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Opposition parties protest against by-election violence

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
General Secretary of NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia
General Secretary of NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia

Hundreds of supporters of the opposition parties operating under the banner the Inter-party Coalition for National Sovereignty, yesterday staged a demonstration to demand justice for the victims of the shooting incident that occurred during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election in Accra on January 31, this year.

Dubbed: "Aagbe wↄ”, a Ga expression meaning “We are being killed”, the demonstration started from the Obra Spot in Accra about 9 a.m. through some principal streets before the demonstrators converged on the front gate of the Jubilee House, where they presented a petition to the President, which was received by Mr Rockson Bukari, a Minister of State at the Office of the President.

Contrary to speculations that the demonstrators would not be allowed entry to the vicinity of the Jubilee House, they had smooth access as they moved peacefully to present their petition.

Before arriving at the Jubilee House, the group had presented petitions to the Interior Minister, Mr Ambrose Dery, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr David Asante-Appeatu.

Placards

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Some of the placards carried by the demonstrators, who were mainly dressed in red attire and armbands, bore inscriptions such as: "IGP must go", "Equality before the law", "Government, stop lying", "Nana Addo ku yen preko" and "Ghana beyond delta force".

Others were: "Stop killing us", "Power must change 2020", "We will resist oppressor’s rule" and "Our future, our concern".

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Attendance

The demonstration attracted some appointees of the erstwhile John Mahama administration, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) and some leading members of the NDC, including Ms Sherry Ayittey, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Nana Oye Lithur, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and a Deputy National Chairman of the NDC, Chief Sofo Azoka.

Also in attendance was the National Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Bernard Mornah.

Petition

Addressing the demonstrators after presenting the petition to the President, Mr Mornah, who was the convenor of the group, laid the blame of the shooting that occurred during the by-election on the doorstep of President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo, saying the group would continue to defend the Constitution.

“You (President Akufo-Addo) are the ultimate guardian of this democracy and the promise of its freedoms. You are the arbiter of transparency and accountability in our society,” he said.

According to him, the masked security men who were involved in the acts of violence during the by-election made mockery of the country’s democracy and its security system, saying “the people of Ghana deserve to know the truth of last Thursday’s event”.

“The peace and stability of this nation rests with your commitment to honest, objective and unbiased investigations and prosecutions,” Mr Monah said.

Investigations

He explained that the decision by the government to set up a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the by-election shooting would be a defective way to find and punish the perpetrators of the crime.

He alleged that members of the commission were known NPP supporters and therefore their investigation would only set the perpetrators of the crime free.

“We shall not accept any attempt by the NPP government to whitewash and cover up the barbaric crimes of last Thursday’s by-election,” Mr Monah said.

He also called for the immediate resignation of the National Security Minister and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for allegedly losing control of the country’s security.

Commemoration of shooting incident

For his part, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, said the party would commemorate the shooting incident.

He said commemorating the event would serve as a reminder to future generations to know that there was once in Ghana’s history when a government in power supervised the brutalising of innocent Ghanaian voters during a by-election.

He indicated that the demonstration had sent a strong signal to the police that the opposition could not be intimidated by anybody.

He said the coalition had given a one-week ultimatum to the President and the other persons they petitioned to react to the issues they raised in their petition, failing which the coalition would adopt other methods ro press home their demands.

NDC serves warning

The Chairman of the NDC, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, warned the NPP to desist from acts of violent attacks in future elections, failure of which the NDC would not sit aloof for the country’s democratic rule to be derailed.

He said NDC members were not cowards but rather they put human lives above any other consideration.