16 NPP Thugs Convicted
…Fined GH¢38, 400For Invading UTV
The 16 New Patriotic Party (NPP) activists, who stormed the studios of the Abeka-junction based United Television (UTV) uninvited, were convicted and fined by an Achimota Magistrate Court, yesterday Monday, October 16.
The youth, who were led by the acting Greater Accra Regional youth organizer, Mandela Wiafi, were fined 200 penalty units each, amounting to GH¢2, 400 each, totaling GH¢38, 400 in monetary terms.
In default of the fines, they will serve prison term of three months.
This was after they pleaded guilty to the two charges and were subsequently convicted by the court, barely a week after the incident, which was widely condemned. They were charged with conspiracy to commit crime and rioting.
They were also made to sign a bond of good behaviour each for the next six months.
A statement from the police, following the decision by the court, said, “The accused persons pleaded guilty to the charge against them. They were, therefore, convicted on their own pleas and sentenced to a fine of 200 penalty units each which amounts to Two Thousand Four Hundred Ghana Cedis (GH 2,400.00) in default 3 months imprisonment.
“They were also ordered by the Court to sign a bond to be of good behaviour in default 6 months imprisonment.”
The swift action by the court follows the invasion of the media organization on Saturday, October 7, by the thugs, while the station’s prime-time entertainment show, ‘United Showbiz,’ was being aired.
Their action disrupted the live show, which mostly discusses issues of entertainment, among others.
The thugs, in a CCTV recording, manhandled some of the staff on duty, and demanded to be part of the show, contending “since it has lost its focus and rather veered into politics.”
They had also stormed the station to deal with one of the panel members and social commentator, Kwame Asare Obeng, alias A-Plus.
A-Plus, on Saturday October 14, predicted that absolutely no action would be taken against the thugs, citing previous inaction by the police.
The former member of the NPP is on record to have shredded a copy of a letter the party wrote to management demanding that the show be reformed.
The National Media Commission (NMC), the Information Ministry and several organizations, including the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), especially, in a strongly worded statement, condemned the invasion of the station by the thugs and requested the police to ensure the thugs faced the law.
According to the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the act was both “barbaric and medieval, and it is very much consistent with the building blocks in recent times to establish a state of impunity against the media, one that is worse than the infamous ‘culture of silence’.”
“We wish to inform such evil minds, both orchestrators and actors, that the media in Ghana have survived all forms of clampdown in the past, even under dictatorial regimes, and that we shall never be intimidated or silenced by any form of attack,” the statement from GJA added.
The national youth organizer of the NPP, Salam Mustapha, confirmed that all the young men who invaded the media house were known members of the party.
Speaking on Ekosiisen on Monday, October 9, Salam Mustapha told the host, Osei Bonsu [Alias OB], that it would be disingenuous on his part to deny the affiliation of the young men to the NPP.
He, however, explained that the party did not sanction the actions of the youth, comprising constituency youth organizers and a deputy Greater Accra youth organizer.
“I can’t be on this platform and claim that I don’t know them. All those in the video I know them. And I can confirm that some of them are constituency youth organizers, and one is a Deputy Regional Youth Organiser [Greater Accra]. They are the guys that I work with, and so I cannot deny their bona fide membership to the New Patriotic Party. As for that, I cannot lie on this platform. They’re NPP members that I work with, and I can state emphatically that I know them,” he noted.
The National Chairman of the NPP, Stephen Ntim, subsequently rendered an unqualified apology to the management of UTV.
Chairman Ntim walked into the studios of Peace FM on Thursday and publicly condemned the action of the NPP thugs.
In rendering the apology, he assured that the party leadership will ensure that such reprehensible action is not repeated.
Earlier, the Communication Director, Richard Ahiagbah, on the night of the incident, also drove to the station and, on the live show, distanced the party from the actions of their members.
He later issued a statement on Sunday, saying “It has come to the attention of the leadership of the New Patriotic Party an unfortunate incident that occurred last night at UTV involving some sympathizers of the NPP who went to the studio to raise a protest against the United Showbiz programme.”
“We wish to state forcefully that the said act was not sanctioned by the party, and we apologize unreservedly to UTV, the programme team, and the general public.”
Again, on Monday October 9, a delegation led by the General Secretary, Justin Frimpong Kodua, visited the Despite Media Group to render an unqualified apology.