Thursday, 10 December 2015

Intra Party Violence And Lessons For Election 2016


The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) scored high political marks over the weekend with its expanded and digitized presidential and parliamentary primaries. 

The earth-shattering shock inflicted on some sitting MPs by young aspiring ones are normal in such high profile contests. What is abnormal was the acts of violence which were few in number but huge in magnitude.

 These relate to the snatching of ballot boxes and the slapping of party supporters out of anger and confusion in the affected voting centers.

 The opposition New Patriotic Party, NPP on the other hand wears a conflicting tag which refuses to drop with each passing day. What started as a punitive response to Paul Afoko’s alleged travesty of party discipline has snowballed into an endless violence and a ruinous legal battle. In a flat contradiction to NPP’s motto, its headquarters which is supposed to be a citadel of freedom is now a spectacle of fighting.

True, both the NDC and the NPP are not on the same scale in terms of intra party cohesion or intra-party confusion. NDC’s front is generally peaceful whiles NPP’s camp is disturbingly rancorous. On the perpetration of violence, none is purer than pure, or whiter than white. Politicians of all partisan hues and supporters of all political stripes have serious work to do to kill that instinct that directly or remotely promote violence.

 What happened in the NDC primaries and what is lingering in the NPP family reinforce the point that addiction to power and differences over issues can drive even party people to the lowest common denominator between them to the extent of committing murder. But murderous acts and their destabilizing impact on our democracy should not be tolerated at all. The point can hardly be articulated that the political parties are the building blocks of democracy.

 And Ghana’s reputation as a beacon of democratic accomplishment in Africa takes a tailspin whenever any act of violence is recorded in any of the parties. The insecurity implications of such violence too must not be toyed with. For this reason, law and order in all the parties must not be allowed to spin out of control. In our highly polarized and dangerously polluted political space, any breach of peace or infraction of the law can pose a fatal threat to national security. 

It is however, assuring to hear from the police that the security challenges over the NDC primaries will equip them to strategize for Election 2016. Many analysts also hold the view that the dark spots of the NDC primaries are a portrait of past elections and forecast of the next.

Coming events they say, cast their shadows. 
But no one, high or low, rich or poor should be allowed to inhabit the shadows of violence. The law must deal surgically with such offenders. Meanwhile, all our good governance institutions, National Commission for Civic Education, the Media, the National Peace Council and other apostles of peace and the rule of law must wake up and teach Ghanaians to grow up to embrace peace and reject violence. 

Even when tempers flare and tensions soar, nothing should be done to imperil the peace. May the Lord of Peace himself give us peace at all times and in every way as election 2016 inevitably approaches.


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