President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been petitioned by Brogya Genfi, Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to withdraw the nomination of Major Derek Oduro (rtd) as Deputy Minister-Designate for Defence for justifying an assault on a journalist.
The petition, dated 27 March 2017, addressed to the president and copied to the Speaker of Parliament, said: “I, Yaw Brogya Genfi, humbly write to petition Your Excellency to consider a withdrawal of the nomination of Honourable Major Derek Oduro (Retired) as the Deputy Minister of Defence. The Deputy Minister-designate for Defence reacted in an unacceptable manner when a photojournalist was subjected to military brutality on 6th March, 2017 during the 60th anniversary ceremony at the Black Star Square, Accra.
“Your Excellency, according to the journalist, Mr Kendrick Offei Ansah, four soldiers commanded him to follow them to the Osu Castle after he attempted to shoot a video of them assaulting a civilian at the beach located behind the Black Star Square in Accra.”
Read full petition below:
YAW BROGYA GENFI
c/o NUROM HOTELS LIMITED
POST OFFICE BOX 1400
TELEPHONE NUMBER – 0249 582 140
27th March, 2017
HIS EXCELLENCY NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Dear President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,
PETITION FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE NOMINATION OF MAJOR DEREK ODURO (RETIRED) (MP) AS A DEPUTY MINISTER DESIGNATE FOR DEFENCE
I, Yaw Brogya Genfi, humbly write to petition Your Excellency to consider a withdrawal of the nomination of Honourable Major Derek Oduro (Retired) as the Deputy Minister of Defence. The Deputy Minister designate for Defence reacted in an unacceptable manner when a photojournalist was subjected to military brutality on 6th March, 2017 during the 60th anniversary ceremony at the Black Star Square, Accra.
Your Excellency, according to the journalist, Mr Kendrick Offei Ansah, four soldiers commanded him to follow them to the Osu Castle after he attempted to shoot a video of them assaulting a civilian at the beach located behind the Black Star Square in Accra.
At the Osu Castle, the soldiers ordered him to crush his iPhone with a stone to destroy the evidence after which some of the soldiers pounced on him, beating him viciously while the others watched on. The case has been lodged with the Osu Police Station, and the victim holds a medical report on his assault.
Major Derek Oduro (retired), who is also the Chairman on the Defence Committee of Parliament, has been loud in the media, defending the military brutality on the journalist, saying military officers will continue to instill discipline in “loud-mouthed” journalists.
Sir, in a radio interview conducted by Mr Francis Abban on Starr FM in Accra, Honourable Derek Oduro said: “At times, we blow issues out of proportion. How can Kendrick be alive if he was beaten for 40 minutes? The victim has a mouth to talk. I do not think he was beaten for 40 minutes.”
Again, in reacting to Mr Kendrick Offei Ansah’s appeal to Your Excellency, the Chief of Staff, and the Vice President to consider withdrawing his nomination as a Deputy Minister of Defence on State of Affairs, a television talk show on GHOne TV with host Nana Aba Anamoah, Major Derek Oduro (Retired), who was visibly aggressive, pointing his trigger finger towards the eyes of the victim, shouted: “You are too small, let me tell you, you are too small. This is that mouth that you used and some people went and beat you up, I am telling you.”
Mr President, you are hailed by your admirers as a human rights advocate for decades and a fierce fighter for freedom and justice.
Again, you have a record in history as having supervised the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law to provide greater protection to journalists in their line of duty during your tenure as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of this republic.
Sir, it is important to admit that the vast majority of our military men and women are very disciplined and respectful of not only their military codes of conduct but also of the civil rights of civilians. However, it is a truism that a few bad nuts, of the ilk of those who have been alleged to have assaulted the journalist, have found themselves in this time-honoured institution and are, by their nefarious practices, giving the institution a bad image.
Honourable Derek Oduro’s unfortunate public posturing on this matter would only send a strong signal that your government is prepared to shield acts of brutality and impunity if his nomination is not withdrawn. It is for this reason that Your Excellency must consider this petition to withdraw his nomination so as to send a clear signal not only to the few undisciplined ones in the military, but also to the general public that your government would not encourage acts of brutality and impunity.
Your Excellency, considering the fact that the Ministry of Defence is a powerful institution, and considering that Major Derek Oduro (Retired) is going to superintend over an institution with men who have control over the means of violence, it portends a great danger to your government and the life of Mr Kendrick Ansah if the nomination of Major Oduro is not withdrawn.
I, therefore, appeal to Your Excellency to kindly consider this request to withdraw the nomination of Honourable Major Derrick Oduro (Retired) as Deputy Minister of Defence.
Thank you for reading my petition Sir.
YAW BROGYA GENFI
(CITIZEN OF GHANA)
Cc: THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT
MAJORITY LEADER AND MINISTER OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS