Still reeling from the shock of the execution-style killing of investigative journalist, Ahmed Hussein Suale a fortnight ago, Ghanaians were dealt yet another trauma by the outburst of violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency bye elections. Masked gunmen brazenly shot and injured thirteen civilians, all said to be members of the opposition NDC.
Appalling, frightening and hugely counterproductive aptly describe the senseless violence that was unleashed and which has only succeeded in putting the nation on a dangerous trajectory. Our country can ill afford to have this threat posed to our democratic system that is still nascent and fragile. Every decent Ghanaian worth their salt should voice strong objection to the political gangsterism so vividly on display last week.
Several questions must be asked of those we elected to govern our country. Has Ghana lost her marbles, her sense of political direction? Why was this allowed to happen in a nation that prides itself on being the oasis of calm in a troubled West African region? Has one political party decided that violence is the best tool or strategy to use to secure victory at the polls?
Authorities, by which I mean the ruling NPP, must provide answers andquickly before the country is overwhelmed and things get out of hand plunging it into an endless period of chaos, climbing out of which will be daunting, hellish and traumatizing. This is not the time to shirk their responsibilities.
The ramifications of last week’s political violence are too numerous to list here but let me touch on a few; the integrity of our electoral system has been severely compromised, our once pristine image has been tarnished in the eyes of the international community, the victory of the NPP in the bye elections is tainted and voters will henceforth be wary about going to the polls afraid of being intimidated, or worse, being shot by masked men who will not be punished for their crimes anyway.
Initially, details about the shooting were murky and made more so by the obfuscation of government officials desperate to cover up the egregious behavior of masked jack-booted goons.
Different variations of who the perpetrators really were have been relentlessly pushed; while some have described them as operatives of the National Security Agency, others have strenuously maintained that the thugs were members of the dreaded NPP affiliated vigilante group, the Invincible Forces.
But as the days wore on and more information began to seep in, it eventually emerged that the masked perpetrators of the violence were state employees. The boss of the National Security agency has admitted as much. Whoever these guys were, they committed a fundamental violation of human rights and must be held accountable.
So without further ado, the blame should be put squarely on the shoulders of the President, Nana Akuffo Addo. As the commander in chief of all our security agencies Mr. Addo bears ultimate responsibility for the near carnage. The buck stops with him as the saying goes.
All eyes will be on the President to see what measures he will take in terms of meting out punishment to those responsible for the chaos in Ayawaso. Innocent civilians about to embark on their civic duty of voting were the targets of a savage unprovoked attack by state agents. There is a lot at stake here for the country and Mr. Addo ought to acknowledge that and act fast.