Ghana’s police chief accuses British ambassador of interfering in state affairs

Ghanaian Police Chief George Dampare has asked the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompsonto “stay within the limits of what concerns her”.

Mr Dampare said so in a letter to the British diplomat after she publicly commented on the arrest of Oliver Barker-Vormawor, the organizer of FixTheCountry.

Ms Thompson on May 17 in a tweet said: ‘Oliver Barker-Vormawor, organizer of a #FixTheCountry movement arrested again I understand for a traffic violation on his way to court. I will be interested to see where this goes….

According to the police letter to the envoy, the tweet was “a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which prohibits diplomatic missions from interfering in the internal affairs of their host country.”

He added that the police would not have responded to Ms Thompson’s tweet which was ‘obviously from a biased and misinformed position’.

“However, we have learned from previous and painful experience that it has not been helpful to ignore these erroneous, unwarranted and biased comments intended to tarnish the reputation of the Ghana Police Service and that of our country,” said Mr. Dampare.

Ms. Thompson’s tweet

Mr Barker-Vormawors, who is currently pursuing doctoral research at the University of Cambridge Law School in the UK, was first arrested on February 11 at Kotoka International Airport and charged with “driving offense conducive to breaches of the peace”. ”

The charges against Mr Barker-Vormawors were extended to include treason against the state, which led to a month-long detention.

He was due to appear in court on April 26 to face treason charges, but the case has now been pushed back for a month as the prosecution said it needed more time to gather evidence.

What led to Ms Thompson’s tweet was that Mr Barker-Vormawors, on his way to court, committed a traffic violation and was arrested again.

“Your Excellency, the fact that you used the phrase ‘arrested again’, we believe, must mean that you were referring to previous occasions when Mr. Barker-Vormawor was arrested for threatening state security, and recently for traffic offences, so we intend to address both issues in this letter,” Mr. Dampare said in the letter.

“Given that you may not be aware of the charges against the person of interest in your tweet, we are happy to give you some information. Among other things, in February this year, Mr Barker-Vormawor threatened the security of the state by categorically declaring his intention to stage a coup and cause instability in the country if the army, which he described as “useless”, was unable to do so. threats were later repeated by Mr Barker-Vormawor on his social media handles.

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Mr. Dampare also posed a number of questions to the envoy on what he said was interference in Ghana’s internal affairs.

He ended his letter by recommending a Ghanaian adage which means “learn to stay within the limits of what concerns you”.

In response to the letter, Ms Thompson, in an interview with GHOne TV on Tuesday, said her tweet was misunderstood.

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“It is clear from the reaction that it was not received in the manner expected. I was not looking for a response from the IGP at all, when I comment on social media, I comment all sorts of things that interest me,” said Ghanaweb.

She noted that “Ghana is a peace-loving nation where people have the right to speak out, where they have the right to come and protest against things that matter to them.”

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She said a tweet like hers “isn’t going to be the thing that will take people to the streets, in my opinion. If I thought there was any chance of this happening, I wouldn’t be tweeting stuff like this. This is clearly not my intention. »

The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in a press release responding to the public debate that followed the IGP’s letter, said it wanted to remain cautious about its statements on the matter.

According to the press release, the department has “contacted the British High Commissioner and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to resolve the matter in question”.

Ghanaians react

Ghanaians reacted in several ways to what may look like an altercation between the British diplomatic mission and the Ghanaian police.

Speaking to JoySMS on Wednesday, Kwesi Aning, director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC), said the letter is “a good historical document whose d ‘others must be inspired’.

‘The IGP’s letter to the British High Commissioner was well done and to the point, raising concerns about how the police are dealing with a particular issue which also affects other issues,’ he said .

By contrast, Sammy Gyamfi, the national communications officer for the Democratic National Congress, said in a Twitter post that the police chief’s letter to Ms Thompson was in very poor taste and risked undermining the country’s long-standing diplomatic relationship. Ghana with the United Kingdom.

“The arrogance and intolerance displayed by the IGP in its response to an innocuous tweet by the British High Commissioner to Ghana is disgusting to say the least,” he said.

Similarly, Mr Barker-Vormawors whose arrest led to the current events in a Facebook post wrote: “Whoever the gods want to kill, they drive him mad first. Dampare paaa. Uh, so what went wrong with this man?

“Ghana paa is a concert country, ooo. Hey!”

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