Don’t Let Atiwa, Chereponi And Talensi Die

Let Us Build A Culture That Cherishes Innocent Lives—Donald Trump

Yes, and it is equally important to cherish the lives of those we perceive to be guilty unless they have been proven to be so and the laws of the land have pronounced them guilty and sentenced them to death in the broader interest of our society. William Shakespeare notes that ‘it is one thing to be tempted and another thing to fall’.

Not quite long ago, this country celebrated the 26th anniversary of the survival of the Fourth Republican constitutional dispensation and the growth of our multi-party democracy. I did not have the opportunity to listen to the learned Professor who spoke on our journey from 1993 to date. I am sure he looked at our achievements throughout this journey as well as the challenges we have encountered on the way.

Sure, the nation had its teething problems from 1993, but we soldiered on in the hope that we would be able to surmount whatever difficulties that would come our way and move on, but that seems not to be. Each time we have to go through any by-election to replace a Member of Parliament (MP), who for some reasons creates a vacuum in Parliament, the nation is put on edge. By-elections have become more dangerous to manage in some instances than the general elections themselves, even though others had attracted no serious problems.

We held a by-election in Atiwa and the tensions and recriminations and the physical abuse against political opponents were so bizarre. Threats to lives and injuries sustained by some political party supporters were a dent on our democracy. The national women’s organizer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was reported to have driven her vehicle into a crowd of New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters injuring a number of them. Some were admitted to public health facilities nearby.

The political party in power did not investigate the incident and no culprits were found and punished. The police might have thrown away any reports the victims of those attacks might have made to them.

Then came a by-election in Chereponi. During the last day to the day of the election, a rally venue previously sanctioned by the police for the NPP was invaded by the NDC for its rally on the same day. Clashes naturally ensued and some members of the NPP were shot at with live ammunition. But for the presence of Prof. Frimpong Boateng who rushed the victims to the Yendi Government Hospital and performed surgeries on them, they would have lost their lives. Television footages were shown on national televisions of a young man firing gunshots indiscriminately into a crowed in the name of national security. As you read this piece, dear reader, the police have done nothing about it.

The icing on these political brutalities was the Talensi by-election. National security had tasked the police to search all vehicles travelling to Talensi to ensure that no one carried a gun to the constituency. That was not to be because deadly weapons were openly displayed and fired at political opponents to intimidate them into submission. In the course of the searches by the police, an AK47 was found in the vehicle of the then national chairman of the NDC. What happened thereafter is not known to us.

In my opinion, all the examples I have cited above are crimes in our law books and therefore any government has a responsibility to investigate them, bring the culprits to book and possibly compensate the victims of these by-elections. It has become normal in this country for powerful groups or individuals to unleash mayhem on their fellow Ghanaians without recourse to the law and the law enforcement agencies become either helpless or nonchalant about sufferings of the victims.

And so when the tables turn, the victims of the previous atrocities think it is payback time and the cycle goes on. This is what gave birth to the dastardly acts at Ayawaso West Wuogon just a week ago. Explanations from government officials are that the people dressed in khaki uniforms with black jackets with the NSC crests which is National Security Council, cannot be true.

The National Security Council is a policy-making body that makes decisions on national security matters. Its membership is of the top brass of the various security agencies with the President or the Head of State, whichever the case may be, as the Chairman. The President receives briefings from these security experts on various matters; they advise the President on what course of actions need to be taken. The National Security Council has no standing army or group outside the Ghana Police Service – the Ghana Armed Forces or the Bureau of National Investigations and other allied security agencies.

No known security agency in Ghana has the faces of its personnel hooded like those of armed robbers. Hooded armed uniformed personnel unknown to the security agencies can be likened to brigands, gangsters, mobsters, mobsmen, thugs and hoodlums. No one should attempt to belittle the intelligence of the people of Ghana on the altar of political power.

The NDC has accepted that it has violence in its DNA; the same cannot be said about the NPP. The NPP is a party that believes in the rule of law no matter how it is treated by its political opponents. After the highly rigged Presidential elections of 1992, the NPP and other minority political parties boycotted the parliamentary elections which were held subsequently. The party, led by the current President, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was the Director of Campaign to our first Presidential Candidate, the late Prof. Adu Boahene, led in the documentation of what went wrong in the elections which came to be known as the STOLEN VERDICT.

The NPP in those tensed moments did not move into the bush to fight the then government whose legitimacy was suspicious internally and externally. Ironically, the same Nana Akufo-Addo, when it became very obvious that the results of the 2012 general elections, when he was the presidential candidate of the NPP, had been manipulated by the Electoral Commission in favour of the incumbent government’s candidate, he went to the Supreme Court when party supporters were eager to do anything. The Supreme Court redefined SHALL in the Constitution and ruled against Nana Akufo-Addo. His response was, ‘I accept the judgement, but disagree with it’.

This is not a man of violence who would sanction the dastardly acts that occurred at Ayawaso West Wuogon for anything. In any case with or without those hoodlums, was the NPP not going to win anyway? Why bring the reputation of the party and its leader into disrepute at this crucial time of cleaning the economic and social mess the NDC left behind for a pittance?

Ghanaians have their economic and social challenges to tackle with, but are comfortable living in our country. No Ghanaian would want to be a refugee anywhere on earth, even if they are accepted as such in the wealthiest of nations. We are not ready to engage in any internecine fratricidal war that will send our modest achievements over the years back and inflict pains on the majority of our people who do not have the means to flee their homes into safety anywhere. If those who organized this nonsense have nothing to learn, they should look at Syria and Yemen where children breathe their last each passing minute. The NPP is not competing with any political party on ‘Who-Is-Who’ in violence because we are not violent and do not believe in the use of violence in settling scores.

Ayawaso West Wuogon is a blot on our image and those behind those disgraceful acts must resign their positions before they are flushed out.

From Kwesi Biney