Following the decision by the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to release a White Paper on the Short Commission’s Report, the dynastic General-Secretary of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, also called a press conference only to inform the general Ghanaian public that his party had decided to forward both the Short Commission Report and the government’s interpretation and conclusions on the same to the NDC’s legal mavens for study and will release the party’s response at a time of its own choosing (See “NDC to Fight NPP Over Ayawaso White Paper” Modernghana.com 9/22/19).
What is significant to note here is that the remit of the Commission that was chaired by Justice Emile Short, was charged by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with the duty of collecting and studying a comprehensive data on the January 31, 2019 disturbances and the widely alleged scattered pockets of violence that reportedly marred the Ayawaso-West Wuogon Constituency byelection that had been occasioned by the passing of the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for the aforesaid constituency, Mr. Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko. Nana Akufo-Addo further charged the members of the Short Commission to investigate all other election-related incidents of violence that had occurred in the country over which no government enquiries were instituted or conducted since 1992 or the inception of Ghana’s Fourth Republic.
On the latter count must be emphatically observed that at least five incidents of election-related violence occurred under the four-and-half-year tenure of former President John Dramani Mahama, not a single one of which was officially investigated by the previous regime. For instance, there were the violence-inflected byelections of Talensi, in the Upper-East Region, Atiwa-Atweredu and Akyem-Akwatia, in the Eastern Region, and Wassa-Amenfi in the Western Region. I forget the last one. It is significant to note here that none of the preceding incidents of byelection-related violence were officially investigated by the Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress. In sum, the Short Commission was the first time in recent memory that any byelection-related violence had been officially investigated by any sitting government, let alone have the issuance of any White Paper to accompany the release of the same.
Now, clearly what the foregoing analysis means is that as a government, the leaders of the presently main opposition National Democratic Congress have absolutely no clue vis-à-vis the handling of our national security affairs. All they had done in the past was either to instigate or foment militia- and vigilante-orchestrated violence against supporters of their main political opponents, namely, the New Patriotic Party, by the coldly calculated use of raw intimidation and mayhem – that is, causing NDC-sponsored teams of hired and salaried thugs such as the Tamale-headquartered all-purpose Azorka Boys and the Kumasi-based Hawks, among a platoon of other vigilante and militia groups. At Talensi, for example, all that the extant Mahama-appointed Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mark Woyongo, did was to callously justify the hooliganism of the Azorka Boys and their allies on the forensically unproven grounds that the latter vigilante thugs had been provoked into unleashing brutal torrents of violent attacks on their main political opponents among the ranks of the then-opposition New Patriotic Party.
The fact of the matter is that the Mahama regime’s operatives deliberately and characteristically failed to provide any security protection for voters and supporters of the country’s two major political parties, because they had apparently hired the Azorka Boys to ensure that at all costs victory was delivered to the ruling party. Which was precisely what happened in most of the instances of the Mahama-presided byelections. It well appears that the Asiedu-Nketia Gang is miffed or upset because of the government’s decision to either dispute or reject, by some “expert” counts, approximately 60-percent of the recommendations allegedly contained in the Short Commission Report. Maybe somebody more politically and legally savvy ought to educate the leaders of the main opposition National Democratic Congress, who never commissioned any panel of investigators to enquire into any byelection-related violence in the country, by the way, that statutorily speaking, the government is not obligated to accepting each and every recommendation proposed by the Short Commission, except those with which Jubilee House is in full agreement with or has every good to believe would redound to the benefit of future or prospective Ghanaian voters.
In other words, rather than vacuously and hypocritically damn Nana Akufo-Addo for wisely and foresightedly establishing a commission of enquiry into the Ayawaso-West Wuogon byelection-related violence of last January, which the Asiedu-Nketia Gang flatly rejected ab initio, or from the get-go, by the way, what the clearly irresponsible, unconscionable and the pathologically cynical leaders of the National Democratic Congress rather ought to be doing is to be thanking Divine Providence or their stars, whichever happens to be the case, for having the right kind of leadership at the helm of the country’s affairs.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
September 22, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]