A deputy minister of Environment, Science and Technology and MP for the Ayawaso East, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, yesterday traded slaps with a New Patriotic Party (NPP) activist during a keep-fit brawl at the Nima-Maamobi suburb of Accra.
Evan though Dr. Mustapha Ahmed has denied that any such physical encounter took place, police sources have confirmed the street brawl. Reports reaching the Daily Guide newspaper indicate that a group of NPP supporters while undertaking their weekly keep fit jogging exercise unexpectedly encountered a National Democratic Congress (NDC) group from an opposite direction at Mamobi. In the course of a misunderstanding which ensued at that stage, the soft-spoken Dr. Ahmed, who is the incumbent MP and NDC candidate for the newly-created Ayawaso North, allegedly held the shirt of the NPP supporter and slapped him.
The young man responded with a slap and followed it up with another, making the MP, a retired military officer, to stagger, eye-witnesss told Daily Guide. They had to whisk the deputy minister away when it became obvious that the NPP supporters wanted to descend on him for the unprovoked attack. Dr. Ahmed, a dentist by training, however denied slapping anybody yesterday, explaining that he had never slapped anybody before and could not have done what he was alleged to have done.
The NPP activist, according to sources, was a former NDC member who had decamped from the ruling party, citing the poor leadership of the MP as his main reason. According to Alhaji Yusif Ahmad aka Fofano, the NPP parliamentary candidate challenging the incumbent MP, the deputy minister did not slap the young man whose name is being withheld for security reasons.
Fofana said, “Following a meeting of the constituency executives of the two parties and the Nima Police held on how to ensure a hitch-free exercise, we were assigned routes for the various weeks’ keep-fit exercises. Unfortunately, however, on the fateful day when we got to Mamobi in the newly created Ayawaso North constituency, we saw the NDC joggers and decided to change our course to avoid an imminent clash. When we turned, the MP and his group followed us. In the course of an argument with one of our boys, he (MP) slapped him and the boy responded and followed it with another one.”
He however said the Nima NDC constituency executives had apologized to their NPP counterparts because, as they put it, they were responsible for what transpired yesterday. “Net2 TV captured them rendering the apology,” he added.
Dr. Ahmad, after the recent creation of 45 new constituencies, has been moved from Ayawaso East at Nima to Ayawaso North constituency.
“I have heard people saying that I slapped someone and that person slapped back. No such thing happened. All I did was to ensure that there was no clash between the two groups. I had suggested earlier that we should have the keep-fit exercises on separate days so that clashes of the sort which nearly occurred are obviated. I was part of the exercise but on realizing that there was going to be a clash, I intervened and that was all.
I stopped my boys from engaging their NPP counterparts. There was no trading of slaps as being alleged in some quarters. I recall that on one occasion, a road was blocked and this nearly resulted in a fracas but upon my intervention a clash was obviated,” the dental surgeon now politician told Daily Guide just as he landed in Kumasi for a political activity.
A keep-fit exercise suggests physical engagement, which it is anyway, but in Nima, it is also a political statement by the two main parties NPP and NDC. It is also a muster parade of sorts as the parties assembly their members on the streets, march through the main streets and end with speeches by the aspirant or MP as the case maybe.
Yesterday’s keep-fit had guest joggers like Hon. Akosua Frema Osei Opare, MP for the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency.
It is normal for other high profile personalities from other constituencies to be invited to participate in the exercise which also enables the party to showcase itself, especially as elections approach.
The newly picked NPP candidate for the Ayawaso East constituency, Mohammed Baba Alhassan, headmaster of the Ghana Lebanon Islamic Senior High School, also took part in yesterday’s exercise alongside Hon Frema, with the constituency’s candidate leading the large turnout of party faithful. He also said he heard about the fracas.
With what could have been a major clash between the two parties, the police might have to consider another option in managing the weekly keep-fit exercises since the joggers occasionally veer off the approves routes.
Source: A.R. Gomda/Daily Guide