The Greater Accra Regional Police Command, has shot down a request from the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) for permission to hit the streets over the Agyapa Royalties Agreement.
Interestingly, the same Ghana Police Service that, had allowed a group calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Okyeman, following the latter's demonstration against the NDC flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, for amplifying Isaac Adongo's Akyem Sakawa tag on President Akufo-Addo and his family and friends, including Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, Gaby Asare-Otchere Darko and Kofi Osafo-Marfo son of the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Marfo, who are involved in the controversial Agyapa deal.
But it appears, the police administration has a different rule for the Eastern Region, from the rest of the country.
In the heat of the COVID-19 restrictions, the police had allowed some factions in the Akwapim Tradition Council to install a new Okuapemhene Oseadeeyo Kwasi Akuffo Ababio, 34, is also known in private life as Odehye Kwadwo Kesse Antwi. This was done in spite of several cases in court against the installation.
ASEPA, a civil society group had written to the police seeking permission to protest the controversial deal that seeks to monetize Ghana's gold royalties, however, the police in a response to the group's request for a civil demonstration said the demand cannot be granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reply from the police indicates that, although it acknowledges the receipt of the group's letter, restrictions imposed on public gatherings of more than 200 people without face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic is still in full force.
Police officials therefore said, ASEPA's request to have 20,000 people gather for the demonstration is impossible. The police administration did not indicate how many persons, it could allow
"There is the tendency that COVID-19 protocols would be breached. If permitted to demonstrate in this manner, public health and security could be endangered. Your notification to demonstrate in this COVID-19 pandemic era cannot be sanctioned please," the statement signed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Deputy Regional Commander for the Accra Region, E. A Sakyi explained.
The government through the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), has set up Agyapa Royalties Limited to manage and invest Ghana's gold royalties and revenue from equities for higher returns for the benefit of the country.
In exchange, the company plans to raise between $500 million and $750 million for the government on the Ghana and London Stock exchanges to invest in developmental projects.
The deal has for the past few weeks sparked controversy among different groups in the country following concerns from members of the opposition.
Civil Society groups in Mines and Energy have also described the Special Purpose Vehicle as one which is not transparent and must be suspended.
But the Finance Minister, has downplayed fears that ongoing public criticism and opposition to the Agyapa Royalties deal could scare aware potential investors.
He explained that investors are savvy enough to appreciate the importance of constructive debate on a deal as important as the Agyapa Royalties Deal.
"For me, I don't look at the criticism as noises. I feel that the market is sophisticated enough outside to understand that there will be deferring opinions. The vibrancy of democracy for people to challenge what you want to do, gives you an opinion you may not have been aware of, but still being clear on where you want to go, is something that strengthens our democracy. It also potentially sends a signal out there that Ghana's good governance issues are good."
The Concerned Citizens of Okyeman last week Wednesday, embarked on a demonstration, protesting against the usage of the "Akyem Sakawa Boys" on some elements in Government.
They became the first group to be granted the chance to demonstrate, despite Government's ban on public activities over the COVID-19 scare.
The group, made up of the chiefs and residents of Akyem Abuakwa, Kotoku, and Bosome, on Wednesday demonstrated at Asamankese in the Eastern region against former President John Mahama, over the 'Akyem Sakawa' tag.
They demanded an apology from Mr Mahama, who shared an article originally from the MP for Bolgatanga Central. But their action has quickly being countered by the PAC, describing it "misguided emotionalism".
But a new group emerged led by Kwabena Yeboah-Korankye alias Okyeman Lawyer as the Chairman with Kwame Otchere as Secretary, Alex Amoah as its Organizer, said they had wished that their "friends will cut this pettiness and fight for the welfare of our Akyem land".
"We see their action as reckless and dangerous to our beautiful democracy built over the years as a country," they said in a statement they issued.
The second group calling itself the Progressive Akyem Citizens (PAC) fires back at the Concerned Citizens of Okyeman, saying the demonstration against the NDC flagbearer on Wednesday was reckless.
Spokesperson for the NDC 2020 campaign, James Agyenim Boateng, also said the former President will not apologise, adding attempts to deliberately misinterpret the statement, is mischievous and unfortunate.
