British High Commissioner wades into the arrest of #FixTheCountry convener
You are in breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Dampare to the British High Commissioner to Ghana
‘Di wo fie asem’ – IGP issues stern warning to British High Commissioner
The Inspector-General of Police, COP Dr George Akuffo Dampare, has had cause to send a four-page response to the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompson, over a tweet she made on May 17, 2022, expressing interest in the case of the arrest of Oliver Barker-Vormawor.
The convener of the #FixTheCountry movement had been arrested on the day in what the police said was due to traffic-related offences, when he was on his way to court for a case of treason felony he is standing trial for.
In her tweet, Harriet Thompson wrote, “Oliver Barker Vormawor, convener of #FixTheCountry movement, arrested again, I understand for a motoring offence on his way to court. I’ll be interested to see where this goes…”
But in what seems like the longest reply ever penned down by the IGP on any matter since he took office, COP Dr. George Akuffo Dampare has asked the British diplomat to avoid meddling in the internal matters of her host country.
“For the moment, we would recommend a Ghanaian saying that might guide you in your diplomatic engagements. The saying goes: ‘di wo fie asem’ – it means learn to keep within the limits of what concerns you,” the concluding parts of the statement signed by the IGP said.
But in the statement, and while attempting to give explanations on why this statement by Harriet Thompson contravenes the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, Dampare put out some 15 questions to the British High Commissioner, seeking her responses.
Here are the questions:
1 – Are there instances in your country where people are permitted to openly threaten the security of the state with a coup?
2 – In instances where individuals have threatened the security of a state, does your criminal justice system celebrate such persons and urge them to destabilise your country?
3 – As a Foreign Service officer, even though you might not have personal experience, you doubtless have access to the records of the periods of unrest and coups in Ghana; are you really wishing on us, a return to those times?
4 – Are you able to direct us to instances in your country where citizens are permitted to insult, attack and incite your Army and other security apparatuses to destabilize the country?
5 – Do people get arrested for traffic offences in your country?
6 – Is it the case that a person on his/her way to a British court cannot be pulled over for traffic offences or any other offences for that matter?
7 – Are you still persuaded, three days after your Tweet, that you were within the bounds of the Vienna Convention which regulates the conduct of diplomats in the countries in which they serve?
8 – Should you get involved in the domestic/internal affairs, especially security issues of the sovereign state in which you are serving as a diplomat?
9 – Do you know of any instances where Ghanaian diplomats in Britain have involved themselves in your internal affairs?
10 – Is there any particular reason why of all the people arrested daily for various offences in Ghana, you are especially interested in this person’s case?
11 – Is it the case that you don’t have confidence in our justice delivery, criminal justice system and our court processes as a whole?
12 – Do you know the number of Members of Parliament, Chief Executives and other high-profile Ghanaians who have been arrested and prosecuted for road traffic offences and have submitted themselves to due process? If you care to know, we will be delighted to share the list with you.
13 – Have the legally and internationally accepted limits associated with freedom of speech and association been stretched to the point where people can now say and act without regard to the sanctity, security and the very survival of a country? When it comes to such matters, are there any limits in place in your country?
14 – Are you interested in the number of lives lost to road accidents and the number of injured persons, as well as families who have become destitute as a result of such accidents, caused by the infractions of people like the person of interest to you?
15 – Have you taken note of the innovations being introduced by the Ghana Police Service in recent times to deepen discipline, law and order, as well as protect lives and property in this country? Are you interested that we are doing our best to get it right?