The political environment, since the days of the last voter registration exercise or even before that, was turbulent. From the demonstrations by the National Democratic Congress to the Banda and Techiman South violations of human rights and shootings, to the chaos in some parliamentary elections, the political space has been eventful.
That is aside of the saga of some youth invading various Electoral Commission offices with the excuse that they had been told their presidential and parliamentary candidates had won the election and that the Electoral Commission was refusing to declare the results in their favour.
We cannot be selective
It was intriguing where the calls had been coming from, when we knew for a fact that some of the demonstrations might be illegal in several ways, including the pelting of police with stones.
Of course, policemen and women shooting innocent people anywhere in the world is criminal. But we also know over here in Ghana that anybody demonstrating must have lawful reason to do so and must also inform the police why they want to demonstrate. And we know, too, that being just ‘a community Azorka’ or a bigger political animal does not offer any one a licence to trade nonsense against the state or fellow citizen.
Worse still, hiding to plot civil disturbances in the name of politics is lawless and criminal, regardless of how big that fish who is leading the conspiracy is. We believe that is why the Samuel Ofosu Ampofo case, for instance, was under investigations and is now in court for a determination.
So, yes, shootings may be investigated as are cases that involve violations of the law. So, just making selective and general statements about the need to investigate shootings will be just as selective as shooting a monkey just because it is ugly.
In the light of the few cases that we have cited over here, we would urge those advocating the investigations to be definite and particular. Beyond that, however, they should also look at the issues of equity and privileges and how they (advocates) can be that credible without looking at the total picture in which some ballot papers, for instance, had one presidential candidate’s picture cut out.
This is important in order not to confuse issues of electoral fraud, which is criminal, from other forms of crimes in which scores of youth may be as guilty as MPs or others in which people were seeking to subvert the state or cause mayhem, in maintaining relevance in the name of politics.
Since we may not be qualified in making credible determinations in the time being, particularly when we are already looking at issues selectively, all we need to do, as citizens and advocates, is to send these matters to court – whether it involves the police, MPs, marauding stone-pelting youth without nose masks on the precincts of the Electoral Commission and the alleys in South Techiman and Tamale Central or, for that matter, the Banda knifing case.
We at the Daily Statesman are worried because most of those making the noise are educated enough to help keep our society empowered by acting and sounding credible, instead of inciting ignorant party people to destabilise our communities on the wings of needless propaganda.
Yes we may, in some of the cases, including that of the Techiman South shooting, institute commissions of inquiry. That would enable us, among other things, to tell if the rampaging youth acted civilly and if the police were not provoked.
Instead of calling for investigations, we should, in the opinion of the Daily Statesman, empower the youth to be credible civil society actors who can expend their energies in positive ways to support state and party.
Patriotism starts at home and the community into the national space. Leaping into the national space, without adequate preparation only turns our kids into victims instead of agents of development.