Home General News Naah-Yerreh Writes: Counting on Provocation: Why Ayawaso by-election turned violent

Naah-Yerreh Writes: Counting on Provocation: Why Ayawaso by-election turned violent

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The recent by-election at Ayawaso West Wuogon will be remembered not for its free and fair nature or as the first by-election under Akufo-Addo’s reign as president, but the relatively insignificant yet blown-out-of-Proportion violence that preceded the vote.

For the ordinary Ghanaian, the following questions are left unanswered despite the hullabaloo all surrounding the incident and the somewhat extensive coverage by the traditonal media:

1. What were the national security operatives doing at the election grounds and residence of the NDC candidate?

2. Why did a sitting MP lie that the NDC candidate had been “killed in his own home”?

3. Why would a sitting MP charge at a security personnel, hurling insults at him?

4. Why would a security personnel slap a sitting member of parliament?

Many have been the interpretations read into the violence and some interest-based meanings presented as answers to a variation of the questions asked here. But we’re going to take an objective look and try to answer with some simplicity very complicated questions surrounded by circumstances of same.

1. What were the national security operatives doing at the residence of the NDC candidate ?

Ordinarily, by-elections doesn’t solicit the kind of attention especially from a security point of view. But then you have to go back in recent history of Ghana to review incidents that took place on by-election days. Atiwa, Chereponi, Talensi, Akwatia. All had their share of violence, some at a degree unseen even in general elections. Therefore as a proactive measure, it was expected that security would be beefed to prevent such an occurrence. But why not the police but National security? – well here’s what I have gathered, The famous Azorka Boys, many of whom were among the injured were present and information is that they were there to wreak havoc and were taking abode at the residence of the NDC candidate. This then, although out of proportion and the violence uncalled for, was the reason for the massive presence of the National security operatives to counter the Vigilante group known for its violence.

2. Why did a sitting MP lie that the NDC candidate had been “killed in his own home”?

This needs no embellishment, it was a blatant lie and a purposely twist of facts to align with NDC’s predetermined approach to the whole by-election.

NDC stood no chance of winning the seat, they had been defeated since 1996 with a progressively increasing margin between the NDC and NPP votes. Effectively, the only political expedient strategy was to use the by-election to gain political capital. In this case by provocation, knowing very well what the reaction would be since they’ve been there before.

This would then help set their agenda for 2020. “The NPP is a violent and Power abusing party who can’t guarantee peace therefore reject them” will probably be the biggest campaign message of the NDC going into 2020 as the government has done relatively better in almost every sector of the economy.

The ex-president John Mahama “boot for boot” comments comes as a confirmation. It was all scripted.

Unfortunately the NPP sheepishly fell for it. The subsequent brawl between the National Youth organizer of NPP, Nana B and national communication director of NDC, Sammy Gyamfi played right into the above narrative. Some discerning Ghanaians may spot the cunning attempt by the opposition to play with their intelligence, but it is up to the NPP to go on damage control and assert they’re the intellectuals and not the one’s who took power by arms.

3. Why would a sitting MP charge at a security personnel hurling insults at him?

Heat of the moment, Anger, pain of loss or strategy?. If you have seen the video, the MP, Samuel Dzata George is seen charging at the security personnel sitting in a police car and hurling insults. Everything else, although out of proportion and by all accounts condemnable, was a reaction of security personnel who applied the law without fear or favor. Again this plays into a bigger ploy to provoke and solicit a violent reaction as part of the strategy.

If it were an ordinary civilian, it wouldn’t even be news. But since he’s a politician and we expect them to enjoy some sort of immunity and preferential treatment, I join the numerous voices to say he had the right to verbally abuse the security personnel and go Scott free.

4. Why would security personnel slap a sitting member of parliament?

This question may have been answered by the answer to the previous question. I abhor any violence from security personnel towards civilians, in same vein I believe the security forces must be treated with respect and allowed to do their job of keeping the peace. The polarizing words of the MP which turned out to be palpable lies were uncalled for and it is only unfortunate a slap was the only means of keeping the situation calm. All sides must be brought to book for their role in the violence and we must ensure that never again should Ghanaians be disrespected in this manner.

Writer: Joseph Naah-Yerreh

(naah-yiereh@nsemwoha.com)