From Michael Boateng, Sunyani
The Sunyani Township was relatively quiet in the morning of Thursday, August 29, 2013, without the usual thick human and vehicular traffic, as the people anxiously waited for the verdict of the Supreme Court on the 2012 election petition.
Business was very slow as most of the shops at the Central Business District were closed. Those who opened theirs shops stayed glued to their Television and Radio sets waiting for the nine justices of the Supreme Court to sit and pronounce judgment.
Commuters had it difficult reaching their respective work places because most commercial drivers failed to work and had their vehicles parked. The few drivers who were seen working complained of scarcity of passengers.
The Sunyani Central market had most of its traders absent, whilst those who were present complained of low patronage. The visibility of the police and the military was clear in the town to ensure that nothing untoward happens before and after the pronouncement of the judgment.
Offices of the two leading political parties – NDC and NPP – were heavily policed by the security personnel. All drinking bars and spots were closed, whilst a warning was issued to restaurants within the township not to sell alcoholic beverages to any person.
ASP Christopher Tawiah, Public Relations Officer of the Brong-Ahafo Regional Police command confirmed that the drinking bars and spots were banned from operating as a measure to maintain peace and order before, during and after the pronouncement of the verdict.
However, after the verdict members and supporters of the NDC gathered in front of the party's regional office in their numbers, with a sound system blurring music, to jubilate over the victory.
Reports from Sankore in the Asunafo South District also saw wild jubilation among members and supporters of the NDC, amidst acrobatic display of motorbikes and cars along the streets of the town.
Mr. Opoku Atuahene, Brong-Ahafo Regional chairman of the NDC told news men that the victory was not only for the NDC, but for the entire nation, warning that the jubilation should be in moderation, in order not to create violence.
According to him, the party cannot strictly ban its members from jubilating, but could advise them to jubilate in moderation, insisting that the celebration of the victory would travel deep into the night.
But generally, the atmosphere was calm with human and vehicular traffic low, even after the verdict.
In a related issue, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Mr. Yaw Asamoah Mensah has appealed to radio stations in the region to stop inviting communication team members of the political parties for discussion on their airwaves for at least a week after the judgment.
Mr. Asamoah Mensah indicated that aftermath of the verdict if not manage properly could lead to something bad, because the probability of inflaming passions during discussions on the verdict could not be overruled.
He spoke in an interview with The Chronicle immediately after the verdict, saying 'though the verdict is out, we still have a responsibility as media practitioners to safeguard the peace and unity of the country by not allowing people to use our platforms to create violence.'