Mr Agyenim Boateng, said the demonstration is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the party's manifesto.
"The point that Adongo made was that certain people close to the President are involved in some shady deal. There's no apology to render because Mr Mahama, has not used the word being attributed to him.
"Those demanding an apology need to show they are members of government and also need to show they are behind the shady deal. This is a deliberate attempt to overshadow the NDC manifesto and we can clearly see through."
Mr Mahama's sharing of an article by Isaac Adongo on Facebook, in which he labelled some individuals in government involved in the controversial Agyapa deal as 'Sakawa-Akyem boys' has sparked uproar among members of the NPP.
The demonstrators clad in red and black wearing armband and headgear hoisted several placards with various inscriptions such as "divisive NDC, JM you have lost our respect, Name-calling; Akyems can do worse please, NDC and JM where are your policies, we Akyems will no longer stand for this, Let's reject JM and NDC and its bigotry".
But the other group fired back "that, this so called Concerned Citizens of Okyeman hurriedly put together for partisan purpose does not represent the entire Akyem land. They are a few politically motivated young men who have come together to do the political bidding of their paymasters, adding "as people interested in the development of Akyem, we condemn these acts of political infiltration aimed at maligning other politicians especially John Mahama of the NDC in the name of Okyeman".
"That, we as a group wish to state in no uncertain terms that the use of the word 'Akyem Mafia' and other tribal related comments to refer to Ghanaian politicians in our body politics was not started yesterday and John Mahama of the NDC is not the originator.
The first time we heard of Akyem mafia was when Dr. Kobina Arthur Kennedy, a former campaign manager of then candidate Akufo-Addo, published in his book entitled 'Chasing the elephant into the bush: the politics of complacency'. In the said book, Dr. Kennedy sought to describe the behavior of certain political figures in the NPP who had surrounded Nana Akufo-Addo who, according to him, caused his 2008 presidential defeat through their mafia works. This gave birth to the AKYEM/KYEBI MAFIA tag on some few NPP power brokers. Where was these group? What has changed today? Is it that they endorsed the Mafia tag because Dr. Arthur Kennedy was a member of the NPP or it espoused the political might of those few Akyem political power brokers? Isn't this ridiculous?
They added "we also want to state clearly that the post on facebook which was only republished by Mr. John Mahama has the Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central as the originator, and queried "why have our brothers decided to crucify Mr. John Mahama who only shared a comment by somebody? Is this a case of let's hang the dog and give it a bad name?
"For the records, Hon. Adongo in that Facebook post used the Akyemsakawa boys to refer to a few people in government who have been engaging in fraudulent acts and were pushing for another, named Agyapa Royalties deal. He, at no point referred to we, the people of Akyem, as Sakawa People".
They noted that it will be an overstretch, born out of partisan political mischief, for anybody to extend and generalize such specific description of a few of our compatriots in government, to all Akyems".
To them, "such a reckless generalization, triggered by His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, and inciting this NPP group, only seeks to further divide us as Akyems and create unnecessary tension in our Republic", and added that "Rather than showing such blind Solidarity to a few of our Powerful kingsmen in Government, we will advise our compatriots to channel their energies in advising them to behave in a manner that brings honour to we, the citizens of Akyems".
"Again, we demand no apologies from Mr. John Mahama since he has committed no wrong.We wish to tell our Akyem brothers that there are other pressing issues confronting the various communities in Akyem area and we expect our brothers to channel our energies towards demanding solutions to our enormous challenges".
"We expect all of us to judge all political parties by the content of their manifestoes rather than clutching on tribal sentiments that may destroy our peaceful coexistence as a people, indicating "we will demonstrate in the coming days to show our protest against a few of our compatriots in government!!
The Odododiodoo MP, Edwin Nii Lanteh Vanderpuye, has as described the demonstration by the Concerned Citizens of Akyemas "useless boys"."Why are they taking the 'Akyem Sakawa Boys' out of context?" Mr Vanderpuye asked in an interview with Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on Class 91.3FM's 'The Manifesto' segment of the 505 news analysis programme on Wednesday evening.
"They should read the whole thing and talk about it", he said, adding: "This useless incitement doesn't help anyone in this country".