The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on Thursday warned that the violence that characterised the Ayawaso-West-Wuogon by-elections are dangerous signs ahead of the 2020 general elections.
Voicing its displeasure on the development in a statement, the NCCE further warned: “it will be extremely difficult for us as a nation to quench a fire of national violent unrest once it gets started.”
“The time to act is now,” it stated.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) withdrew from the by-election following the violence.
Six people were shot at the Baweleshie polling centre of the constituency with no deaths recorded.
The Inspector General of Police David Asante-Apeatu has ordered investigations into the shooting and chaos that occurred during the by-elections as the governing NPP and the opposition NDC point accusing fingers to each other.
The NCCE has consistently campaigned against the operations of political party thugs in the country, warning unequivocally that the danger they pose to “our democracy cannot be overemphasized.”
Regrettably, the NCCE said it has observed the growing trend of acts of violence that are becoming a brand of “our by-elections and calls for immediate action to nib the menace in the bud.”
Below is the full statement
GHANA’S DEMOCRACY UNDER THREAT WITH THE EXISTENCE OF POLITICAL PARTY THUGS
The National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, condemns in no uncertain terms reports of violent attacks and shootings at the bye-elections at the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in Accra. The Commission is appalled by the development at the Ayawaso West Wuogon bye-election and cautions the NDC and NPP to respect the voting rights of citizens.
The NCCE has consistently campaigned against the operations of political party thugs in Ghana. The Commission’s earlier pronouncements on the dangers these illegal entities pose to our democracy cannot be overemphasized. Regrettably, the NCCE has observed the growing trend of acts of violence that are becoming a brand of our bye-elections and calls for immediate action to nib the menace in the bud.
It is unfortunate that political parties especially the NPP and the NDC have continually disowned existing political thugs but these groups continue to provide them services that hitherto, ought to be provided by the traditional security institutions. The NCCE vehemently voices out its displeasure and wishes to state that whether these groups owe allegiance to the NPP or the NDC. Political party vigilantes must not be allowed any space to operate in our democracy.
The Commission reiterates and reminds political parties and political actors that party thugs pose a serious threat to our democracy and the earlier we nib the operations of these groups in the bud, the better for us as a country. As a country we must be worried that these developments are dangerous signs ahead of 2020 general elections.
The NPP and NDC cannot hold this country to a ransom intimidating voters and citizens with their political party hoodlums during election seasons for their parochial interest. We call for calm among voters and citizens at large and urge the security agencies to perform their duties in maintaining law and order without any fear or favour.
The NCCE calls on the Inspector General of Police and the National Security to fully investigate the violence that happened at the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency and the perpetrators made to face the full rigours of the law
It will be extremely difficult for us as a nation to quench a fire of a national violent unrest once it gets started. The time to act is now. We invite all Ghanaians to join the campaign to stop political party vigilantism and the use of thugs in the democratic space of Ghana.