I have already written about the watershed significance of the Emile Short Commission, which has been charged with investigating the January 31, 2019 Ayawaso-West Wuogon violence-inflected byelection, but still feel the need to follow my previous column up with the present one, following the public observation by the Secretary to the Short Commission, Prof. Ernest Kofi Abotsi, that the Commission is open to receiving all forms of memoranda and testimonies pertaining to all kinds of election-related violence that have occurred in the country since the commencement of Ghana’s Fourth-Republican dispensation (See “Emile Short Commission Invites Memoranda to Aid Investigation” Modernghana.com 2/20/19).
What the preceding means is that the members of the Short Commission envisage their mandate to be one that is transcendent of their primary terms of reference, which is to investigate the causes of the violent clashes that reportedly rocked the Ayawaso-West Wuogon Constituency Byelection on Thursday, January 31, 2019. But, of course, we all know that the Ayawaso-West Wuogon election-related violence is not an isolated incident. There have occurred other similar incidents of violence earlier on in other parts of the country, such as Wassa-Amenfi, in the Western Region; Talensi, in the Upper-East Region; Chereponi, in the Northern Region; and Akwatia and Atiwa, both of which are in the Eastern Region. There may also be several others that might have escaped my attention as of this writing.
At any rate, the official decision by the executive operatives of the main opposition National Democratic Congress to boycott the Short Commission, ought to inform all peace-loving Ghanaians that the NDC, whose members and operatives are known to have instigated or provoked the overwhelming majority of these violent incidents, may be a major part of the problem and must be squarely held accountable for the same. It therefore comes as very refreshing that the National Democratic Congress’s Member of Parliament for the Ningo-Prampram Constituency, in the Greater-Accra Region, Mr. Samuel George Nartey, who recklessly got himself caught up in the eye of the Ayawaso-West Wuogon byelection storm, has decided to break ranks with the executive operatives of the party’s Kokomlemle National Headquarters by appearing before the members of the Short Commission.
What the foregoing means is that Mr. Nartey, popularly known as Sam George, has wisely and constructively elected to become a major and remarkable part of the solution to election-related incidents of violence in the country. And on the latter count, it may be recalled that Mr. Nartey was widely reported to have led a 15-member gang of thuggish NDC members and supporters on motorbikes into several polling stations in the Ayawaso-West Wuogon Constituency, against clearly laid-down rules and regulations prohibiting precisely this kind of public misbehavior. Earlier on, Mr. Nartey, who claimed to have been brutally assaulted by elements of our National Security apparatus, had publicly stated that he had absolutely no confidence in the personnel of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) and did not therefore intend to lodge or file any official complaint with the police.
Ultimately, what is important and worth noting here is the ability of the members and witnesses of the Short Commission to facilitate the definitive resolution and prohibition of any more election-related violence in the country. I have already noted this in a previous column but hereby reiterate the same, that President Akufo-Addo’s yeomanly and heroic ability, together with the equally seismic collaboration of The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, and the other members of the Group of Eminent Ghanaian Chiefs, to definitively resolving the 17-year-old Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis, gives me reasonable hope to anticipate that President Akufo-Addo is apt to, once again, make history by definitively making byelection-related violence in the country a relic of the past.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD