By Agnes Ansah
The two dancehall artistes – Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy – who forced music lovers that thronged the Accra International Conference to watch the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards to run for their lives because of their belligerent conducts, failed this time to exhibit the same bellicosity when the police pounced and bundled them into cells.
Whereas Stonebwoy issued a rueful statement apologising for what had happened on the day he was arrested, the now powerless Shatta Wale took to social media to announce to his fans that he was going to spend the night in police cells. The apparent remorse showed by the two controversial artistes would, however, not move the police, who were determined to enforce the law.
Sources say the police could have arrested the duo on the night the incident happened, but they took the strategic decision not to effect any arrests in order to ensure maximum security at the event venue.
A statement issued by Head of Public Affairs at the Accra Region Police Command, DSP Effia Tenge, yesterday, indicated that the two have finally been granted bail. But a police source told The Chronicle that the two would be taken to court today to sign a bond to be of good behaviour.
Our source also disclosed that decision to detain the two artistes and haul them to court this morning is to serve as a deterrent, especially to the youth to avoid anyone exhibiting similar conducts in future. The Chronicle gathered that the junior ranks in the Police Service were happy with the action taken by their leadership to arrest and detain the two musicians.
A night set aside to celebrate the 20 years milestone since the introduction of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) for the music industry was marred by fisticuffs, which held up the show for nearly half an hour last Saturday.
The genesis of the incident was that ace radio presenter Abeiku Santana announced Stonebwoy as the Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year 2018.
The latter (Shatta Wale), with his team, mounted the stage to receive his award, which he had won for the fifth consecutive time. Just when he was about to give his acceptance speech, Shatta Wale and his followers were seen walking onto the stage, looking unfriendly.
The Manager of Stonebwoy, Blakk Cedi, stepped forward to prevent their rivals from coming close, a move which turned into an exchange of blows, until the police and military came in to save the situation.
Stonebwoy pulled out a gun, but was shielded by his team, whilst Shatta Wale left his members on stage and walked away looking aggressive. The fracas forced organisers to, for the first time, not announce the winners of the Artiste of the Year and the Most Popular Song of the Year awards.
Reactions from the public
The incident has attracted a lot of attention from the public and the creative art industry players, including the sector Minister.
Madam Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, has revealed that the ministry will engage the two to bring an end to the feud. “We are going to engage them together with MUSIGA to ensure that we resolve whatever underlying issue that is there, so that we don’t have an escalation, going forward into the future,” Oteng-Gyasi said on Class FM.
A presser from the Chief executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Authority, Mr Emmanuel Sin-nyet Asigri, also condemned the act and called on the police to deal ruthlessly with the perpetrators of the incident, to serve as a deterrent to other players in the entertainment front who might want to take the peace of the country for granted.
Similarly, the organiser of the august event, Charterhouse, apologised to its audience and condemned the behaviour of the two artistes.
The statement signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr George Quaye, said: “The Management of Charterhouse Productions wishes to apologise unreservedly on its behalf, and on behalf of the Board of the 2019 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), to the patrons and millions of viewers on television and social media in Ghana, and all over the world, for the security breach that marred the event.
“We apologise to our international visitors, including [the] CEO of Mobo Awards UK, Kanya King CBE, representatives from Sony Music, Mr. Ben Oldfield from The Orchard, Phil Phillips, Alison Hinds and other representatives of the Barbados Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, who were present to experience the 20th Anniversary edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
“Being a special edition of the annual ceremony, months of planning had gone into giving the world a breath-taking event. Sadly, however, we were unable to give the full experience we had hoped to give as a result of this breach.
“As a law abiding corporate citizen, Charterhouse has reported the incidence to the police and has been cooperating with the police to investigate and to ensure that the true facts of what happened would be known and addressed.”