The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has filed a petition with the US Government through its Embassy in Ghana to invoke visa restrictions against Assin Central MP, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong.
The Alliance wants the execution of this initiative pursuant to Section 212 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act.
ASEPA says the recent threat instigated by the MP against Multimedia Group journalist, Erastus Asare Donkor, for his report on the Ejura protest is frowned upon by the US government as it has always taken an interest in the safety of journalists across the world by imposing sanctions on governments and individuals found culpable of such an act.
It noted that this is not the first of Mr Agyapong’s actions against journalists as he (Kennedy Agyapong) “in 2019, sitting on National TV issued threats against Tiger Eye Journalist Ahmed Suale, inciting mob action against the journalist for the role he played in investigative expose dubbed “Number 12″ which exposed the huge corruption that had bedeviled football administration in Ghana.”
A few weeks later, the journalist was assassinated in cold blood, and till date, no one has been arrested.”
ASEPA has, therefore, in its petition dated July 15, requested that “the US Government through the Department of State activate the Khashoggi ban against Mr Kennedy Agyapong to retrain him from entering the United States where has a couple of business interests or any United States territory.”
In addition, ASEPA has prayed that the Khashoggi ban be extended to the Government of Ghana and all its officials until such a time when it resolves the murder of Ahmed Suale, arrests the culprits, and prosecutes them.
It further added that the “same sanctions should apply to the Parliament of Ghana and its officials if the Parliament fails to remove Mr Agyapong as the Chairman of the Defense and Interior Committee of Parliament.”
“We are counting on the international interest of the US Government in defending human rights and also in the promotion of the safety and well-being of Journalists across the World to help protect Journalists in Ghana who are constantly falling victims to the recklessness and viciousness of Mr Agyapong.”
On Friday, July 9, Mr Agyapong, was reported to have verbally abused and threatened to attack Mr Asare Donkor, “for the journalistic work that the latter undertook during the recent shootings and killing incident at Ejura” on NET 2 TV, a television station owned by the MP.
The Assin Central MP was filmed on a live programme widely published on social media platforms, stating that “if he [Mr Agyapong] were President, he would have ensured that Erastus Asare Donkor is beaten mercilessly.”
Following his actions, the Multimedia Group has filed a formal complaint against the Assin Central legislator, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, for threatening the life of one of its journalists, Erastus Asare Donkor.
In its letter addressed to the Deputy Regional Commander, Ashanti Region, the media group is requesting a thorough investigation into the threats issued by the legislator.
On matters regarding threats against journalists, the US Government in 2018 took in the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
The government conducted an investigation and have recently, under the Biden-Harris administration, issued a new visa restriction policy pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(c) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act dubbed the Khashoggi ban, which allows the US Department of State to impose visa restrictions on individuals or members foreign governments believed to be directly involved in the suppress, harassment, surveillance, threatening or causing harm to Journalists.
Meanwhile, Speaker Alban Bagbin has referred the Assin Central MP, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, to the Privileges Committee of Parliament for instigating attacks against JoyNews reporter Erastus Asare Donkor.
The directive issued by the Speaker on Wednesday will enable the House to decide if the actions of Mr Agyapong breach the orders of Parliament and, if so, recommend appropriate sanctions.
Also, a member of Parliament’s Privileges Committee, Kobena Mensah Woyome, has said that the committee will carry out a thorough job no matter how powerful or influential an individual is.
He added that the committee’s work will be thorough through the application of its rules.
“I don’t think that should even come in; already we have rules governing our conduct. These are all going to be looked at as a mirror to see whether it gives us a better reflection or a wrong reflection, which of course will inform how one decides on the way forward or determine the fate of somebody who probably might have gone wrong or found not guilty at all. So I don’t think none of what you have mentioned will influence any member on the committee at all,” he said on Joy FM‘s Super Morning Show on Thursday.