Politics Wed, 29 May 2019

Interior Minister must investigate Krobo shootings – Lower Manya NPP

Interior minister, must investigate the shooting, killing and injuring of protestors at Odumase-Krobo in the Eastern region last week Wednesday, the NPP has demanded.

The Lower Manya Krobo branch of the New Patriotic Party has charged Mr. Ambrose Dery to constitute a committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the shooting to death and injuring of six persons during rioting at Odumase-Krobo last week.

The party made the call during a press conference on Monday aimed at addressing pertinent issues regarding “overbilling, wrong billing methods and accumulated bills” which has been the bone of contention between residents of Lower Manya Krobo and Yilo Krobo since 2017.

Addressed by Assistant Secretary of the party, Mr. Ayerh Kofi Zando at the Zimmerman Presbyterian church at Odumase in reaction to a spontaneous rioting by agitated consumers against power providers, the Power Distribution Services, PDS, the party charged the power providers to facilitate a meeting with consumers and various stakeholders and opinion leaders to iron out all outstanding issues regarding the payment of the electricity bills to ensure peaceful co-existence among all parties.

The residents had insisted that the bills were outrageous and demanded the power company investigates the cause of the sudden rise.

Last Wednesday’s clashes also saw several others hospitalised after they sustained varied injuries. The police further arrested several others for their roles in the disturbance.

The verdict of the New Patriotic Party on the impasse was that Krobos won’t pay inflated bills, adding however that the party was ready to support the PDS to collect the ‘right bills’.

The party while solarizing with the victims of the May 22, 2019 shootings called on the Inspector General of Police to provide only ‘responsible police’ to the people who, according to the NPP, have lost confidence in the current crop of police officers in the municipal.

The party in registering its displeasure over the shootings condemned the use of live bullets. “The way the police are providing security for us is not the best”, said the assistant secretary in an interview.

The incensed secretary who compared the agitations to bigger instances where live bullets were not fired said the party would be petitioning the various stakeholders for investigations into the impasse, adding that the police and residents needed each other for peaceful co-existence.

The sitting Member of Parliament for Lower Manya Krobo, Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi and his National Democratic Congress were also accused of capitalizing on the situation to “foment more trouble”, in a bid to score political points.

Chiding the lawmaker, the ruling party condemned his alleged funding of a pressure group, the United Krobo Foundation to illegally incite the masses onto the streets, contrary to laid down principles.

He was concerned that Mr. Terlabi had refused to avail himself for discussions on the disturbances.

Following the violent clash, a meeting was held between the community elders, Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) and the PDS, where the distributor announced it had “cleansed” its billing system to reflect the actual debt owed by the residents.

But the NPP discounted this claim by the power suppliers of waiving the bills of Krobos, arguing that the PDS only reviewed the illegal bills to the right figures and not what they want the people to believe.

"The whole issue is about the overbilling, wrongful bills and accumulated bills,” said Mr. Kofi Ayerh Zando, the assistant secretary. “This is why we are calling on the PDS to sit down with the people and iron out the issues.

“Now, there is a rift between the people and police, what if somebody is attacked now, who are we going to call, the same police whose services we do not like?” he queried.

“There is no way you can go out and control a crowd with live bullets and the most worrying part is that we have had worse agitations in the past [and] not even a grain of maize was thrown at the demonstrations”, he agitated.

The shootings have left many residents of the area in a state of insecurity, giving rise to fear-filled anxiety amongst innocent residents.

Energy Minister, Peter Amewu in a visit to the area on Monday asserted that residents were justified in protesting the outrageous electricity bills they had been receiving from the power distributors company.

The press conference was presented by the NPP’s 1st Vice Chairman, Second Women’s Organizer, 2nd Vice Chairman, Secretary, Youth Organizer, Nasara Coordinator, Deputy Nasara Coordinator, Deputy Women’s Organizer, and the Chairman of the Council of Elders.

Source: Michael Oberteye