More condemn Ayawaso by-election violence

BY: Victor Kwawukume & Philip Boateng Kessie
Ayawaso by-election violence
Ayawaso by-election violence

The Inter-Party Coalition for National Sovereignty (IPCNS), a political pressure group, has announced that it would embark on a demonstration in Accra on Thursday, February 7, to protest against what it describes as the breakdown of security in the country.

The coalition is made up of political parties, including the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the All People’s Congress (APC) and the People’s National Convention (PNC).

According to them, the open display of impunity and acts of violence instigated by pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) vigilante groups in the wake of last Thursday’s Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election had reached an alarming proportion, therefore, necessitating the need for an immediate and effective remedial action before the unthinkable happens.

They made this disclosure at a press conference in Accra to express their displeasure over the violent clashes last Thursday.

Meanwhile, more groups have condemned the violence that took place and have called for investigations for the culprits to be apprehended and prosecuted.

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Catholic Bishops Conference

The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has said it condemns in no uncertain terms the reported shootings and assaults perpetrated by some unidentified groups resulting in injuries.

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 Most Rev. Philip Naameh — President of Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference

Of particular concern, the GCBC said, was the reported use of vigilante groups to disturb the peace and orderliness of the by-election.

A press release signed by the Secretary General, the Very Rev. Fr Lazarus Anondee, said those incidents did not only pose a serious threat to the country’s democracy but would also certainly draw back the progress and successes of the country’s democratic gains.

“We, therefore, call on the Ghana Police Service and all other relevant security agencies to conduct thorough investigations into the incidents and bring the perpetrators to book.

We also call on the Electoral Commission (EC) to liaise with the political parties to address all the challenges and fears of stakeholders in the conduct of peaceful elections,” the statement urged.

Jacob Osei Yeboah

Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah (JOY), an independent candidate in the 2016 presidential election, noted that he had condemned such violence since the 1992 general election but the situation had not changed for the better but had rather worsened.

 Mr Bernard Mornah  — Addressed the press conference

However, he added that the attempt to label the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa and the Commission for biases without facts was another dangerous move.

He advised that the government ought to be clear in communicating decisions taken to assure the security of all.

He, however, cautioned against blowing last Thursday’s disturbance out of proportion, saying: “Let us, therefore, not magnify the Ayawaso West Wuogon incident to our detriment to affect our economic endeavours as a people.

Let’s salute the professionalism of the security forces and thank God that the planned disturbances did not spread across polling stations.”

Professor Alabi

A flag bearer aspirant of the NDC, Professor Joshua Alabi, has commiserated with the injured and traumatised victims and condemned the acts of violence visited upon law abiding citizens who were exercising a democratic right to vote in an election.

 Prof. Joshua Alabi

He said he had also been briefed about the unusual activities of supposed policemen clad in unfamiliar uniforms with masks, armed with AK-47 assault rifles with no badge numbers or name tags and patrolling the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in a manner that voters found intimidating.

“The use of violence in elections and within the conduct of any democratic exercise cannot and will not be countenanced in the run up to the 2020 general election.

The government and all state institutions mandated to maintain law and order must remain loyal to our sacred Constitution and rid our politics of all forms of violence,” he posited.

Former President Mahama

Meanwhile, former President John Dramani Mahama has questioned the selective conduct of some civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country, especially on issues of national importance.

Former President John Mahama

He noted that some civil society organisations had developed a cold attitude for commenting on many important national issues, including human rights, since the inception of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government even though they were very vocal during the administration of the NDC.

He, for instance, wondered why his statement that the NDC would defend the Constitution of Ghana after last Thursday’s violent attacks and gunfire on NDC members and supporters in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election had attracted criticism from some CSOs leaders.

Mr Mahama also urged the police not to “shield the NPP’s rampaging hoodlums who injured scores of NDC members when they opened fire on them during the by-election in Accra.”