The younger brother of a leading figure in Ghana’s main opposition party appeared in court on Tuesday charged with the murder of a politician who died after an acid attack that shocked the nation.
Gregory Afoko, whose elder brother Paul is national chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), pleaded not guilty before magistrates in the capital Accra.
He and a fellow defendant, identified as Asabke Aladi and said to be still at large, “planned the murder of the late Upper East (region) chairman of the NPP (Adam Mahama)”, the charge sheet read.
They are also charged with conspiracy to commit crime.
Afoko’s lawyer requested bail but this was denied and his client was remanded into police custody until a further hearing on June 9.
Mahama was attacked on May 20 by two men who stopped his car and hurled acid at him. He died the following morning.
Details of a post-mortem examination have not yet been released but Mahama was buried on Sunday.
The dead man had previously criticised Paul Afoko and NPP general-secretary Kwabena Agyepong for allegedly organising a meeting in his region without his knowledge.
Angry local members of the party disrupted the meeting and drove the national officers away.
The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of President John Dramani Mahama, who is no relation to the deceased, has described the killing as “barbaric and cowardly”.
The head of state wrote on Twitter: “Horrified @murder of UE NPP Chair Adam Mahama. Nothing can justify such barbarism. Condolence to wife & family. There’ll be justice.”
But the Centre for Democratic Development think-tank pointed out political violence had previously “gone unpunished, and in many instances are condoned (and not reprimanded) by political party leadership”.
At Adam Mahama’s funeral, the NPP presidential candidate at next year’s elections, Nana Akufo-Addo, said: “Violence cannot be a way of resolving political disputes in our country.”