Minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Mavis Hawa Koomson has unreservedly apologised for firing a gun at a polling station at Kasoa in the Awutu-Senya East constituency during the voter registration exercise ahead of the 2020 general election.
The former Minister for Special Development Initiatives explained that she discharged the firearm in self-defence because she honestly believed her life was in danger.
“The incident of July 20, 2020, was very unfortunate and I pray it never happens again, and I don’t pray it ever happens again in the history of the politics of Ghana.
“Mr. Chairman, I wish to take this opportunity to also apologize to the people who were at the polling station”, she stated.
Madam Hawa Koomson was responding to a question on the shooting incident when she appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament for vetting yesterday.
She stated that her action on the day was in defence of her soul because she felt her life was genuinely in danger and under the circumstances felt she needed to save herself.
The minister-designate disclosed that even though she had a police bodyguard on the day in question the bodyguard had not yet reported for duty as it was very early.
She however indicated that the matter is under police investigation and could therefore not give more details and pleaded with the Committee chairman to be excused further probing questions.
The Ranking Member on the Committee, Haruna Iddrisu, asked the nominee whether an apology was enough to compensate for her action if the incident had resulted in any death.
“Will an apology be enough to compensate for a person out of that, which in my view was not only dishonourable but un-ministerial.
“You think that a Minister should just take a gun and start shooting, should that be the conduct of person occupying the high office of a minister,” Mr Haruna Iddrisu who is also the Minority leader and MP for Tamale South quizzed.
The Minister reiterated her apology, saying “Mr. Chairman, as I said earlier, the circumstance I found myself led me to it and as I said also it is still under police investigation. And I really regret that and wish it never happens in our political life again”.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu questioned whether the members of the committee should feel safe if the Minister-designate should suddenly feel unsafe and the circumstance would require her to return fire.
The Ranking noted that in spite of her excuse that her action was prompted by the circumstance, he stressed that the electoral rules and polling station conduct is governed by law.
“If you have a grievance, there are in our laws provisions for the management of these grievances.
“So whatever the circumstance might be you have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Ghana including these electoral laws, which is what provides cover that if you feel dissatisfied with anything not to go and reduce it to jungle warfare. Why did you do that and what circumstance could have provoked you to that level,” he asked?
Mrs Hawa Koomson responded, maintaining, “I still say I regret for that and it is under investigation”.
There was confusion at the Step To Christ registration centre during the voter registration exercise on Monday, 20 July 2020, when heavily-muscled gun-wielding men stormed the premises to allegedly disrupt the exercise.
Officials of the Electoral Commission took to their heels when the men, numbering about 15, ransacked the place.
According to eyewitnesses, this led to a scuffle and pandemonium as live bullets were fired into the air.
It was in the midst of this confusion that Mrs Hawa Koomson apparently fired the gun to save herself from attackers.
At least, three motorbikes were burnt during the chaos.