Short Commission Will Not Disappoint
I personally believe that the huffing and puffing of the operatives of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and all, the inquiry into the recent disturbances during the Ayawaso-West Wuogon byelection is highly unlikely to take any much longer than the month-long period given the Short Commission to come up with its findings and recommendations (See “Bawumia Urges Commission Probing Ayawaso Violence to Be Impartial” Modernghana.com 2/9/19). For starters, this is not the first time that a byelection has taken a turn for the worse in Fourth-Republican Ghana. What is therefore significant to underscore here is that there are several incidents of byelection violence for the astute and erudite members of the Short Commission to draw lessons from, in particular vis-à-vis the causes of such violent incidents.
What is new here, as I vividly recall, is the fact that no commissions of inquiry of the blue-ribbon caliber of the membership of the Short Commission, if any at all, had been established in the past to deal with such matters verging on the integrity and/or wholesomeness of Fourth Republican Ghanaian democracy and political culture in general. For example, I don’t ever recall any commissions of inquiry being set up by the Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress to enquire into the violent and bloody clashes and other forms of hostilities during the Talensi byelection, in the Upper-East Region, in 2015 or thereabouts. In the latter instance, the extant Interior Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo – he would also serve as a regional minister and substantive Defense Minister – had literally shrugged his shoulders and nonchalantly remarked that “violence begets violence,” by which Mr. Woyongo clearly meant that only the then-ruling National Democratic Congress reserved the inalienable right to have trucked in the infamous Azorka Boys from Tamale to do the dirty political arm-twisting work of the operatives of the ruling party.
In other words, the “Kabonga”-packed then-opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) had absolutely no right, whatsoever, to bus in their Kumasi-based Invincible Forces. It was the party in power, Mr. Woyongo clearly seemed to imply, that had the exclusive right to determine the contours of what “justice” meant. Opposition parties were eternal losers that did not deserve the sympathy, support or any hearing from the extant powers. This is the roadmap or legacy bequeathed the country by the Mahama government. Clearly, the Short Commission is widely expected to come up with very different findings. But what I am most interested in here is that the Short Commission is conferred with legally enforceable subpoena powers. As well, that the findings of the Commission, where any forms of criminal culpability are established, could be promptly and rigorously enforced if a definitive halt is to be put to these evidently routine outbreaks of violence at each and every byelection conducted in the country.
At Talensi, the MP whose voluntary vacation of his elective position had occasioned the byelection was a bona fide operative of the then main opposition New Patriotic Party. And yet, the operatives of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress had given the jarringly erroneous impression that Talensi was the uncontestable turf or preserve of the National Democratic Congress, and thus a “No-Go Area” for the operatives of the Kabonga-dominated New Patriotic Party. The Mahama Posse would literally get away with murder. And at Atiwa, in Nana Akufo-Addo’s electoral stronghold of Akyem-Kwabeng, NADMO’s Anita D’Souza would unconscionably attempt to mow down a group of NPP supporters and sympathizers in false hopes of forcing these democracy-loving citizens to stay away from polling stations. Ms. D’Souza would only succeed in injuring quite a remarkable number of her targets of mayhem. But, predictably, the NDC would be massively trounced in the polls.
From the casual look of things at the Ayawaso-West Wuogon byelection of January 31st 2019, there will definitely be enough blame to go around, as it were, if also because many of the key operatives of the ruling New Patriotic Party have quite a lot to learn about how to decisively defeat one’s political opponent at the polling station without the massive application of raw and brute force, in the “Boot-for-Boot” manner that has been inculcated into the brash and brutal National Democratic Congress’ foot-soldiers, so-called. And hopefully, by the time that the Short Commission’s report becomes public, the security apparatus of the New Patriotic Party would have been deftly and strategically finetuned and inimitably sublimated for purposes of tenaciously grabbing and thoroughly uprooting the democratically destructive horns of the umbrella-wielding bull, without leaving any traceable blood stains in the process.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
February 9, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
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