Remarks made by a parliament member of Ghana’s ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) about the potential demise of Ex- President Jerry Rawlings and his family ahead of this year’s general elections is generating controversy. Ken Agyepong reportedly said that the former first family would be harmed if the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) party resorts to violence during the December 2008 general elections.
The NDC reportedly said the chaos in Kenya would be replicated in Ghana if the ruling party rigs the upcoming elections. From the Ghanaian capital, Accra, Ken Agyepong tells reporter Peter Clottey that he is standing up to the rhetoric of the NDC.
“What I said was that, NDC is beating war drums everywhere that in December 2008 what happened in Kenya will happen here, and probably worse. Wherever they go they say this country will burn and nobody says anything to them, they have a field day. So I said, Rawlings should not deceive himself, the slightest insurgency in this country, he will die first with his family and I maintain that. I think I have done him a favor by giving him a clue if he doesn’t know,” Agyepong said.
He said former President Rawlings has in the past led a group of young men to destabilize the country, which Agyepong said will not happen during this year’s elections.
“He (former President Rawlings) has a track record and we will not sit down for him to destroy this country. You see some shameless opportunist journalist will just pick a word out of it because they don’t buy their paper they want a headline for people to buy their papers and they don’t say the truth. I reacted to President Rawlings because there is one boy called Antwi-Boasiako who works with Adom FM (a local Ghanaian radio station) threatening all over the place. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah (leading member of the NDC), everywhere they are threatening. We are peaceful, but that does not mean that we should let these people carry the threats all the time,” he noted.
Agyepong reckoned that pronouncements that would inflame passions towards violence ahead of this year’s elections should be condemned.
“I agree with you. You can condemn mine, but also condemn Rawlings’ own. Yes we don’t want these kinds of things in this country, so I agree that we should condemn it. That is why I am telling them in their own language the way they understand war, war, war that it’s not one sided affair. If you are talking of war or burning, if you come to my house to burn my property, I will defend myself and probably in the cause of my defense, you rather might die,” Agyepong said.
He blamed the recent slump in the country’s attractiveness to investors and to what he described as the unguarded rhetoric of the opposition.
“People who really want to invest in this country are not even certain because of the remarks they (opposition) make. And I think it’s about time we challenged them that they can’t do it. And they make Ex President Rawlings as if he is God or Jesus Christ that nobody talks about him. My friend he is a human being. I’m telling him and I mean it that if he makes a mistake I will lead a crusade, we will finish him because Ghana first. It is not Rawlings and his family alone, also have a family here,” he said.
Agyepong urged Ghanaians to follow the dictates of the electoral commission for peace to prevail.
“I believe in peaceful elections and the only way we can do it is that we are truthful to ourselves. We would be honest and people would be vigilant and nobody would be intimidated. You go out there, you vote peaceful and you go…what we need to do is to just go out there and vote and you go home. After that we all come back and watch the electoral commission count it, declare the winner and we are free,” Agyepong pointed out.
Meanwhile, the opposition National Democratic Congress has condemned Agyepong’s statement as reckless and dangerous to the democratic gains the country has so far made.