Presidential hopeful of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Slyvester Mensah is asking international bodies to condemn what he described as ‘cowardly and barbaric government-sponsored violence’ during the January 31 by-election held in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency.
The NDC pulled out of the race citing the violence but the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) at a news conference said the violence was orchestrated by the opposition NDC instead to discredit the election.
Despite these blame games and the attacks, the Electoral Commission (EC) insists the polls was conducted in a peaceful, smooth and orderly manner.
But Slyvester Mensah believes, the Electoral Commission could have rescheduled the polls at the affected ‘violent’ areas for the safety of voters adding that the EC’s disregard for the violence was a clear sign that the elections was being organised in the favour of the governing party.
“The Electoral Commission could have postponed the elections in the areas affected by the violence to allow residents to vote later without the threat of violence but their tacit endorsement of the messy developments which were premeditated and orchestrated to the advantage of the NPP, undermines public confidence. Election security was a total failure”, Sly Mensa stated in a statement.
“We call on the international community to condemn this senseless, cowardly and barbaric government sponsored violence, he added.
Other presidential aspirants of the NDC, Joshua Alabi, John Mahama and Goosie Tanoh, have all condemned Thursday’s violence that characterized the by-election at the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency.
They blamed the NPP for the attacks describing the violence as an affront to the country’s democratic credentials.
Joshua Alabi accused government and the security agencies of deliberately using violence as a means of intimidation to gain political power.
“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 elections. 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 stressed.
NPP threatening Ghana’s politics
Goosie Tanoh also expressed shock at the government’s failure to deal with challenges of the country’s security apparatus although it has constantly given assurances. He, therefore, wants the government to prove its commitment by bringing the perpetrators of the violence to book.
“These NPP militias have been involved in many violent and unlawful acts since the Akufo-Addo administration assumed office including attacks on the judiciary and the Security services. So far, they have acted with impunity despite promises by H.E the President to bring them to heel. They represent a threat to our politics, our constitution and our civilisation. It is ironic that the same NPP that today is presiding over violent attacks on the electoral process in Ayawaso is anxious to claim credit for recent progress in resolving the [Dagbon] crisis.”
No one can beat us in unleashing violence – Mahama warns NPP
John Mahama also responded to the eruption of violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election with a reminder of the NDC’s own capacity for violence.
The former President said his party was prepared to advise itself after one person was shot and others injured during some confusion at the La Bawaleshie Presby School polling centre.
Speaking to party supporters in Adaklu, Mr. Mahama said: “the NPP is taking this power as a matter of life and death.”
Out of respect for the constitution, he said the NDC had been acting docile but is ready to revolt if the perceived intimidation from the government continues.
“We respect the constitution of this country and NDC is a democratic country, and that is why we abide by the rules of the constitution. But the same constitution says that Ghanaians should resist anybody who attempts to subvert the constitution and when you go rampaging with forces and intimidating people when they come out and vote, you are subverting Ghana’s constitution, and we have the right to resist you.”
Mr. Mahama acknowledged the NDC’s political roots, which contributed two coup d’etats to Ghana’s history, saying “when it comes to unleashing violence, nobody can beat us in unleashing violence.”
He also said they were ready to face the NPP in 2020 if the government doesn’t take steps to protect them.