IDEG: arrest those involved in by-election violence

Accra The Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) and the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) on Friday said the perpetrators of the violence at the La-Bawaleshi during the Ayawaso West Wuogon By-Election must be arrested, investigated, prosecuted and brought to justice expeditiously.

The CFI/IDEG said, We are dismayed and disappointed with the acts of violence, intimidation and fear that occurred on Thursday, January 31, 2019 at the La-Bawaleshi Presbyterian Basic Schools polling station.

As a civil society network that has consistently campaigned against electoral violence, impunity and injustice in this country, we vehemently condemn the blatant use of brute force with gross impunity in the presence of police officers and security agencies who failed to effect any arrest or prevent innocent people from being assaulted.

CFI/IDEG in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra signed jointly by Major General Nii Carl Coleman retired Chairman of CFI and Mr Kwesi Jonah, IDEG Senior Research Fellow for Advocacy and Institutional Relations, said.

The statement said electoral violence in the fourth republic has generally been tolerated without any punishment of the offenders.

It said in the past four years, we have observed a trend of by-election related violence which have occurred in the presence of the police and security agencies without any prosecution.

The statement said the lesson of the La-Bawaleshi incident is that electoral violence related impunity must be stopped now, the Police and security agencies must act more promptly and in cooperation to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the offenders.

This will serve as a deterrent to those who are planning to indulge in violence especially as the 2020 Elections approach. Henceforth, the Police must declare zero-tolerance towards political vigilantism, electoral violence and impunity, it said.

The statement called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and former President John Dramani Mahama to take immediate action to end the recurring acts of electoral violence and impunity which are escalating and threatening to the destroy Ghana’s democratic stability, peace and security.

We also urged President Akufo-Addo to work with these and other national leaders to secure the transformational local governance reforms that would put an end to the winner-takes-all politics in the country, the statement said.

Source: Ghana News Agency