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07.03.2009 Politics

Government would not shield weapon wielders in Northern Region - Mahama


Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Saturday warned that the government would not shield any one irrespective of political, ethnic or any form of affiliation, found either wielding or keeping weapons in the region.

He said the north had gained notoriety of pulling the trigger at the least provocation and attributed the problem to the culture of impunity, which must not be emulated by any one, “because negative attributes are not copied”.

Vice President Mahama gave the warning in Tamale when he addressed National Democratic Congress (NDC) youth who thronged the Northern Regional Residency to welcome him and to discuss with him matters of regional concern so that he would help to solve them.

He directed the security apparatus in the Region to carry out their duties professionally without fear but advised them not shield anyone who breached the peace “because he belongs to party A or party B”.

The meeting was also meant to assure the youth that government was still putting its house in order and to let them know that their efforts in helping to win power in 2008 would not be fruitless.

The Vice President said: “You are not supposed to have a weapon. That is the law. If you are caught keeping weapons, it would not matter whether you are NDC or NPP you would be prosecuted.”

He said: “If we complain of people, who fired gun shots and got away without arrests in the past, you should not fire shots and expect to get away with it because the rule of law is now going to work.”

He said “the NDC campaigned on a message of 'change' and that the 'change' would not come by itself unless we stopped conflicts and contributed our quota towards that 'change'.

“Ghanaians are watching us and after we failed to perform to the aspiration of the people we would have ourselves to blame in four years' time,” he emphasised.

Vice President Mahama said Tamale was the hub of the three Northern Regions, which called for the need for lasting peace to prevail so that investors would come in to accelerate the rate of development.

“I would want that the next time I am here we should be discussing development projects and counting on our successes instead of talking about conflicts that are drawing the Northern clock of development backwards.”

He used the occasion to appeal to Ghanaians to remain patient and wait for the government to settle before embarking on a nationwide thank you tour and gave the assurance that no one's labour would be in vain since the NDC's 'Better Ghana campaign promise' would be fulfilled.

Some of the youth expressed concern about persons who wielded weapons in the past and shot in open without any arrest or prosecution and called for punitive measures to be put in place to ensure that the culture of impunity stopped.

Vice President Mahama was accompanied by Mr Cletus Avoca, The Interior Minister and Mahama Ayariga, Press Secretary to the President. They had earlier visited Bawku, another conflict area in the Upper East Region, where he met with the two feuding factions.