Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence could have been worse – Mahama

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The former president, John Mahama, says the violence witnessed during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on January 31, 2019, could have been worse had God not intervened.

He said with no concern for the lives of innocent Ghanaians, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) unleased thugs on voters who had gone to the La Bawaleshie polling station to perform their civic duties.

At a ceremony to mark the first year of the violence, the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), said “the cowardly act of barbarism perpetrated by government elements against citizens whose only interest was to choose a member of Parliament for themselves, could have been worse.

“It was just the intervention of God. If you looked at the number of bullets that were discharged on that day and to think that not a single person died, it is only God’s intervention that prevented it,” he added.

The by-election which started peacefully turned violent when masked men purportedly from the National Security Council stormed the La Bawalwshie polling centre assaulted and shot at some supporters of the NDC’s parliamentary candidate, Delali Brempong.

Ningo-Prampram MP, Sam George was also assaulted by the same men compelling the NDC to pull out of the elections.

Many others were injured in the violence and following a public outcry, President Akufo-Addo established a committee to investigate the incident.

That committee, led by former Justice Emile Short, following televised interrogation of parties relevant to the incident and made recommendations that have yet to be implemented by government.

Mr Mahama said after that disgraceful chapter in Ghana’s life, there are many questions that remain unanswered.

“Why must any responsible government compromise the security of the Nation by infiltrating the security set up with militia members forming the core of a specialised SWAT unit that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) under whose command they should fall, confessed that he knew nothing about it.”

The former president fears that if the current constitution of National Security is left as it is, Ghanaians will have nowhere to seek refuge when they are attacked.

“Why has the president, who should be defending the law make a mockery of it and thereby set a dangerous precedent by accepting that assault is permitted if one believes they have been provoked,” he queried.

Mr Mahama said had his party not exercised decorum and leadership and put peace and security of the country first by deciding to pull out of the elections, Ghana would have been on her knees.

“Indeed later events would prove that the dastardly act was an orchestrated plan that was intended to be replicated at other voting centres to intimidate and suppress our support base and to prevent them from coming out to vote and indeed we have been exonerated.”

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