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Time to crack whip on those itching for political violence


As we inch closer to the December elections, such is the worry about the potential for violence that, no effort is being spared by the government, the political opposition and civil society groups to ensure that Ghanaians elect a government of their choice without hassle, intimidation and fear.

On his numerous campaign stops President Mahama has been at pain to stress the importance of free, fair and peaceful elections, and imploring the nation in general, and his supporters in particular, to conduct themselves above reproach.

The opposition has also joined in the dance; its presidential hopeful, Nana Akuffo Addo is on record as assuring Ghanaians that his party is plenty committed to a peaceful elections in December. In the same vein, civil society groups such as the National Commission for Civil Education, are calling on the population to resist all temptations to engage in electoral violence and to remain calm.

Indeed, it is gratifying to see such a diverse group of Ghanaians closing ranks in pursuit of  a common goal— clean elections. But it is worth pointing out that, however well-intentioned and noble the goal of the group is, the fact still remains that, supporters of the two major political parties, the NDC and the NPP, are hellbent on igniting trouble.

Recent news reports of clashes between supporters of the parties that left some participants with cracked skulls and broken noses, not only validate this assertion, but also go to show what is in store for the nation if these trouble makers aren’t stopped.

I call these supporters political spoilers, because their expressed purpose is to disrupt the democratic process and everything that it entails. They have little regard for rules governing elections and won’t accept the outcome of an election that does not go their way. And blinded by raging partisanship and an indifference to the well being of society,  they would go to any length to avenge defeat at the polls.

We pride ourselves on being one of a select few nations on the African continent with a stable political environment, Botswana, Rwanda, Tanzania and Senegal being the others. But we should not delude ourselves that based on this comforting thought, we could as well kiss political violence goodbye. With the stakes being so high, there is a distinct possibility that things could simply get out of hand.

The two major political parties have a lot riding on the elections, and should rein in their restless supporters, at best educate them on the need to preserve all the gains we have made in the last twenty plus years under democratic rule, and at worst, tell them that engaging in political violence will only ensure that the country retrogresses.

Complementing the efforts of the political parties in cracking the whip should be our security services. It is only prudent that government grants them a vast leeway to deal ruthlessly, but within the confines of our laws, with any group that threatens the peace of Ghana.

Let me wrap up this commentary with a sobering statistics from the United Nations. The organization said Africans are now poorer than they were in 1990, two in five Africans are poor and violence is on the rise. Well, country men and women, if this is not enough to stop us dead in our tracks from engaging in political violence, I don’t know what ever will.









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