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Atiwa also needs justice

botchway February 11, 2019


For a government that believes in the rule of law, it was not surprising that the Akufo-Addo administration set up the Emile Short Commission to enquire about what sparked off the disturbances in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency on January 31, 2019 during the by-election there.

Kudos to the government even though the opposition will stop at nothing in blaming it for everything that went wrong that day.

What happened that day, according to someone caught on tape, began with certain miscreants intercepting a ballot box which they started kicking away from the polling center in La Balawashie, when a police officer fired at them. One thing led to another, and some people were claimed to have been shot, with video clips showing blood on the ground as if it was an abattoir.

The opposition would not rest and made as much capital out of this, and to some extent, blowing things out of proportion, if we are to compare what happened during by-elections in Chereponi and Atiwa as examples.

Two demonstrations hit town; first by opposition members of parliament (MPs) who believed all widows are bloodsuckers. Then another one dubbed Aagbewo, which means “We are been killed” in Ga. Suddenly, the same people who stood by, watched and had protected thugs who descended on the people of Atiwa, and even orchestrated a sports utility vehicle (SUV) to drive through innocent youth for protecting the ballot boxes during the August 31, 2010 by-election, are now talking about attacks on democracy.

I would not want to talk about terrorisms that occurred in the by-elections in Akwatia and Chereponi because I was not there to see things for myself. I was at Atiwa, and saw how thugs belonging to the militant wing of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Azorka Boys, used weapons of limited destruction by way of machetes, hockey sticks, bike chains, crowbars, clubs and iron bars to submit physical assaults on the poor men, women and children in their own homes, while they, the thugs, were protected by well-armed police in full battle gear.

In a village where these thugs landed, people were beaten up black and blue, with slaps hitting targets with such precision that even the men burst into tears. And the police quietly watched on.

To put the bloody icing on this satanic cake, not satisfied for not pinching even a single ballot box, the then NDC Women’s Organiser, Anita DeSossoo, had her SUV driven into the youth who were only protecting the ballot boxes.

Ghanaians should remember how the NDC, during the reign of the so-called Prince of Peace, Asomdwehene President John Evans Atta Mills, rallied together and defended the terrorists from their camp.

Surprisingly, President Atta Mills, who was a legal luminary, never appointed any commission to look into the matter. Rather, when the matter got to the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Martin Amidu, he defended the driver who drove through the youth when he answered questions on the floor of Parliament on Thursday July 7, 2011.

He claimed that the youth had mounted a road block and wanted to damage the vehicle and the passengers on board. He added that the youth were crying for the blood of Anita De Sossoo. (https://www.ghanabusinessness.com published on July 8, 2011 on the topic Attorney General Briefs Parliament On The Catastrophes OfAtiwa Bye Election).

All that he said on the floor of Parliament went to fully support what the Media Analysts Group of the NDC put up in an opinion column of Ghanaweb entitled “The Atiwa By-Election And Aftermath” on Monday September 6, 2010, barely a week after the by-election.

The question is what prompted the youth of Atiwa to go after the blood of Anita de Sossoo during the EVENING of elections? Anita had been going in and out of the constituency during the campaign and was there all day of the election, and yet no one made any attempt on her life, so what happened that evening?

In my opinion, it will be great injustice if a commission of enquiry is not set up to go into the Atiwa violence. From what I saw, I believe we shall understand better why the violence erupted at Ayawaso West Wuogon. In as much as I will prefer commissions of enquiries into all by-elections where violence took place, I strongly believe that Atiwa is the most important here, since the idea of the NDC was to tamper with ballot boxes and compromise the votes.

In the Offinso South by-election of Tuesday October 24, 2006, the NDC released its militant group, Azorka Boys, onto the constituency with the aim of creating disturbances. The no-nonsense Offinso youth gave them a strong warning and advised them to put up good behaviour. The Azorka Boys had their tails between their legs and never made any attempt to do what they know best.

The people of Atiwa were not that robust and preferred to turn the other cheek, but that brought them more woes than can be acceptable.

It is time for them to get justice, which had long eluded them since 2010. No justice can be achieved if Atiwa is left out, and the source of electoral violence can never be found and snuffed out. We can never have justice if we do not start tackling the issues at the source, but always only at the end.

Atiwa and all others need justice, as well as Ayawaso West Wuogon.

Hon. Daniel Dugan

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