The New Patriotic Party (NPP), has called on the security agencies to act “more forcefully” to prevent outbreak of violence at political events in the run-up to the December general election.
At a news conference at the party's headquarters in Accra yesterday, Jake Okanta Obetsebi-Lamptey, campaign manager of the NPP, condemned the political violence that erupted at Agbogbloshie (Old Fadama) in Accra on Wednesday when the party's flag-bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, campaigned in the area.
Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey said, “There was a clash between NPP supporters who were there for a scheduled event and NDC members who had no business in the area at the time.
“What were the NDC members doing there when they did not have any scheduled programme there at the time?” he asked, adding, “It is clear that the NDC members were there with the sole aim of disrupting the NPP event.”
He said Nana Akufo-Addo had on several occasions demonstrated his commitment towards ensuring a peaceful election and his directive on Wednesday October 16, that all NPP supporters should vacate the premises of the Electoral Commission before the arrival of the NDC flag-bearer to file his nomination was a testimony of his commitment.
“That action by our candidate was a hallmark of leadership, and we expect all political leaders to act in a similar manner to minimise the political tension.
Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey said what happened at Agbogboshie was not an isolated incident, but rather a “grand scheme hatched at the beginning of the year by the NDC leadership to disrupt this year's election.”
He said: “They began by repeatedly invoking Kenya and Zimbabwe and stating fervently and longingly, that we are heading for a repeat of the experiences of those countries” adding “they have repeatedly accused the EC of being in cahoots with the NPP to rig the election without a shred of evidence.”
Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey alleged that the NDC sent a delegation to Kenya to learn what he called “the art of how to force power-sharing after an election.”
He said that on the diplomatic front, the NDC had “recklessly spread the false news that this election is too close to call, and that if the NPP wins, there will be violence.”
Mr. Obestebi-Lamptey said it was the NPP's position that anybody involved in political violence should be arrested and dealt with according to the laws of the land.
He said “The tendency to blame both the NPP and the NDC when one of them is clearly at fault encourages extremism on both sides,” adding, “we must call things by their proper names.”
Mr. Peter Mac Manu, NPP National Chairman, who supported Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, said it had always been the wish of the NPP to dialogue with the security agencies to formulate an action plan for peace but their opponents had not been able to join them in this quest.
“Signs of violence threaten our democracy and we must come together to flush out those who are formenting the violence” he said.
But in a sharp rebuttal, Mr. Seth Ofori, NDC's Deputy Director of Communications, told the Times in a telephone interview that the NPP's position on the Agbogboshie violence was completely false.
We did not organise any counter political event in the area at that particular time, but I can confirm that our supporters got attacked first.”
He said “the NPP supporters were around doing their kangaroo dance and our supporters who are traders in the area gestured yeresesamu,” and in the ensuring confusion they attacked us.
“We do not want to do anything to undermine the electoral process.
It is rather the NPP who are conducting violence and turn around to blame us he stated.