The Akufo-Addo administration is deploying every Machiavellian tactic in the books to have a firmer grip over the country in the aftermath of a poor showing at the 2020 polls which recorded a hung Parliament with some seats in dispute.
The latest move by the government is the dragging of 21 Members of Parliament (MP) in the Minority Caucus to an Accra Circuit Court charged with unlawful assembly, following their march to the Electoral Commission's (EC) head office in Accra on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
But many believe, that the action is an attempt to intimidate the National Democratic Congress (NDC) into a state of begging and submission to the dictates of the government, although President Akufo-Addo at the NPP's thanksgiving service, December 27, 2020, had suggested the building of bridges to develop the country.
In addition to the MPs, the NDC's Deputy General Secretary, Peter Boamah Otokunor, was also charged with the same offence.
They have been charged for failing to notify the police of holding a special event before their march to the EC, contrary to section 1 (1) & (2) and (9) (a) of the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 491).
Count two of the statement of offense is that "unlawful assembly, contrary to section 202 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 - Act 29".
The EC chairperson, Jean Adukwei Mensa, has since written to the Minority Leader over the march to apologise for not meeting the group to receive the petition and promised to do something about the petition but that promised has not been honoured.
On Wednesday, December 23, Jean Mensa wrote to Haruna Iddrisu to acknowledge receipt of the petition, which was read out to the media after no EC official showed up to receive it.
She also acknowledged receipt of the Minority Leader's letter.
"We apologize for our inability to meet with you and your delegation," Mrs Mensa stated in her letter.
"This stemmed from the late receipt of your letter", "We assure you that our doors remain open should you wish to present the petition in person to the Commission."
But the statement of offence from the Police insists the MPs unlawfully assembled and conducted themselves "in a manner likely to cause persons in the Neighbourhood reasonable fear where a breach of the peace is likely to be occasioned."
The MPs charged are; Haruna Iddrisu, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, Samuel George, John Abdulai Jinapor, Rockson Defiamekpor, Ras Mubarak, Mutawakilu Adam, Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, A.B. Fuseini, Kwabena Minta Akando, Yusif Issaka Jaja, Isaac Adongo, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, James Klutse Avedzi, James Agalga, Collins Dauda, Abdul Rashi Pelpuo, Richard Quashigah and Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings.
The MPs had gone to the EC with petition demand clarity on the disputed Techiman South seat.
This criminal case means, the MPs are joining the NDC National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and Deputy National Communications Officer, Kwaku Boahen, who had been charged with conspiracy to cause harm, assault and rioting, and are in court. The two have been in court well over two years.
The 8th Parliament is expected to be sworn in on midnight of 7 January 2021, but ahead of that, President Akufo-Addo, is expected to deliver his last State of the Nation address for his first term in office on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. The event is expected to come off at 10:00am.
Parliament in a statement from its Public Affairs Directorate, said attendance is strictly by invitation due to COVID-19.
The presentation is in line with Article 67 of the 1992 constitution which states that "the President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament a message on the state of the nation".
It is unclear, what these charges slapped on the MPs, will mean to the work of Parliament.
The Herald has sighted the criminal summons indicating that the MPs are expected to appear in court today, Monday, 4 January 2021.
It read "you and others, on 22/12/2020, about 10am, Ridge (Electoral Commission office) in the Greater Accra Region and within the jurisdiction of this court, did fail to Notify Police of a Special Event, namely Presenting a Petition to the Electoral Commissioner".
The State had earlier sued the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, and 10 other members of the Minority caucus in Parliament over the march.
The Minority caucus was trying to present a petition over the results of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary polls.
They are in particular challenging the results of the Techiman South Parliamentary polls.
The Caucus in the six-page petition, is asking the EC to re-collate the Techiman South Constituency Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Results from all the Two Hundred and Sixty-Six (266) Polling stations.
However, the legislators were met with resistance from the police officers, who applied some force to stop them from going to the premises of the EC.
The EC, has not yet responded to the petition.
Barely a week ago, speaking at the Thanksgiving Service of the NPP, President Akufo-Addo, had promised not to be vindictive, misuse state machinery or deprive the many Ghanaians who did not vote for him in the 2020 presidential election of development.
He added such persons need not be troubled because he is committed to an equal distribution of the national cake.
While thanking those who ensured his successful re-election bid, Nana Addo, singled out those who voted against him saying "I will have their interests at heart and in mind in all that I do".