NPP warns NDC against violence
In what appears to be a deliberate, albeit regressive political strategy, the opposition National Democratic Congress, led by John Evans Atta Mills has embarked on a campaign of calumny against Ghana's body politic.
From questioning the results of an election for which ballot papers have not even been printed, through allegations of rigging plans by the New Patriotic Party in league with the Electoral Commission, to threats of mayhem if the electorate once again consign it to the electoral wilderness, the NDC appears hell bent on turning Ghana into a land of fear and uncertainty.
Last Friday, the party racked up its intimidation strategy another notch, when NDC officials and members defied a police order on the use of a particular route in order to attack the flagbearer of the NPP.
Indeed, it took the combined effort of a large contingent of police and Nana Akufo-Addo's body guards as well as some NPP supporters to prevent a far uglier scene.
After defying the orders of the law enforcement officers, a group of raging NDC thugs, led by Collins Dauda, the Member of Parliament for Asutifi South, stormed the Chief Imam's building, charging towards Nana Akufo-Addo and his entourage, who were then making their way down the stairs after their meeting with Sheikh Usmanu Nuhu Sharubutu.
According to eye witness reports, the unprovoked incident degenerated into the throwing of stones, water and sticks at the NPP members by the thugs accompanying the NDC leader and flag bearer, Prof Mills.
While the timely action by the security personnel and NPP members prevented the mob from harming Nana Akufo-Addo, other NPP members were not so fortunate.
According to a statement issued by the NPP national campaign team, some were "hit by stones, water bottles, flags and fists. Several members were injured, amongst them women, who were later rushed to the Police Hospital for emergency treatment."
A vehicle belonging to Kofi Konadu Apraku, MP for Offinso South and Campaign Director for the Akufo-Addo For President '08 team, was damaged in the melee. In fact, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the MP for Akyem Oda, was among the NPP leaders, who saw their colleague on the other side, Alhaji Dauda, causing damage to Dr Apraku's vehicle. Television cameras picked up not only the damaged vehicle, but an enraged Alhaji Dauda, charging at the NPP.
Citing this incident as the latest in the NDC's quest to gain political office by any means necessary, the ruling party, in a release issued on Saturday and signed by Kobina Arthur Kennedy, Chairman of the Communications Committee of the Akufo-Addo For President '08 team, noted, "This incident is not an isolated one. Right from the beginning of this election year, the NDC has embarked on a campaign, desecrating this country's electoral system, intimidating other parties, infusing fear into the hearts of the electorate and sowing doubt in the minds of the general public in relation to the 2008 elections."
"Their goal," the statement continues, "though futile as we see it, is to scare Ghanaians into voting for them or failing that to discredit the elections when they lose. To this end no less a person than the NDC Presidential Candidate has begun to question the legitimacy of this year's elections even before the ballot papers have been printed, and threatened violence if his party loses the December 2008 polls."
He pledged the NPP's commitment o ensuring the sustenance of Ghana's democracy, "While we are forever committed to peace, we are equally prepared and willing to stand by the good people of Ghana to protect and defend the Constitution of this land. This is the NDC's moment of truth. Let wiser counsel prevail in the councils of the NDC so that together, we shall preserve the peace… Let the NDC not attempt to take this country over the precipice because Ghanaians deserve better. Let every Ghanaian insist on the politics of ideas not insults; of discourse not discontent."
Meanwhile, the NDC has denied its members or supporters inflicting any violence on NPP supporters.