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Opinions of Saturday, 28 November 2015

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Political parties must act to avoid unrest in 2016

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Tit for tat is not a fair play and therefore must be avoided for an eye for an eye would result in the nation becoming blind……AAA

Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas

The recent upheavals in major political parties in Ghana leading to the death and maiming of some people in Ghana during political activities evokes fear that the country may drift into unrest and civil conflict in the run up to the elections in 2016. The major political parties have come out openly to admit that they have militant wings such as invisible forces , Kandahar ,Azoka Boys ,Bolga Bull Dogs to mention but a few. All these groups have at one time or the other served as guides to party officials, protectors of ballot boxes and candidates during elections. Though the groups are not known and recognized by the security system they are required to operate peacefully. But their activities have often turned violence within and outside their party ranks. Many people require political party leaders to enforce a change in operations of party forces to ensure peaceful electioneering campaigns in 2016. There are calls by religious leaders and academics for special programs to sensitize political parties and all Ghanaians to desist from rowdy behavior and to work as one people in one nation working for peaceful electioneering. During the sensitization programs the youth must be told to desist from the use of weapons such as cutlasses, guns and acids during campaigns as that can lead to the death of opponents. Religious leaders and chiefs are required to add their voices to the call for the party groups to turn a new leaf to avoid outright war that can lead to the death of innocent people such as women and children who often flee from wars. Since money is used in inducing people to engage in riotous behaviors, the party force must be advised from accepting money to engage in conflicts within and outside the party, that can end up with them being arrested and jailed.
Among the people who are expressing fear for conflict in 2016 is Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa.
Dr. Ibn Chambas, has asked political parties in the country to urgently stop entertaining vigilante groups saying that the activities of these groups have the potential to plunge the country into civil unrest.
Citing Nigeria’s Boko Haram as an example, he said the insurgent group started as a political vigilante group but later turned around to haunt the people of the West African country.

Dr. Chambas also asked political party leaders fight against extremism, which he said was high in the West African sub-region.

Speaking at the launch of a book jointly edited by New Patriotic Party (NPP) vice presidential candidate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and Prof. Kwaku Appiah-Adu, Vice Dean for the Central Business School, Dr Chambas also appealed to political parties in the country to work towards peace during next year’s multi-party elections.

“Election year means there will be heightened political tension therefore he asked all to maintain peace and safety adding that the UN will do its best to accompany this process so that we can have credible and peaceful elections,” Dr Chambas said.

Azorka Boys, affiliated to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and NPP’s Invincible Forces and Bolga Bulldogs are among active political vigilante groups in the country that must be watched and tamed.

Last month, violence erupted at the headquarters of the NPP in Accra when Bulldogs and Invincible Forces (touted as the private security force of the opposition party) clashed. We need to listen to the advice being given by Dr Chambas because he has the knowledge and experience in security issues regarding political parties.
Dr. Chambas until recently was the African Union – United Nations Joint Special Representative for Dafur and Head of the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operations in Dafur since 20th December, 2012.

From 2010 to 2012, Dr. Chambas was the Secretary – General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States having also served as President of the ECOWAS from 2006 – 2009 and Executive Secretary from 2002 to 2005.
Born in 1950, Dr. Chambas holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Ghana. He also has a master’s degree and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Cornell University as well as a Law Degree from Case Western Reserve University, both in the United States.

As MP for Bimbilla in 1993 -96, Dr. Chambas was also the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament (1993-1994) and later appointed Deputy Foreign Minister, as well as the Chairman of the Appointments and Privileges Committees of Parliament.

His Excellency, Dr.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas

Mohamed Ibn Chambas receives a diplomatic delegation from the United States Africa Command led by Robert T. Moeller at ECOWAS headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, 28 November 2007.

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