Ghana's elections have not been without violence.

According to a report by Jeff Fisher of Electoral Violence Project, which gathered data on violence pre, during and after elections from the inception of the fourth republic, 1992 to 2012, 5,707 incidents were identified and classified into three categories as:

Type of Incident                                 Number of Incidents               (Percentage of Total)

Assault/Violent Intimidation                            2,807                                        49.1%

Seizure of Public Property                            1,812                                       31.7%

Protests/Public Disorders                               858                                        15.0%

Ballot Box Theft                                               142                                        2.4&

Party Property Vandalisation                            88                                          1.5%

The chaotic incidents after the 2016 elections have left an infamous imprint on our minds.

Mostly, the youth are used to perpetuate these attacks. These people are to a large extent unemployed and illiterate. Hungry folks.

The by-election at Awayaso West Wuogon has dominated the news media because of violence. 

The New Patriotic Party has blamed the National Democratic Congress for orchestrating the violence. As expected the NDC is also pointing fingers at the NPP.

Whether orchestrated or not the violence must be condemned. 

The misinformation, and disinformation by some of our political elites, in my perspective, are clear and no citizen must fall for these parochial acts.

The violent trajectory we seem to be embarking on in our elections has already been embarked on by other countries. Nigeria comes to mind.

Thuggery, intimidation and deaths bi what!

I want you to walk with me back to 1999 when Olusegun Obasanjo became the president of the 4th Republic of Nigeria. As with every election,  there were irregularities but largely successful.

In the 2003 elections the Human Right Watch’s report, between April and May 2003, indicated about one hundred people were said to have been killed and many more injured during federal and state elections in Nigeria. Prior to the elections, President Obasanjo stated with conviction that the election was  ‘a do or die affair’

That election has been described as the “most fraudulent election” in the history of Nigeria.

The 2007 elections of Nigeria have been written about as 'The process was

characterized by unprecedented electoral malpractices which led to wide condemnation from local and international observers to the  extent that upon inauguration, the then President, late Umaru Ya’Adua condemned the flawed election that brought him to power…'

'Akwa Ibom State witnessed one of the worst histories of political violence on March 22, 2011.

An eye witness report on the matter indicate that many properties which included: 200 brand new Peugeot 307 cars; 500 brand new tricycles; the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign office which was burnt down by the rampaging mob; Fortune International High School owned by Senator Aloysius Etok which was razed down with school children in session and over 20 Toyota Hiace buses belonging to the PDP and Godswill 2011 Campaign Organization, nine Hilux jeeps belonging to the Government of Akwa Ibom State which were either completely destroyed or vandalized.'  Close to 350 lives were lost in that election.

Prior to the 2015 elections governor for Ekiti state Ayodele Fayose, unabashedly said 'propaganda would only waste time and attack is the best form of defence, … we have control of the Police and the Army and I cannot afford to lose my control on Police and the Army and without Jonathan being the president, we will lose the control'. 

That is a clear indication of desperation, from a politician who clearly has not the interest of the citizenry at heart.

Asari Daukubo, a militant in Bayelsa state was quoted as saying 'for every Goliath, God created a David. For every Pharaoh, there is a Moses. We are going to war. Every one of you should go and fortify yourself.'

Days after these utterances, on Tuesday, 17th February 2015, an 'explosion and gunfire rocked by recalcitrant rented youths destabilized an election rally in Rivers State, killing one police officer and injuring four others while a reporter covering the event was stabbed…'

It took the intervention of the late Kofi Annan to prevent the 2015 elections of Nigeria to be as bloody as the previous one.

In a few weeks, Nigeria will hold another presidential and gubernatorial elections. If you have been keeping tabs on the pre-election incidents you will know they are growing worse and needs urgent redress.

Our records are far but not too far from the above atrocities. There is a thin line between love and hate and as such our actions will determine whether we want peace or otherwise.

My reasons for chronicling these issues are just to make clear that the violent posturing of the two political parties will only ruin us.

Also, it is explicit that our politicians are not going to relent; and come hell or high water they will, like David smother any Goliath. Even when there is no Goliath they will create one just to be able to attack, only to get the chance to be ensconced at your expense.

Finally, we should know that this trajectory leads to abyss and dystopia.

So the onus is on us, the citizens, to pick the mantel to stand for our country and prevent our interests from being incessantly neglected.

 

Worrying is the fact that reasoning and discipline vanish where there is hunger.

Behind these hungry youth are political elites who have intentionally, over time made institutions such as the National Commission for Civic Education, Ghana Police Service, CHRAJ and others more like a placebo.

An apathetic citizenry weakens democracy!!!

 

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