Feature Article of Saturday, 12 February 2011
Columnist: The Herald
Contrary to the position taken by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) after the Atiwa By-election, Nana Akufo-Addo has revealed that his party officials and supporters were responsible for the violence that was visited on the people of Atiwa in the by-election following the death of the NPP Member of Parliament, Kwasi Annor Ankamah, in June last year.
According to Nana Addo, thugs, mostly youth aged between 10 and 35 years, who carried sticks, stones, machetes and even blocked the roads and harrassed visitors to the constituency, as captured by our cameramen in the Atiwa Constituency, was to send a stern warning to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), that the NPP was founded on bravery and not cowardice.
That, to him, was a curtain raiser to what will happen in 2012.
“We exhibited a taste of our warring at the Atiwa By-Election. Let all understand that our party was founded by men of gallantry. The founding fathers of this party which today has become the biggest political movement in Ghana, were not men who hid under beds; therefore, the nerves we have in us will come to bare in the 2012 Election which will be “All Die Be Die”. “All Die Be Die”, he repeated
The violent situation at Atiwa resulted in the injury of some young men said to be NPP supporters who charged on the National Women Organizer of the NDC, Madam Anita De-Souza, with sticks, stones and machetes, and her driver was forced to drive through the blockade mounted by the youth to save their lives.
Nana Addo, after the incident, visited the injured youths at the hospital where he shed some tears, and left after donating some cash to the young men. Before the visit, the NPP had claimed that the young men were killed by the car.
The NPP which takes its root from the United Party (UP), has been trying to extricate itself from accusations that its forebears subjected Ghana’s first President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to all manner of violent attacks, including bomb throwing and arming an innocent baby girl with a bomb concealed in a bouquet of flowers to kill Dr. Nkrumah in what became known as the Kulungugu Bombing. That incident resulted in the injury and death of many people.
Nana Addo was last year forced to sack about seven of his bodyguards after they stormed the party’s Greater Accra-Regional office at Asylum Down, in the heat of the NPP flagbearer race, and brutalized one of the staff.
They also injured several others for allegedly insulting their boss, (Nana Addo), a lawyer who claims to be “a believer of the rule of law”.
The staff, Seth Opoku, narrating the incident to reporters, said that he was in the office with other colleagues rejoicing when some men he identified as Nana Akufo Addo’s bodyguards walked into the office with deadly weapons to attack him.
According to him, before he could find answers to their numerous questions, they pounced on him, and started beating him, whilst they used cutlasses to frighten other party members not to rescue him.
He said it took the timely intervention of some of the party supporters around to rescue him.
A former NPP Parliamentary candidate for the Odododiodioo Constituency in the 2008 election, Mr. Adjei Sowa, confirmed the incident.
A press aide to Nana Akufo Addo, Herbert Krapa, when contacted, confirmed that their outfit has received news of the sad incident, and hoped that the law takes its course since the matter is in the hands of the Police.
However, the Supervisor of Nana Akufo Addo’s security team, Mr. Eric Antwi, was later asked to apologize on behalf of the thugs, after a reported suspension order issued by Nana Akufo Addo, and a call for a full-scale investigation into the matter.
A press statement issued on the incident said some persons had persistently and openly been making derogatory and abusive remarks about Nana Addo which his supporters there did not take kindly to, resulting in a fight which left people with injuries.
The statement said that the NPP presidential candidate for Election 2008 has always been opposed to the use of violence, and would always stand up to condemn it.
“I have always been opposed to the use of force to resolve political disputes or arguments, and condemn it. I have thus consistently advised all members of my staff and sympathizers not to respond violently, or in like manner, to any provocation, taunts or insults directed against me,” it said.
“I have visited the injured persons to express my profound regret about it, and to re-assure them of my personal commitment against violence,” it added.
One of the injured men said his assailants pounced on him when he tried to go to the rescue of one of his friends being assaulted in the name of Nana Addo.
He said the men wielded daggers which they wanted to use on him.
Another man who also complains of assault, said his whole body hurt badly.
“I hereby call on all members of our party to consider the wider implications of their actions, and conduct themselves in a manner which will foster unity and singleness of purpose amongst us.
It is my fervent hope and prayer that we all work together to promote peace and harmony within the NPP,” the statement said.