A GANG of blood-thirsty thugs, armed with machetes, sticks, broken bottles and stones, yesterday evening attacked the official convoy of Nana Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), after he had addressed a rally at the Agbogbloshie Market in Accra.
The gangsters, mostly in their youth and strongly believed to be members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in an attempt to ambush Nana Addo, used rocks and sticks that had been pierced with nails to block the street in front of the Kokomba Market and in a bid to show how violent they could be, set ablaze a number of market stalls and wooden structures at the location.
The convoy, unaware of the trap, initially slowed down on seeing the illegal blockade but sped off when the attackers started pelting the vehicles with stones, sticks and bottles.
NPP National Organizer, Lord Commey, whose vehicle was in the lead and one vehicle away from Nana Addo's, escaped lynching by the whiskers, as he had stepped out of his car when the attack started.
A manly free-for-all fisticuffs instantly ensued between NPP members who were following their flagbearer on foot and the attackers, as the atmosphere got engulfed in a thick black smoke from the burning structures.
Police personnel present at the scene managed to arrest some of the attackers and provided protection for the NPP convoy to escape with arch-riders and blaring sirens.
Earlier in the day, two perceived members of the NDC had been arrested at the same spot and sent to the James Town Police Station for assaulting a group of NPP supporters who were moving to the rally grounds to wait for their party's flagbearer.
A number of NPP supporters who were assaulted sustained injuries.
The evening attack was believed to have been propelled by the arrest of the two NDC members.
The attack happened less than five minutes after Nana Addo, in an address at the rally, had called for unity and peace in the pre-election period, on election day, and during the post-election period.
The NPP flagbearer was on a campaign tour of the Ododiodoo and Korley-Klotey constituencies and had been calling for a peaceful election all through the day.
He was moving from the Agbogbloshie Market to cut the sod to inaugurate a new NPP office in the area when his convoy was attacked.
The inauguration was therefore hastily done to prevent the violence from further spreading.
Addressing artisans and traders at the Arts Center in Accra, Nana Addo said it was unfair for any political party to cast insinuations that Ghana would burn during the forthcoming elections.
He said it was only when a political party did not have a message that it resorts to insults, personal attacks and threats of violence.
“I want to emphasise the need for peace and unity in this election period. Ghana should not and would not burn; I am committed to that and the NPP is committed to that promise. Politics is about development and not tribalism or insults; we need to talk about which party and which leader can best develop this country without thinking about which part of Ghana the person comes from.
“Inciting one tribe against another political party or one ethnic group against another is not acceptable,” Nana Addo indicated.
The NPP flagbearer remarked that he was not in politics to enrich himself and that unlike other politicians, he was not buying beans and 'gari' on credit before he entered politics.
“I am in politics to use the little wisdom, knowledge and energy God has given me to serve and develop my country,” he stated.
The campaign tour took the NPP flagbearer through the Danquah Circle, the Osu Oxford Street, Osu Township, Ohene Djan Stadium and the Ministries area.
He as well toured the Makola Market, Okaishie, Kantamanto, Timber Market, Adabraka and Odawna, and ended with a night rally at the Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra.
He was received with enthusiasm and high morale by a thick crowd throughout the tour.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo