Details are emerging about how blood thirsty young men, who are believed to be armed robbers, shot and killed Ekow Kwansah Hayford, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Mfantseman in the Central Region, between the night of last Thursday and Friday.
It is turning out that at least six men were involved in the daredevil robbery operation near Mankessim, which senseless killing has since sparked outrage and outpouring of grief from all over the country.
DAILY GUIDE sources say the hoodlums used an unnumbered taxi for the operation, the occupants of which were fully armed.
They stopped and searched more than 10 vehicles on the often quiet Abeadze-Dominase-Abeadze Duadzi–Mankessim road in the region, portions of which are still under construction.
After the ‘operation’, the robbers escaped through the Abeadze-Dominase section of the road which leads to the Yamoransa Junction to Assin Fosu link on the Cape Coast-Kumasi highway.
The MP and his team were returning from their usual campaigns when the robbers stopped them—and calamity struck thereafter.
Each robber was armed, some with pump action guns, and they were said to have fired several warning shots.
Before the NPP-branded Mitsubishi pick-up in which the MP sat got to the robbery scene, more than 10 cars, including cargo vehicles, some loaded with oranges and others with tomatoes, had been ordered to park haphazardly on the road and occupants made to lie face down by the hoodlums.
The robbers reportedly spoke impeccable Twi as they ordered every victim on sight to surrender his/her phone and cash.
Some of the robbers were in full masks while their leaders wore black face masks and had backpacks in which they kept their booties.
They divided themselves into three groups. The first group monitored the Mankessim entry point while the second took charge of the Abeadze-Dominase section, with the last group doing the search on the victims.
Those monitoring the Abeadze-Dominase section were the first to accost the MP’s car.
One of the victims to be stopped, who gave his name as Michael Quansah, a driver of a cargo truck, said he was made to turn off his lights at gun point and all the occupants made to move up to where they had gathered all the victims, with one robber keeping watch over them.
“Anytime a vehicle got to the scene, they threatened to shoot if the driver did not heed their orders and as a result they deflated a lot of tyres of vehicles,” he said.
The NPP Electoral Area Coordinator for Taabosom in the Mfantseman Constituency, Emmanuel Baidoo, said he rode his motorbike ahead of the MP’s vehicle and got to the scene before the lawmaker’s car got there.
“Midway, I saw one car in the middle of the road and another facing the bush, then a vehicle loaded with tomatoes crossing the whole road,” he narrated, adding, “As I moved forward, there was no way so I decided to turn and by the time I could finish two of the armed robbers appeared from behind and asked me to move to where the cars are parked.”
“As I got closer, the robbers handed me over to their colleague who was also armed and moved back to where they ordered me not to turn.”
The MP’s car, he said, “Then got to where I was being ordered not to move an inch. Then the MP’s people asked why I stopped and told me to move because it was not safe. They then tried to manoeuvre past the cars that had been ordered to park and one of the robbers shouted, Yes! You the NPP guys, you are the ones we are looking for.”
He added that the robbers started firing indiscriminately “and in the process they fired the driver and one of the tyres so the MP’s car could not move again.”
“They made me lie on the ground and seized my phone and cash so I was watching them from under the car and I could see they were struggling over there amid gunshots. I saw six of the robbers and they were all fully armed and had backpacks.”
Outpouring of Grief
There has been outpouring of grief and many messages for the bereaved family. The President and his Vice have offered their condolences and the Ghana Police Service has put GH¢20,000 bounty on the heads of the robbers.
Sending his personal condolences to the bereaved family, ex-President John Dramani Mahama preferred to take a dig at his political opponents, saying, “There is a growing climate of insecurity in Ghana.”
“I have received the shocking news of the death of Hon. Ekow Quansah Hayford, MP for Mfantseman, in a reported armed robbery attack. My condolence to his family. This is a most despicable act, and we all look forward to the security agencies investigating and arresting those involved and bringing them speedily to justice,” he posted on Facebook.
He said, “Dastardly armed robberies and violent crime have become a common occurrence. I urge government and the security agencies to do more to protect the Ghanaian people. It’s probably also time to look at the provision of armed police guards for our MPs.”.
It turned out that the MP’s mother, Mena Abena Attah, believed to be over 80 years, is alive and has been grieving since the incident.
“I feel like my life has been snuffed out. I have been maimed; I have been killed earlier than my time even though I’m alive. Who could have done this to us? What did we do to deserve this?” she asked amid tears.
The MP, 49, was once a policeman (1993 to 1998) and rose to the rank of Corporal (Cpl). He is survived by a wife and four children.
NPP General Secretary John Boadu, whilst grieving, dismissed claims that the party was looking for an immediate replacement for the slain MP ahead of the December 7 general election.
“Let me state emphatically that the National Executive Committee is the only organ that has the power to decide whether we are selecting a PC or we are electing a PC or whatever; so, they will take that decision in consultation with the constituency and the region. We will find another candidate once we are officially notified,” he stated on Okay FM.
He said resolving such issues per the electoral rules, the NPP has 10 additional days to renominate a candidate to replace the deceased MP at the close of nomination by the EC.
“We cannot take any decision about it but if we get an official notification about the death, the law says that if the EC opens nomination and closes it and the candidate that is being sponsored by a party to contest on their ticket has passed on, the political party is given additional 10 days to renominate someone to replace the deceased,” he revealed.