court or a Justice of the High Court at a trial. As such, the Committee has no power to

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(a) enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them on oath;

(b) compel the production of documents; and

(c) issue a commission or request to examine witnesses, irrespective of where or who they may be.

Watching the proceedings over the past few days, we have found the Committee’s inability to enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them on oath as well as to compel any documents, to be very puzzling.

We are also concerned that these restrictions put the Committee in a position where it can neither vet, validate nor substantiate any statements made before it; nor cross-examine the testimonies of the witnesses on the basis of facts independently procured.

Kaaka’s family declines invitation to testify at Ejura Committee
Kaaka’s family declines invitation to testify at Ejura Committee

(2) That the terms of reference of the Committee are imprecise and confusing. As we have seen over the past few days, this lack of precision has regrettably caused the Committee’s work  to be unfocused and digressive.

(3) The continuous encroachment of the Committee into questions which, as we understand, continue to be the object of a separate and concurrent criminal investigation.

We are doubtful of the prudence in the Committee’s decision to extend its inquiry into questions which the Ghana Police Service has publicly claimed are part of its investigation into the brutal murder of our son, husband and father, Ibrahim ‘Kaaka’ Mohammed by assailants.

(4) Our concern that the Committee is receiving testimony from persons who could potentially be called to testify in the criminal trial relating to the murder of Kaaka, or in the subsequent criminal trial of the individuals who are criminally culpable of the shooting of unarmed civilians and children in Ejura.

We note in particular the failure of the Committee to do so without advising them of their constitutional right against self-incrimination and of their right to be attend the hearings with the assistance of counsel; nor advising them that nothing they say before the Committee is privileged and can be adduced against them in a criminal trial.

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(5) Our apprehension of the wisdom in the Committee’s attempts to portray the live media coverage of the horrible events of Tuesday, as somehow causative, contributive or excusive of the criminal misconduct of members of our security forces.

We are concerned about the Committee’s bizarre focus on the media and its routine recourse to pejorative or prejudicial language in describing the actions of media, including suggesting, and allowing the idea to percolate that the video recordings of the shootings by journalists could have been “doctored”.

We are concerned that these instances not only suggest that the Committee has already made up its mind, thereby creating a perception of bias among many people but also that it is courting disaffection for the very journalists who put their lives on the line so as to inform the public of the same events the President described as “unfortunate occurrences”.

(6) Our concern that the Committee’s attempts to portray the media’s highlighting of Kaaka’s affiliation with the #FixTheCountry call to action as somehow rash and misguided, do not tally with well documented and easily accessibly evidence of Kaaka’s own self-description and online activism.

We are disappointed, in particular, that the Committee’s haste to distance Kaaka from his #FixTheCountry online activism, in connection with which he received several death threats, some of which are captured on video; could potentially prejudice the ongoing criminal investigation into the circumstances and motivations of Kaaka’s murder.

As we understand from the Police’s own public communication, the question whether Kaaka was murdered because of his online activism is probable a line of inquiry that is still an active part of their ongoing investigation.

(7) Our sadness that the Committee’s by its conduct has emboldened the ‘public lynching’ of our son Iddi Mohammed and given weight to a growing attempt to hastily cast Iddi as the murderer of Kaaka, even though this narrative directly contradicts the accounts of the two first responders, his mother and his wife; and even though the Police have arrested and continue to hold in custody two other suspects in connection with Kaaka’s killing.

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(8) That, as we understand, the scope of the Committee’s terms of reference, however nebulous, does not relate to the circumstances that led to the Kaaka’s murder; or the circumstances that led to his burial.

Rather that, it concerns directly, the circumstances that led to the deployment of the military to intimidate and indiscriminately shoot at a community that was grieving a loved one; and still trying to come to terms with the circumstances and motivations for his murder.

In this connection, we the mother, wife, children, siblings and extended family of Kaaka are least competent to assist the Committee perform that mandate.

What happened?

Kaaka died shortly after unknown assailants brutally attacked him on June 25 in the suburbs of Ejura in the Ashanti Region.

The incident sparked agitation among the youth who believe that Kaaka, a social media activist who has stated his affiliation to the #FixTheCountry campaign, was killed because of is activism.

The youth believe that the police failed to give Kaaka protection against his attackers because he had previously reported a threat made on his life to them.

On June 29, youth blocked streets and burned tyres to protest Kaaka’s attack and subsequent death but military personnel deployed to the scene to quell the violent protests allegedly shot into the crowd.

Two of the protesters died while four others got injured.

A viral photo of one of the soldiers deployed to the scene kneeling and taking aim into the crowd has been cited as evidence by some on social media as evidence that the soldiers deliberately shot into the crowd of protesters to kill.

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