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Presidential Candidate Blames Ghana’s Ruling Party And Main Opposition Over Violence

The leader of Ghana's opposition People's National Convention (PNC) is blaming President John Kufuor's ruling party and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) over political violence that left six dead and scores injured. Doctor Edward Mahama says both parties must shoulder the blame after using what he described as unfortunate divisive rhetoric ahead of the country's general elections. Partisans of both the ruling New Patriotic Party and the opposition NDC accused each other of being behind the escalated violence after going on a rampage and burning houses.

Some political observers blame Ghana's security agencies for failing to prosecute culprits of earlier political infractions adding that the perpetrators continue to commit political violence with impunity. From Ghana's capital, Accra he tells reporter Peter Clottey that both parties have failed the nation by employing divisionary tactics ahead of the elections.

"I'm blaming the two parties because the fundamental cause of this mayhem is a high level of youth unemployment. Now, when NDC was in power, the youth unemployment was high, the NPP has come and the youth unemployment is still very high. And because these people have nothing to do, as the Bible says, the devil will find use for idle hands; the devil is a destroyer," Mahama said.

He blamed the two parties for engaging in activities, which he says are a recipe for conflict.

"Secondly, I'm blaming both parties because the phenomenon across the northern part of Ghana is what I call "factories of destruction". The NPP –NDC have erected pavilions where they've given these young people draughts, ludu, cards, just games to sit down and play and insult each other and fight amongst themselves. And sometimes it spills over into intra-party or inter-party fights. In Accra you don't see, how come in the north, they've erected these pavilions and allow these young people to sit there with no job to do and then plenty of time to idle and to cause mayhem," he said.

Mahama said although there are problems in the northern part of the country, some of them could be attributed to the lack of jobs.

"Well, basically there is a lot of marginalization of the north. There is also a lot of poverty in the north, and high levels of youth unemployment. Now, the immediate thing that I am proposing should be done is that not only should they move the police and the military there, but also they should send a medical team including a psychiatrist and a psychologist because people were sitting down and their homes were burnt, school children were running away from the violence and the chaos. People have lost their loved ones, they are going to be hurt naturally, they are going to feel angry and they are going to feel like revenging. We must stop the vengeance, otherwise it is going to spread," Mahama pointed out.

He concurred with calls by one presidential candidate in this year's elections that all of the aspirants should have security protection with the recent spate of increasing violence.

"Well, he may have a point because I'm getting threats on my phone, but I just ignore them. Certainly, the PNC, which I lead, has been a victim of violence and I abhor and condemn political violence. But as I keep saying, it is not only politicians. You see innocent people were sitting down and they got beaten down like it happened in Gushegu. So, the levels of protection and individual protection in this nation are very, very poor. Just a few weeks ago one of my workers when coming to work early in the morning got robbed and rapped and there is no police protection. And you cant call the police to come and help you at anytime," he said.

The reported deaths occurred during a clash between the National Democratic Congress (NPP) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters at Kpatinga, in the Gushegu District of Ghana's Northern Region.

Some observers say the current scenario in the north has been expected long time since those who have previously committed similar acts in recent past have been left off the hook without any form of prosecution.