An emerging political movement, New Force, has raised concerns about the arrest of its spokesperson Shalimar Abbiusi. The group says Ms. Abbiusi, responsible for New Force’s diaspora and diplomatic engagements, was initially invited for a discussion on Monday, December 4, 2023, but has not been released since.
Ms Abbiusi was first seen publicly in a video announcing preparations to unveil their plan for the next election. Among others, the video highlighted the suffering of Ghanaians under the Akufo-Addo administration using recent demonstrations to question the role of leadership in addressing the concerns of the citizenry.
During her reported 4-day detention by the National Investigations Bureau (NIB), the group claims Ms. Abbiusi faced continuous questioning about The New Force, its backers, and potential presidential aspirations. In a press release on Thursday, December 7, The New Force alleges that she has been denied access to legal representation, subjected to an unlawful search of her premises, and held beyond the legal 48-hour limit without formal charges.
Despite authorities’ claims of investigating The New Force’s origins, the movement emphasizes that having a political organization is not a criminal offence. Ms. Abbiusi’s arbitrary detention, per the New Forces’ press release, raises serious concerns about power abuse, persecution of perceived political opponents, and multiple human rights violations.
Authorities, questioning the validity of Ms. Abbiusi’s residence permit, temporarily charged her with an offence, alleging document verification issues. “Despite the fact that Ms Abbiussi’s residence permit was facilitated and issued to her over three years ago by the Ghana Immigration Service, the authorities today told a District Court that they have temporarily charged her with an offence claiming that one of the documents she submitted could not be verified. But they are demanding that she be held in custody so that investigations into the New Force will continue.
“We have witnessed rising attacks against the New Force including the taking down and targeted destruction of several billboards of the New Force. We consider that these actions reflect the approach of cowards and persons who have lost the moral plot of leadership,” the press release read.
The New Force suspects the charges are politically motivated, as according to them, Ms. Abbiusi’s residence permit was issued by the Ghana Immigration Service over three years ago. The New Force condemned these actions, seeing them as attempts to intimidate political opponents and nationals of partner countries.
The New Force further questioned the direction of Ghana’s democracy, urging citizens to demand a different kind of politics. The movement added that Ghana is losing its pride and identity, emphasizing the need for a new direction and vision for the country.
By: Kenneth Awotwe Darko