Senior Research Officer at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) Dr. Asante Pumpuni has slammed former President John Mahama for his outburst in the aftermath of the violence-ridden Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
According to him, the comments from the former President were incomprehensible.
“Knowing John Mahama all these years, I am just shocked to have heard him speak the way he did,” Dr. Pumpuni stated on Morning Starr Monday.
“We are not going to build the nation if we continue to entertain the vigilante groups,” said Dr. Pumpuni adding: “The last thing John Mahama should be doing is to be doubling down.”
Six people were shot at the Baweleshie polling center of the constituency during the election held on Thursday, compelling the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to withdraw from the exercise citing safety concerns.
The police said no deaths were recorded as it opened up investigations into the incident.
Voters were electing a new Member of Parliament (MP) for the area in the by-election necessitated by the demise of the incumbent Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko last year, representing the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The two main contenders for the seat were Lydia Seyram Alhassan, a spouse of the late MP on the ticket of the NPP and Delali Kwasi Brempong on the ticket of opposition NDC. Alhassan won the polls with over 60% of the total valid votes cast.
What did Mahama say?
Former President Mahama in an explosive reaction which many including the National Peace Council viewed as irresponsible warned the governing NPP that the NDC would match it boot-for-boot in the 2020 election if it decides to be violent.
According to him, the NDC could be more violent owing to its revolutionary root.
The NDC formed ahead of the 1992 elections after Ghana returned to constitutional rule was an offshoot of the Provisional National Defence Council which ruled Ghana following the military coup de tat of December 31, 1981.
“I want to sound a caution that NDC has a revolutionary root and when it comes to unleashing violence no one can beat us to that. It is just that we midwife this country’s democracy and that is why we must be the first to respect it.
“That is why we are acting as a party that is docile and respecting the rule of law. But if we believe that the government cannot protect our people and we believe that the government is using its vigilante groups and illegal forces to intimidate and harass and injure our people, then we may have to advise ourselves,” Mahama said in response to the violence that ensnared the by-election.
The National Peace Council has since called on him to tone down. “ I urge him (Mahama) to tone down. I believe he may have spoken on the heat of what happened yesterday so I appeal to him to calm down. Leadership should be circumspect under such circumstances to weigh every word they utter so they do not create tension in this country,” the chairman of the council Professor Emmanuel Asante urged.
Violence attack on democracy
The United Nations Development Program condemned the violence urging Ghanaians in a statement not to be complacent about the peace being enjoyed in the country.
Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church Professor Emmanuel Martey criticized the violence as an attack of Ghana’s democracy.
According to the cleric, who was an ardent critic of the erstwhile Mahama administration, the unleashing of masked men to police the by-election by the national security made a mockery of Ghana’s democracy.
“Enough is enough! We are not in a jungle state. I join many Ghanaians in totally condemning this barbaric act of violence which has dented our democratic credentials as a Nation,” Professor Martey said in a statement.
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) warned that the violence that engulfed the by-elections is dangerous signs ahead of the 2020 general elections.