How Long Can We Tolerate This?
by Kwesi Biney
If we let this Talensi situation become the norm, what will be the point? Politics of stealing, bribery, violence will lead to more poverty and despair in a nation with no excuse not to be prosperous. What a shame! (Papa Kwesi Nduom).
A shame indeed it is and has been over the years. I have had the occasion to caution those in politics and positions of trust that our positions today are not permanent and that there will be a time when we will vacate those positions through various means. The world today is replete with instances of political leaders and other public office holders elsewhere who misused their positions to maim, kill, hurt and injure innocent people without any justifiable reasons when they had power, being held to task for what they did decades back.
Sometimes I wonder whether as a people we learn anything at all as far as our actions and inactions as public officers are concerned. For me, the biggest mistake under Kufuor was the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) which was meant to heal wounds and not punish murderers and wrong doers. A nation that does not punish wrong doers and their accomplices sows serious and deep rooted seeds of impunity. That is the situation this nation is embroiled in and we seem to perpetuate it to the chagrin of right thinking persons in our society.
It is gradually becoming a norm and an acceptable conduct that during elections, it is normal and proper to maim and even kill and get away with it in as long as those murderous actions of the individual or group of individuals inure to the benefit of the ruling government. Under the Kufuor administration, at least about three bye-elections were conducted. Those I remember very well were the Bimbilla bye-elections which brought Hon. Nitiwul as an NPP Member of Parliament when Hon. Ibn Chambas vacated his position to take a more peaceful and permanent job with Ecowas. The ruling party took the seat without a single drop of blood.
The NPP snatched that seat from the NDC without, to the best of my knowledge, a single shot of the gun. The second bye-election under Kufuor was the Amenfi-West seat when Hon. Kofi Asante, the then NDC Member of Parliament also resigned from his position after intimidation and violence against him at the Legon Congress of the NDC. I was part of the campaign in that constituency, no blood was let, the NPP took the seat using incumbency advantage.
In fact under NDC between 1997 and 2000, there was a bye-election at Ablekuma Central in Accra, where I lived then, when the NPP MP, Hon. Crabbe passed away. There was intimidation though but no blood was let, the NPP retained the seat. Sadly, under Atta-Mills and Mahama led NDC, three bye-elections in the last seven years have seen blood-letting to achieve a political end.
Indeed at Akwatia, Nana Ohene Ntow, the General Secretary of the NPP was brutalized by NDC thugs in the full glare of the security agencies. Hon. Dan Kweku Botwe had his vehicle vandalized and many more NPP activists were beaten to pulp. Dan Botwe was not allowed to be the party’s agent at a particular polling station, and the security agents could not prevent the NDC hounds from taking the law into their own hands. No arrests and prosecution took place in spite of the reports to the Police by the victims and the fact that the security agencies were witnesses to the brutalities by the NDC.These murderous acts of impunity preceded the murder of some perceived NPP activists at Old Fadama by NDC operatives in Accra. Instead of apprehending the villains, Nana Ohene Ntow was rather arrested by COP Rose Atinga Bio. Impunity glorified. Then came the Chereponi bye-elections also in the Northern part of the country. Another gory incidence by the NDC with the supine acquiescence of state security apparatus to ensure victory for the NDC took place. A state security operative was caught on camera shooting into NPP supporters and activists.
A few of them were hit by the bullets and had to be rushed to a hospital in Yendi, and but for the presence of Prof. Frimpong Boateng who followed up to perform a surgery on them, they might have lost their lives. The man who performed these dastardly acts on his fellow Ghanaians just for political reasons was caught on camera and he is still walking freely on the streets of Ghana. No justice for them. Once again the security agencies have become helpless or were passive participants in these murderous acts of impunity.
Yes, the Atiwa bye- elections in the Eastern Region also under the NDC government saw scores of young NPP supporters who were bent on ensuring that rigging and cheating never took place also subjected to inhuman brutalities to the extent that the vehicle of the National Women Organiser of the NDC ran into them and inflicted serious injuries to these young people who could have been her children, younger brothers, nieces and nephews. No sympathies and remorse came from the Women Organiser nor the government and the NDC.
Nobody is before the law courts to answer questions about that sadistic incident. I am dealing with occurrences of bye-elections so nobody should quickly draw my attention to the intimidations and acts of murder in the NPP of late. They are unjustifiable. Happily in the case of the NPP issue, the President had given the assurance that he will ensure that justice is done to Adams Mahama. That is good news to hear from the President, and as Nana Akufo Addo said ‘we will hold the President to his words’.
The question is, what is the President doing about other politically motivated criminal acts by NDC activists or hirelings some of which I have enumerated above which led to the deaths or injuries to people in this country? In the 21st Century Ghana, a government presides over what one can conclusively say is state supported, if not sponsored violence against political opponents while the government relishes in the pains and anguish of the victims with glee.
The danger of this nation is that state institutions established to protect all of us, gladly turn blind eye to criminalities by one group towards another if it pleases the government in power. Our Police Service has unduly been cowed into political obeisance to the point that even senior police officers sometimes take unprofessional instructions from ordinary party functionaries.
The most worrying aspect of the era and rein of criminal impunity in all facets of our national life is the threat it poses to the security and cohesion of all of us Ghanaians in the not too distant future. To add to what perceptively is government’s support for the criminal use of deadly arms and ammunitions by hirelings and contracted thugs of the NDC is the comments by the Minister of Interior, Hon. Mark Woyongo that “violence begets violence” when it is his responsibility to nip any form of violence in the bud wherever they may rear their heads!
If the philosophy of the Minister is legitimization of violence, wherever it is coming from, then this nation is not very far from descending into internal strife, the end of which no one can fathom. There is a saying in Akan which virtually translates ‘if you push the coward to the wall, you meet his level of courage’. The fact that other political groupings which have been at the receiving end of the state sponsored intimidations, mayhem and murders have not reacted in similar fashion does not make them cowards. They may be more sensible than the actors of violence and their paymasters.
In these times of economic hardships and the concomitant social burden on parents and the frustrations and sense of hopelessness and helplessness among a very large segment of the youth, the least any sensible public office holder should do is to insult the intelligence and patience of suffering Ghanaians. Officials of this government are being reminded once again that they will account for their stewardship one day, that day will not be a day of reconciliation, it will be a day of retribution.
Three tots of mahogany bitters, Daavi.
Daily Guide (Ghana)