‘The New Force’ supporters storm court to welcome Shalimar Abbiusi after bail

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A multitude of Ghanaians, brandishing placards, gathered outside the Keneshie District Court on Monday, December 11, 2023, to welcome Shalimar Abbiusi, the arrested spokesperson for a political movement, following her release on bail. Abbiusi, aged 30, was granted bail amounting to GH¢20,000 and is obligated to report to the police three times a week. This development ensued after a poignant video featuring her parents tearfully appealing for her release circulated last week, accusing the government of her alleged kidnapping.

The Belgian national, residing in Ghana, was apprehended on Monday, December 4, on charges of utilizing a forged document to obtain a resident permit. Her arrest was initiated during an investigation into her immigration status, prompted by the Immigration Service’s awareness of her activities on social media, particularly her role as the spokesperson for ‘The New Force.’

The arrest unfolded following an invitation from the Head of the National Enforcement Section at the Immigration Headquarters, who sought clarification on concerns regarding Abbiusi’s immigration status. Investigations revealed that Abbiusi first arrived in Ghana on September 4, 2017, through Kotoka International Airport, claiming residency as a student at the Ghana Christian University College from 2018. However, a thorough check by the college revealed she was never enrolled as a student, and the documents supporting her residence permit application were determined to be forged.

Abbiusi currently faces charges related to immigration offenses and has been presented before the court for remand into Immigration custody. Her arrest has sparked discussions on social media, with some Ghanaians speculating foul play and suggesting that the state might be employing tactics to suppress the emerging political force.

Recently, ‘The New Force’ group released a video outlining its plans for the upcoming election, addressing the challenges faced by Ghanaians under the Akufo-Addo administration. The social media-driven political movement, known for its ‘The Man in a Mask’ campaign, announced its intention to reveal the face behind the mask and articulate its objectives and goals. The movement expressed appreciation for the growing enthusiasm surrounding #TheNewForce and hinted at the imminent unveiling of the mask along with carefully thought-out policy objectives and goals.

Amidst the speculations, there are widespread rumors that Nana Kwame Bediako, also known as Cheddar, the founder and CEO of Wonda World Estates and Petronia City Development Company Limited, is allegedly the force behind ‘The New Force.’ A post by Bright Simons, a vice president of IMANI Africa, supported these speculations, identifying Cheddar as the financier of ‘The New Force’ Movement. Simons’s post on November 28, 2023, referred to Cheddar’s association with tamed, neutered tigers and cited a BBC story about his defiance of a court order to remove these pet tigers from his home.

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