The violence unleashed by some security operatives during last week’s by-election in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency continues to draw strong criticisms from various shades of the society, with three prominent Ghanaians joining the fray in calling for action to punish the perpetrators.
Outspoken former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Most Rev. Emmanuel Martey, who has been quiet on the media landscape for some time now, in a fierce statement yesterday declared that, “enough is enough.”
And urged the state to bring the perpetrators to book while veteran statesman and lawyer, Mr Sam Okudzeto, urged the media to take the lead in pushing for persons found to be involved in the acts to face justice.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings , who also spoke on the matter for the first time, said persons who were bent on employing violence to settle scores must not be let off the hook, but must be made to answer for their actions.
In a relatively lengthy statement, Most Rev. Martey described the shooting incident at Ayawaso West Wuogon as, “cruel and monstrous” and counter-productive to the country’s democratic development.
“The violence and insecurity that day ridiculed the democratic credentials of this nation and I am still shocked at the presence of masked heavily-built men under the guise of National Security at some polling stations.
“The participation of these men at the by-election was unnecessary and no amount of security explanation can justify such a cruel and monstrous display of security,” he said.
He said when he handed over as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, he decided not to continue speaking on national issues as he used to do while in office.
“This practice, I believe, is to allow and give the incumbent Moderator the full space to represent the church’s views on issues of national development and democratic values.
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“I have always believed that leadership is like a relay race, and when one gets the baton one runs as fast as one could until he hands over the baton to another person.
As soon as he hands over the baton, he then stops running and continues to cheer to victory.
“That is why I have restricted myself, since handing over as Moderator of the oldest existing church in this country, from actively speaking in public functions where my views on national issues may be sought,” he said.
However, Most.Rev. Martey said, the Ayawaso West Wuogon incident had provoked him to recoil from his shells to speak out against the barbaric act, which, he said, had tarnished the image of the country.
Rule of law ridiculed
The outspoken clergyman said the incident had ridiculed the rule of law in the country asking: “ How could Members of Parliament—also leaders of this country—be assaulted for no crime committed and guns shot in a private house on an election day to disrupt voting at the La Bawaleshie Presbyterian Polling Station near the house where the guns were fired? “
He added rhetorically: “ When good people keep quiet, evil people take over.”
After visiting one of the injured victims of the by-election shooting at the 37 Military Hospital, former President Rawlings, also, commented that the country’s approach to combating violence needed to be re-looked.
He said the agents of the two leading political parties had been in the forefront of the violence.
“By our actions and omissions, especially after 2008, we contributed immensely to laying the bed we now find ourselves in,” he said in an apparent reference to his own party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
For his part, Mr Okudzeto, who spoke on Joy FM, said acts of violence in the name of politics must not be made to fester.
He also condemned former President John Dramani Mahama for his “boot-for-boot” comment after the Ayawaso by-election incident.