Ghana's ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is sharply denying Ex-President Jerry Rawlings' accusation
that the party is arming its supporters ahead of this year's general elections.
The ruling party described the former president's comment as an unfortunate
accusation that could potentially incite people to engage in violence before,
during and after the elections. Mr. Rawlings reportedly said the ruling NPP was
arming its supporters to cow opponents into submission and to hold onto power.
Some security experts say the former president's accusation is a subtle way of
informing opposition supporters to take up arms and defend themselves.
Ohene-Ntow is the general secretary of Ghana's ruling NPP party. He tells
reporter Peter Clottey from the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi that the
former president's accusation is baseless and untoward.
say the least, I think that this is a very unfortunate statement from a former
head of state who presided over the proliferation of small arms throughout the
Ghanaian society during his PNDC (Provisional National Defense Council) / NDC
(National Democratic Congress) rule, where he himself propagated what he called
the democratization of violence, and saw to it that systematically, unorthodox
organizations such as Civil Defense Organizations and Militia organizations,
and all sorts of people were armed to the teeth. And this has created a
phenomenal security problem in Ghana up until today," Ohene-Ntow pointed out.
said President John Kufuor's government has not been able to deal with the
proliferation of arms allegedly brought into the country by the Rawlings
until today, the government has not been able to trace these arms let alone
retrieve them. And today, Rawlings is complaining and accusing the NPP of
sending arms into the society with the aim of destabilizing the society and
rigging elections. I think this is quite unfortunate, and it is totally
uncalled for. I do not expect a former head of state who has presided over that
kind of regime to be making such statements," he said.
denied the ruling party was behind the recent violence in the northern part of
the country that to the death of six and scores injured.
you talk about violence in the northern region, what are we talking about? If
you talk about the chieftaincy problem, it has antecedent deep into history,
and if you talk about tribal and land problems, these are things that happen
all over the country all the time. If you want to talk about the current
political violence that we are seeing in the north, it was triggered by NDC
activists who fired into an NPP rally. They had earlier on gone to Gushiegu to
burn down the local offices of the NPP there. I agree that the reprisals that
took place were not called for, but I'm telling you the genesis of the violence
that we are witnessing in the north today," Ohene-Ntow noted.
said there was need for Ghanaians to be vigilant and desist from violence ahead
of the general elections.
of all the best you can do is to appeal to people's conscience that it is in
our collective interest to be free of violence. But beyond that the police and
other security agencies have announced their plans to ensure that at every
polling station, security is provided for citizens who go out to vote. But in
the run up to the elections, I think it is more of a duty of political parties
to keep our supporters in check, and keep them well educated of the law on
public safety and the conduct of public campaigns," he said.