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Opinion | Feb 6, 2019

Political Thuggery: A Monster Created By Politician's Or Electorates?

By Simon Aikins
Political Thuggery: A Monster Created By Politician's Or Electorates?

They saying coming events cast their shadows before. Sometimes, we intentionally turn a blind eye to the fact that our actions and inactions will cause our downfall. This we pay dearly for and throw our hands in despair and start pointing accusing fingers after we have been burnt.

COP Nathan Kofi Boakye of the Ghana Police Service spoke passionately about political vigilantism in Ghana and the fact that, perpetrators are spurred on and financed by politicians. He further espoused its effects if not nipped in the bud.

According to him, political vigilantism is a threat to the democracy of Ghana and the rate at which it is escalating is alarming. He did not mince words when he revealed that political thugs are released by their financiers who are also politicians after they have been arrested.

As a citizen, I developed cold feet when he mentioned that, if the police service and civil society do not sit up, the 2020 elections will be explosive due to the increasing presence of political thugs.

Until the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election held last week, some people thought the officer was exaggerating. COP Nathan Kofi Boakye sounded the alarm bells but as usual, the people of Ghana and the powers that be allowed the country to be caught pants down without any form of watertight preparations to combat the miscreants who waged unwarranted attacks on people purported to be "misbehaving".

The Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election was riddled with pockets of violence by masked armed men who we are told are national security operatives were unleashed to restore sanity at the Bawalashie polling station which ended up being chaotic. A video bandied around social media has a member of parliament, Honourable Sam George who was slapped by a thug without respect for the office of parliament.

The aftermath of the Ayawaso Wuogon debacle bewildered me due to the responses from the Director of Operations of the Ghana Police. He unequivocally stated that the masked armed men were alien to the police.

Another comment that got me sprawling on the floor was former President John Mahama's unfortunate comments. According to him, the NDC has a revolutionary history and that the party is prepared to meet the NPP boot for boot. His comments are off-putting and must be treated with contempt. As a statesman, I expected him to soothe the pains of the affected but he decided to drug his image and that of the NDC to the piggery. I do not fault him. In such moments and as a leader, his followers expect him to say something that is music to their eyes and he did not disappoint. The question is, Is this what we really want as a country? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Christian Council's demeanour in this unfortunate incident leaves much to be desired. They kept mute over the attacks and only found their voice after the former President's distasteful comments. They chidding the former President gives room for suspicion. Instead of dealing with the cause, they decided to deal with the symptoms which does not sit well with me because until the root cause is exterminated, treating the symptoms will be akin to putting a plaster on the belly of someone suffering from diarrhoea.

The level of impunity in the country is repulsive to say the least. People have the effontery to brutely attack others and you have level headed people defend just because they belong to the party they support. Did I just say level headed?

Ghana prides herself as a peaceful country but recent events show that the country is yet to get there. The vicious cycle of political parties victimizing their opponents when in power must grind to a halt. The politics of equalization is derailing our progress and we sadly cannot see because some people have refused to speak truth to power and others also see everything via a political lense.

I blame the citizens for sitting aloof as politicians take them for a ride. They are not angry enough. Politicians form these vigilante groups to terrorize them but the same people will wake very early to queue and vote for them again. Citizens have the powers to turn things around by calling out politicians who misconduct themselves and also show them the exit during elections but same citizens who are expected to know better, lap freebies from the palms of politicians. As a result of this, their judgement is clouded by what they get, hence; they cannot take bold decisions for themselves.

When vigilante groups sprang up from the camps of both the NDC and NPP, there were calls to disband them but all calls fell on death ears and the country is paying dearly for it. They have now become an albatross around the neck of the nation. This is the time to take stock of their nefarious activities and whole heartedly do away with them before the 2020 general elections, else the country risks becoming a failed state.

Ghana does not belong to politicians and their vigilante groups. It is time to tell them some hometruths, for the future of the nation looks gloomy with the current crop of politicians who have nothing to offer than to greedily enjoy alone the national cake at the expense of the taxpayer.

If the President is truly a peaceful President and a proponent of rule of law, he must as a matter of urgency, empower state institutions responsible for dealing with issues of this nature to deal ruthlessly with all who meted out such barbaric treatment to unarmed people even if it will affect members of his party.

Never again should these dastardly acts be repeated again in Ghana. The image of Ghana has been battered severely and it will take a midas touch to clear the blot on the image of Ghana.


By: Simon Aikins

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