Did you know that in the period between 2009 and 2015, there were 4 by-elections?. Akwatia, Atiwa, Chereponi and Talensi, the associated violence that accompanied them are probably distant memories now.
The incidents that marred the Ayawaso by election Yesterday which led to the verbal withdrawal of the biggest opposition party in Ghana from the race unfortunately was no exception. The tactics, the force and brutality were all expected unless of course you haven’t been following how by-elections turn out in Ghana.
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The NDC is crying foul for being victims of a government sanctioned assault on its members including the unfortunate slapping and assault of the member of parliament for the Ningo Prampram constituency, Hon. Sam Dzata Nartey George. The blame game has been fierce with each side blaming the other for using party vigilantes to provoke or cause violence on the other. In the end the opposition suffered the most victims and that too was expected.
The police service and the National security apparatus has for since time immemorial been used extensively by ruling governments to suppress opposition and sometimes to pay back in same coin. The fact is NDC and NPP has had their turn in government since 1992 and have all used these institutions to intimidate and sometimes perpetrate violence against the other side.
Chereponi, Atiwa, Talensi and Akwatia by-elections all happened under the rule of NDC and during that time same institutions were used massively to intimidate the NPP and its supporters. Broad day light shooting of live bullets at people. The late President Mills famously replied when he was queried about the brutality of such institutions that “The presidency is not a law enforcement institution “.
We saw the brutality that was meted out to ‘Let my vote count alliance’ demonstrators on the streets of Accra by police, with the nephew and editor in chief of the daily Statesman being whipped to pulp with cane while another suffered a lasting damage to his left eye, all at the supposed instruction of some big guns in the NDC.
With this background in mind, in as much as I condemn the violence that ensued, it is mind boggling to hear the NDC crying as if this was new to it. It was fed a large morsel of it’s own hard Akple (Local corn dish) without fetri detsi (Okro soup) and of course it is difficult to swallow.
We can all as Ghanaians come together to enact laws that gives some independence to these crucial institutions in order to avoid political parties recruiting their own vigilantes and ‘boys’ and using them as wrecking balls when they need to satiate their vindictiveness.