The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has condemned the violent attacks and shooting in the by-election at the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in Accra.
The Commission said it was appalled by the development and cautioned the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to respect the voting rights of citizens.
A statement signed by the Deputy Chairman, in-charge of Operations of the NCCE, Samuel Asare Akuamoah, said the Commission had consistently campaigned against the operations of political party thugs in Ghana.
“The Commission’s earlier pronouncements on the dangers these illegal entities pose to our democracy cannot be overemphasised,” it said.
“Regrettably the NCCE has observed the growing trend of acts of violence that are becoming a brand of our by-elections and calls for immediate action to nib the menace in the bud.”
The statement said it was unfortunate that political parties, especially the NPP and the NDC, had continually disowned existing political thugs but those groups continued to provide them services that hitherto, ought to be provided by the traditional security institutions.
“The NCCE vehemently voices out its displeasure and wishes to state that whether these groups owe allegiance to the NPP or the NDC, political party vigilantes must not be allowed any space to operate in our democracy,” it said.
The statement reiterated and reminded political parties and political actors that party thugs posed a serious threat to the country’s democracy and the earlier it was nibbed in the bud, the better.
“As a country we must be worried that these developments are dangerous signs ahead of 2020 general elections. The NPP and NDC cannot hold this country to ransom, intimidating voters and citizens with their political party hoodlums during election seasons for their parochial interest.”
“We call for calm among voters and citizens at large and urge the security agencies to perform their duties in maintaining law and order without any fear or favour,” it said.
The statement called on the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) David Asante Appeatu, and the National Security, to fully investigate the violence that happened at the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency and the perpetrators made to face the full rigours of the law.
“It will be extremely difficult for us as a nation to quench a fire of a national violent unrest once it gets started. The time to act is now. We invite all Ghanaians to join the campaign to stop political party vigilantism and the use of thugs in the democratic space of Ghana,” the statement said.
In a separate development, The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers, (CODEO) is unhappy about the intimidating presence of the security personnel, especially masked security persons, at the various polling stations during the Ayawaso by-election.
In a statement, CODEO said its observers visited more than half of the polling stations in all the electoral areas across the constituency.
Attached is the full statement from CODEO:
Close of Polls Statement for Ayawaso West Wuogon_PRESS RELEASE