“I feel like my life has been snuffed out,” these were the lamentations of the 80-year-old mother of the murdered Member of Parliament (MP) for the Mfantseman Constituency in the Central Region, Mr Ekow Quansah Hayford.
The mother, Mena Aba Attah, said as an old woman who depended on her only son for everything, she did not know how she was going to survive both physically and emotionally. She said she was not only confused about his death, but the manner her 49-year-old son was killed.
“I have been maimed, I have been killed earlier than my time even though I’m alive. Who could have done this to us? What did we do to deserve this?” she said amid mourning.
The family has thus called for a speedy investigation and arrest of the perpetrators of the heinous crime.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP, Mr Hayford, was shot and killed in a suspected armed robbery attack on the Nkusukum Mankessim-Abeadze Duadze road around 1a.m. yesterday when he was returning from a campaign tour.
It was reported that despite indicating that he was an MP when he was attacked, the assailants went ahead to shoot him.
The attack left four others injured; two with gunshot wounds, including the driver of the MP.
Also injured was one Patrick Asante, a driver in charge of a Rhino cargo vehicle loaded with oranges and two others in the Rhino vehicle.
They are currently receiving treatment at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital.
Head of clan
The Head of the Anona Clan of Mankessim, Nana Kojo Nkrumah, queried how an aged mother would have to bury her son when it should have been the other way round.
He described the situation as very traumatic and called on the security apparatus to work to bring the perpetrators to book.
Nana Nkrumah made the appeal to the Central Regional Security Council, led by the Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, when the team called on the family to console them.
The family head said such fatal attacks were gradually becoming rampant in the area and more pragmatic strategies should be put in place to keep the people safe.
Mr Duncan, who pushed back his tears, said the loss was not just a big blow to the family, but to the entire region and the country, considering that he was an MP.
The Regional Minister expressed optimism that the perpetrators would be apprehended.
Family in grief
It was an emotionally charged atmosphere when the Daily Graphic visited the mother’s house at Mankessim yesterday as relatives, friends and party supporters and executive members, including the Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, who had heard of the incident, thronged the house to either confirm the news or sympathise with the bereaved family.
The mother, surrounded by some family members, had covered herself with a cloth and was in a pensive mood, saying nothing for most of the time but it was easy to feel her agony.
Occasionally, she rubbed her clinched thumb over the other, and obviously, unable to bear the pain, gave out a scream.
That drew wailing reactions from the women while some of the men also shouted in agony.
Speaker invites Interior Minister
From Parliament, Nana Konadu Agyeman reports that the Speaker, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has summoned the Minister for the Interior to appear before the House on Tuesday to assure legislators of protection measures he will institute to ensure their safety.
“I respectfully direct that the honourable Minister of Interior should appear before this honourable House on Tuesday to assure the safety of honourable members particularly with reference to those words which apparently provoked this attack.
“The honourable minister is hereby invited to come, make explanation, given assurances for the protection of honourable members so that honourable members may advise themselves as they think fit in all the circumstances,” he directed.
The summons came as the Speaker led the House to condemn and pay tribute to their murdered colleague.
Prof. Oquaye intimated that the death of the MP was a painful moment not only for his family and his constituency, but also for the entire House.
His death makes him the second MP to be murdered in such gruesome manner within the last four years, following the death of former Akyem Abuakwa North MP, Mr J.B Danquah-Adu, who was also murdered in his home in February 2016.
Yesterday, MPs who came to Parliament for business strongly condemned the attack which resulted in the death of their colleague.
The speakers included the Speaker, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, and the Second Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Mr Moses Anim.
They said the manner in which the MP was murdered had necessitated the need for the Minister for the Interior to improve the general security landscape in the country to contain crime as well as elevate the protection for legislators.
Such protection, as being extended to other state officials, had become necessary as MPs faced imminent threats in carrying out their campaigns for the December 7 polls.
With most legislators clad in black, they condemned the act when legislators, led by the Speaker, took turns to extend condolences to the family of the late MP, especially his wife and children.
The Speaker was worried that MPs were becoming an “endangered species,” considering the manner in which Mr Hayford lost his life.
“Personally, it pains me because these are elected persons on whom a very great responsibility rests.
“What have people here done to deserve this?” the Speaker quizzed.
“Perhaps, all those who are responsible for looking after the safety of MPs should also take note of this as well as those who sometimes criticise when protection is being demanded,” he said.
He added that it was not every MP who lived in Accra as there were many who lived far from the capital and thus needed protection to safely go about their duties.
“If their families happen to be in Navrongo, should they leave those people unattended to, especially, in a time like this as they work in Accra for the whole nation. These are questions settled long ago by all democracies,” he said.
He cited an example from neighbouring Nigeria, where legislators were catered for in terms of accommodation and security both in Abuja and in their hometowns, and called for similar treatment to be extended to Ghanaian legislators to enhance state security and good governance.
Prof. Oquaye read a communication from the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who expressed his deepest condolences over the news of the gruesome murder of the late Mfantseman MP.
“I want to assure Mr Speaker and the members of the House that every effort will be made by the law enforcement agencies to apprehend quickly the perpetrators of this heinous crime.
“I want to reassure you further that Government will continue to take and intensify all appropriate measures to guarantee the safety of members and citizens of our country,” he quoted the President as saying.
Recalling the murder of the late MP for Abuakwa North, Mr J. B. Danquah-Adu, in February 2016, the Minority Leader, Mr Iddrisu, said the death of Mr Hayford should be a wake-up call.
“Mr Speaker, this Parliament under your leadership must elevate the security of Members of Parliament as a primary matter of concern,” he said, adding that there was no member of Article 7 holders under the Constitution who did not enjoy police protection.
He explained that ministers of state and chief executives of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, by constitutional framework, were not higher than MPs yet they enjoyed state protection.
“Beyond sympathy, we want action and the Minister for the Interior and the Inspector General of Police must seize this matter and act expeditiously and diligently and report back to you the Speaker and Parliament for us to know the circumstances leading to the murder of our colleague.”
‘He recalled how some MPs, including the MP for Adaklu, Mr Govern Kwame Agbodza; the MP for Ayensuano, Mr Samuel Ayeh-Paye, and the MP for Nhyiaeso, Mr Kennedy Kwasi Kankam, all escaped death last year, saying, “there is real threat to the life of Members of Parliament.
Target for wayward people
Mr Anim also reiterated the need for the provision of security for MPs who were working in the interest of the people they represented all over the country.
“It is not because we are so special from other Ghanaians but as Members of Parliament, we are not owned by our families alone, neither are we owned by Parliament but we are owned by the state.
“Mr Speaker, we are not calling for a special dispensation for MPs because we are special because we believe that the protection and security for every Ghanaian is paramount. But we are also saying that as MPs we are so vulnerable and we are so targeted,” he said.
GH¢20,000 Police bounty
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, has placed a GH¢20,000 bounty on the head of the killers of the MP.
The IGP yesterday dispatched homicide CID personnel to support their colleagues in the Central Region to investigate the incident.
No arrests have been made.
An ex-police officer, the late Hayford served in the Ghana Police Service from 1993 to 1998 where he rose to the rank of Corporal(Cpl).
After his resignation he went into private business and became the Chief Executive Officer and Manager of MODISA Lodge and MANTRAC Ghana Limited respectively.
In 2015, he won the election to become the parliamentary candidate to represent the NPP in the Mfantseman Constituency for the 2016 elections.
He subsequently won the parliamentary seat to become MP.
As a first time MP, he served on the Judiciary Committee as well as on the Defence and Interior Committee.
He was married with four children.
Source: Graphic Online
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