Since August of this year, Ghana has witnessed the apprehension of five citizens who have found themselves entangled in legal troubles, charged with alleged involvement in “planning to overthrow the government and destabilizing the peace.”
The arrests, which occurred on August 14, 2023, were linked to a protest orchestrated by a pro-Russian group led by Michael Asiedu, the administrator of Mikado News, a Facebook blog boasting 1.5K followers, known for disseminating pro-Russian content.
According to a detailed report by GhanaFact, Michael Asiedu, along with four others, was detained by the Ghana Police Service for sporting shirts bearing “Wagner inscriptions.” These investigations unraveled that the said protest transpired on August 13, 2023, at Diabene Park in Takoradi, the capital of Ghana’s Western Region.
The rally itself attracted a diverse group of participants, with young individuals brandishing placards emblazoned with various slogans, such as “Biden is a warmonger” and “Long live Russia.” Flags of Ghana, Russia, Niger, Mali, and Algeria were also proudly displayed at the event.
Fast forward to August 18, 2023, and Michael Asiedu, along with his four associates, were granted bail, with a court appearance scheduled for October 3, 2023.
GhanaFact’s report delves into Asiedu and his associates’ efforts to promote a pro-Russian stance, part of a shadowy campaign believed to be aligned with the interests of the Russian mercenary group, Wagner.
Operational Insights in Ghana
GhanaFact’s investigation uncovered key operational details of this network. Telegram pages served as the primary platform for disseminating information, which was subsequently echoed across various media outlets, including Twitter and Facebook.
For instance, a post regarding Okudzeto Ablakwa, a Member of Parliament for North Tongu, shared on the AussieCossack channel, was widely circulated on multiple platforms. Similarly, a flyer for the West African Freedom Rally, a protest event, was posted on the DDGeopolitics Telegram channel on August 7. Within 24 hours, it had propagated across various online media channels. The flyer included event details such as the date, venue, time, and participation of key figures from Ghana’s major political parties.
GhanaFact also unearthed links to podcasts and Twitter space discussions where plans for the pro-Russian/Wagner-related protests in Ghana were mapped out. These discussions also touched upon logistics and funding for their operations within Ghana.
In the course of their investigation, GhanaFact identified Michael Asiedu, the administrator of Mikado News, as the local figurehead behind this Ghanaian project. Mikado News, a Facebook blog, has 1.5K followers and is known for promoting pro-Russian content.
As part of their preparations for the pro-Russian/Wagner protest, three online events in the form of podcasts and Twitter spaces were organized on August 5, 10, and 12, 2023. These gatherings addressed various aspects, including venue selection, expected turnout, funding through crowdfunding, and local political support.
During these discussions, it was mentioned that the Russian Embassy had been informed about the planned protest but declined involvement in its organization.
Funding the Protest in Ghana
An appeal for funds was issued on August 6, calling on supporters to contribute to the pro-Russian/pro-Wagner protests in Ghana. GhanaFact’s investigations revealed that approximately $6,000 was allocated for organizing the protest.
Of this amount, AUD 2471.5 was directly channeled to the protest organizers in Ghana. Additionally, AUD 691.5 was allocated for the procurement and shipment of 200 Russian flags to the Russian embassy in Ghana.
Furthermore, GhanaFact uncovered publications in two online Russian newspapers, RiaNovosty and EADaily, from August 5, which disclosed an earlier shipment of 100 flags to Ghana by Aussie Cossack.
The report also featured a receipt dated August 7, attributed to the Wagner PMC, detailing the order of 1000 T-shirts for protestors, amounting to GHS 50,000 or $4,300