The Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., says politics and violence cannot be bedfellows and that anyone or group that introduces violence into our politics is a criminal and a nation wrecker that must not be allowed to succeed.
According to Pratt, history is replete with lessons that violence is a useless enterprise that does not pay and should therefore never be a tool for anyone, not least anyone seeking power to lead the people.
Speaking at a forum organised by the National Democratic Congress to mark the 3rd anniversary of the violence that attended the Ayawaso West Wuogon bye-election of 31st January, 2019, Pratt said events of that day are of such importance to the nation’s future and cohesion as to warrant the attention of every Ghanaian who wishes Ghana well.
“The matters we are discussing here are so crucial to our survival as a people … and should concern you whether you are NDC, CPP, NPP… These matters matter. This is our matter because those who introduce violence into our elections subvert democracy; those who introduce violence into the politics, they rig elections; introducing violence into elections is like rigging elections, because you introduce violence into elections in order to intimidate people to run away, not to take part in the elections; you introduce violence into our elections for you to do the things that are against the law; you introduce violence into the elections because you are afraid of the true mandate of the people.
“So, those who introduce violence into our politics, into our elections are criminals; those who introduce violence into our politics, into our elections and so on, subvert the will of the people; those who introduce violence into our politics are determined to wreck this nation and they must never be allowed to succeed,” Pratt emphasised.
He said many of those who suffered brutalities during the Ayawaso West Wuogon violent attacks on voters still bear the scars of the dastardly acts.
“Today, on this grounds to my left are victims of what happened at Ayawaso Wuogon. Some of them three years later cannot walk; some of them are incapable of working to earn a decent living; some of them their dependants are suffering; some of them their dependants are not able to go to school; some of them are struggling to feed themselves and their dependants; some of them are in constant pain, they have been in pain for three long years. If you are a Ghanaian and you don’t rise up and speak about the pain of these victims, I don’t know what kind of Ghanaian you are. If you are a Ghanaian and for the sake of partisan politics, you don’t stand up to fight for these victims, then something is wrong,” he said.
Kwesi Pratt said all Ghanaians, irrespective of political or religious orientation, have a responsibility to stand up and fight for the victims as well as help build that Ghanaian society where the events of Ayawaso West Wuogon would “never, never happen again.”
He maintained that while violence does not pay, it can lead to greater catastrophe.
Kwesi Pratt said democracy can only be sustained if it leads to addressing the security problems of the people, creates jobs, puts food on the table and so on, not the sanctions that ECOWAS is quick to prescribe, and pointed to the number of coups in the ECOWAS sub-region and the lesson it must serve all leaders, saying sanctions cannot stop coups anywhere in the world.
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“And it is important for our leaders in Ghana, it is important for leaders in West Africa, it is important for leaders all over the world to realise that the only way to sustain democratic practice is to make sure that everybody can eat, to make sure that everybody can drink good quality water, to make sure that everybody’s child can go to school, to make sure that everybody can be free from armed robbery. That is the only way of ensuring the survival of our democratic experiment. Organising people to go and shoot at Ayawaso West Wuogon will not guarantee democracy. If our people come to realise that the only way of winning an election is to win the gun battle, how can you sustain democracy? Whilst civilian administrations use the gun to stay in power, their opponents may also be tempted to use other means to remove them from power. Those who seek equity ought to come with clean hands, and I’m not seeing those clean hands in this country. Why, isn’t it strange that three years after these dastardly actions, compensation has not been paid to these poor victims, is it not strange? We can afford to hire aeroplanes to put supporters in to go and support Black Stars, that’s our priority, that is our priority. When the president is going to New York to give his annual address, we can mobilise people, buy tickets for them to go there to do what? And yet victims of senseless and callous violence cannot be paid compensation, where is our priority?”