Organisers of Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, Charterhouse, has defended its security protocols as “adequate” despite a cacophonous brawl last Saturday that marred its 20th edition.
Charterhouse CEO Theresa Ayoade in an interview on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Monday traced the brawl partly to an “unfortunate breach” in the seating arrangement.
“All the nominees were supposed to sit at a designated area. But one of them failed to sit there and we couldn’t control him.”
It is widely known that dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale gave up his seat within the designated area for the nominees to his father who sat between rising star Kuami Eugene and legend Amakye Dede.
Shatta Wale, preferring the comfort of his cult, Shatta Movement, enjoying the adulation of his fanatics who moved to the podium while Stonebwoy, his rival, stood to bag another award.
The disruptive march triggered a response from Stonebwoy who brandished a gun much to the frightened reaction of the audience many of whom stormed the exit.
There are reports of a stampede, the use of tear gas and pepper spray amidst the brawl as the award’s 20th anniversary descended into a spectacle.
The Chief Executive is disappointed.
“We were really expecting it to end on a high note,” she said, explaining the award has reached a milestone that deserved to attract international attention.
She also expected the VGMA had grown big enough to also attract tourists. Feeds to DStv which broadcast the awards was temporarily suspended.
Theresa Ayoade said the organisers had developed enough experience in handling even bigger audiences at venues as big as the Accra Sports Stadium.
Charterhouse programs, she said, have gone ahead without incidents of violence and there was the expectation that last Saturday’s event was not going to depart from the trend.
The Chief Executive would not explain if the organisers had considered recent reports of possible terror threats except to say Charterhouse had always involved state security.
State security should factor any such threats in developing and implement security protocols for the awards, she indicated.
The security protocols involved the use of body scanners and handheld scanners, she said but conceded “perhaps we were not able to scan every single person.”
There are reports there was inordinate attention on checking tickets, not threats.
Following the brawl, the Charterhouse CEO has signaled, it has chalked down the names of the two rivals for possible sanctions.
“We will get to that in due course”, the Chief Executive said.
She said going forward, VGMA organisers would design the event to bring in true fans not fanatics.