Editors Note: The author of this piece is a member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy in his article is warning Ghanaians to be rise up against violence and violent groups.
“We must rise up, together to check the rising vigilantism and violence in our politics on all sides. We are getting to a point where violence is becoming routine, not just between parties but within parties.”
Read his full statement below:There was a raid on the NPP HQ by armed men who are yet to be identified. Initial reports had blamed national security agencies, including the army for the raid.Since then, some factions in the NPP itself have been blamed by the party and some media outlets. In response, some have urged security forces to kill invaders.During the NDC primaries, security forces showed up in certain places under questionable circumstances. Sometimes, they were summoned without the knowledge of the police. Events during the recent by-election in the north had led a Minister of state to assert that “violence begets violence”.We are a nation of laws – at least we are supposed to be. We must rise up, together to check the rising vigilantism and violence in our politics on all sides. We are getting to a point where violence is becoming routine, not just between parties but within parties.We must ask ourselves some hard questions. 1: Under what circumstances can armed private security guards be used and by whom? 2: What is the role of national security agencies like the police? When they act, are they acting as partisan agents of the ruling party or as a professional, impartial force?For instance, when the police attacked the LMVC demonstrators, were they professional or partisan? The presence of armed private security forces set up by parties or individuals is a signal moment on the road to civil war and violence. We must pull back before it is too late.If we do not, in the words of Rawlings, sooner or later, there will be “democratisation of violence”. From the days of “mate meho” to kume Preko and the recent deaths in NPP, too much blood has been spilled needlessly in the name of politics.Let us stand for peace and non-violence, together. We must accept that politics is about the force of argument– not the argument of force. We need a professional, impartial security apparatus and we need to see one another, within or between parties, not as enemies but opponents.Dr Arthur Kennedy