The unfortunate fallouts from the just-ended Ayawaso West Wougon Constituency bye-election, after the passing of the former Member of Parliament, Hon. Emmanuel Kwabena Kyeremanteng Agyarko, are not anything to write home about.
So bad were the developments that, not only was the MP for Ningo-Prampram Constituency, Hon. Sam Djata George, pummeled by security officers, and a number of people shot, but the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), pulled out of the contest.
At a press conference at the NDC headquarters, the party clarified that it merely withdrew its agents from the polling stations, for their own safety, and did not call off the entire election, as was earlier reported.
There were, however, some inconsistencies about what actually happened and the level of damage caused. While Sammu Gyamfi, National Communication Officer, said eight people had been killed, Bismark Aborbi Ayitey, NDC Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency Chairman, said the death toll was two. Less than an hour later, Mr. Ampofo, the national chairman, came also said that there was no confirmation that anybody had died.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP), for its part, had a different story for Ghanaians. It alleged that the NDC had imported thugs from Tamale into the constituency to cause mayhem, and when the anti-terrorism squad of the national security stormed the area, they were fire upon.
The ruling party accused the NDC of disappointing their members by ‘recklessly abandoning their civic responsibility’ and also habouring an agenda to tarnish the country’s electoral reputation.
While we condemn the attacks on the MP and the shooting of unarmed Ghanaians in the bye-elections, THE PUBLISHER is compelled to opine that the turn of events at Ayawaso West Wuogon could be an offspring of the posture of the NDC national chairman since the day he was elected.
It is recalled that, in his acceptance speech after he was elected in November, 2018, Ofosu Ampofo’s posture was glaringly one of militancy. His speech was laced with assurances of an escalation of political vigilantism under his leadership.
We are tempted to believe that this stance could have impacted the positions taken by other prominent members, including former President John Dramani Mahama, Sammy Gyamfi, Peter Boamah Torkunor, and Bismark Borbi Ayitey, to also thread the same path.
For instance, ahead of the bye-elections, Bismark Ayitey, when interviewed on UTV, did not only hint of bloodbath, but also warned of reprisal attacks when interviewed on ATV after the shooting incident. His credibility was further damaged when he again claimed that two people had died following the shooting incident.
In the view of the paper, vigilantism will not help any political party, including the NDC.
As for John Mahama’s assertion that, going by the NDC’s revolutionary origin, the party is more violent than the NPP and is therefore ready to up its game in future elections, we think the former president has succeeded in inscribing his name on the negative side of the country’s political history.
THE PUBLISHER wishes to call on the NDC leadership to take a cue from Nana Akufo-Addo, who consistently entrusted his political destiny in the hands of the Lord, no matter how painfully he felt cheated, and ended up winning the admiration of millions of voters.
They must realize that the NDC lost the 2016 general elections, not because the party failed to be militant, but largely because the presidential candidate at the time had virtually no message for the electorate.