BNI picks up rampaging NDC “pastor”

Bureau of National Investigations officials swoop on “man of God” recently seen making threats against Electoral Commission boss Jean Mensa

The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) has arrested a prominent member of the National Democratic Congress, who also claims to be a Christian pastor, in connection with comments he made in a clip that has gone viral.

In the clip, Kwabena Owusu Adjei is heard attacking the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the chair of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa. His anger relates to the voter registration exercise scheduled to begin at the end of this month.

The pastor was reportedly arrested by plain-clothes security men from the BNI during a live interview with a journalist for the Accra-based Hot FM this morning (Tuesday 9 June). The arrest took place around the GREDA residential estate on the Spintex Road.

A second clip circulating on social media purportedly shows BNI officials interrogating and searching a man believed to be Owusu Adjei at base after his arrest. The security officials claim to have found a package of leaves on the pastor, zipped into a money pouch strapped to his waist. The leaves are believed to be marijuana.

Hate-filled speech

The diatribe in the clip that triggered the pastor’s arrest is violently sexist and borders on hate speech.

“If we allow Akufo-Addo and his stupid Jean Mensa, that stupid girl, that idiot of a girl – look, I am telling Jean Mensa today that me my grandmother, she has everything that every woman has, my mother has the same thing, all my sisters have the same thing, and everyone is born of a woman,” he allegedly says in the recording.

“If Jean Mensa thinks she was not born of a woman but came out of a different angel, she should go ahead and do the new register and let me watch her. She will die, 12 midday, she will die just like that.

“Nonsense, idiot. You are a foolish girl, Jean Mensa. I Kwabena Owusu Adjei, I am telling you, try it and see,” the pastor is heard saying.

Not credible

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has stated in court documents filed in response to a 4 June Supreme Court order that the fundamental legal reason for its decision not to include the existing voter’s identification card (ID) in its 2020 registration exercise is that the Supreme Court itself has held that the register is reasonably not credible.

By implication, the Commission argues, the cards issued pursuant to it are equally not credible.

The EC made this accession in its 31-page response to the 4 June order of a seven-member Supreme Court panel to provide the legal basis for its decision to exclude the existing voter’s ID card from the list of identification documents which will be admissible in the voter registration exercise due to commence at the end of this month.

The EC filed its supplementary statement of case yesterday (Monday 8 June 2020), fulfilling timelines given by the Supreme Court.

The EC’s argument

The EC says it will not allow officials to use the existing voter identification cards as acceptable documents in this year’s voter registration exercise for four main reasons.

First: “The existing voter register, which was compiled in 2012 pursuant to CI 72 and revised since by limited registration exercises, has been held by this Honourable Court as not being reasonably credible. By implication, the cards issued pursuant to it are also not reasonably credible,” says the document entitled Supplementary Statement of case of the 2nd Defendant pursuant to the orders of the Court dated 4th June 2020.

The statement, filed by the EC’s lawyer, Justin Amenuvor, further says: “In respect of the cards issued pursuant to CI 12, the 2nd Defendant (EC) has found that those voter identification cards were issued without any form of identification at all and its ineligibilities, breaches and excesses were imported into the 2012 register pursuant to CI 72 in breach of Article 42 and displacing the credibility of the CI 12 cards.”

The EC goes on to argue that it has found “a fundamental omission in its training manual and the manner in which the voter registration exercise was carried out in 2012, partly in breach of its own binding CI 72 and also in breach of Article 42 of the constitution”.

Moreover, counsel for the Commission says, “The 2nd Defendant wants a break from the past to remedy all the carried on ineligibilities, excesses and breaches of Article 42, as the existing cards have become fruits of a ‘poisoned tree’.”

Wilberforce Asare

* Asaase Radio 99.5 FM. Launching 14 June. Tune in or log on to live streaming.

* Twitter: @asaaseradio995

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