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Opinions of Friday, 3 September 2010

Columnist: Asante-Yeboah, Joseph

Reverberations from the Atiwa by-election – 31.08.10

As I write this piece tonight, 31.08.10, results from today’s by-election in Atiwa are trickling in from Hot FM, but I cannot hold back my joy that NPP appears to be winning by a big margin, although I acknowledge that the constituency is a safe seat. The strategy adopted by the Party makes me even happier. This time, the Party executive took effective steps to ensure that NPP was not bullied. There are accusations and counter accusations that NDC and NPP deployed macho men in the electoral area. Even if it is true that NPP has adopted this tactic, and so what? It is in response to what NDC did in 2008, then later on at Akwatia and then what it planned to execute at Atiwa. It is a relief to know that NPP has adopted an effective strategy not to be trampled upon again and again.
For me, this has served as a wakeup call to Ghanaians – churches, traditional leaders, the numerous political NGO’s, and others. If we are to be praying, it should start from now. If we are to call NDC to order, it should be now. One month or one week to election day in 2012 will be too late. Ghanaians must be bold and say it loud and clear who the naughty child is and who the child bullied is. Truth hurts, but it will give us peace for a very long lime to come.
Whilst declaring the results of the 2008 election, the Electoral Commissioner, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, did say that matters that NPP complained about bordered on criminality and were for the police to deal with. As far as I know, that was the end of it. This cannot go on all the time. On the Hot FM station, as the results were coming in this evening, the former NPP General Secretary, and now MP for Okere, Hon Dan Botwe, was interviewed. He spoke in very strong words urging the police to do their work of maintaining law and order particularly during elections. He reminded Ghanaians that NDC adopted violence as a strategy at Akwatia and appeared to have done so again at Atiwa. The police cannot look on unconcerned all the time while NPP members and supporters are intimated and physically attacked. Sometimes, this was even with the connivance of the police. Violence cannot be a permanent feature of our elections. I was delighted that he had spoken out as I listened to Hon Dan Botwe.
(P)NDC was of course born out of violence and that has been a feature of that Party. It has no tradition. NPP, on the other hand, has a deep-rooted tradition of law and order going back to the Danquah-Busia-Dombo era and even before that. The tradition was much enriched during Kufuor’s administration. I believe that this tradition of NPP must run like a thread through our campaign message towards 2012. For the nation to develop, Ghanaians must see the wisdom in returning NPP to power in 2012. The nation will then have a golden opportunity to make a strenuous effort to bring discipline to society, create a level playing field for truly free and fair elections, expand the frontiers of freedom and give every citizen the opportunity to develop in freedom under Nana Akufo Addo’s leadership. I would then be proud that Ghana has truly become a democracy. There would be no looking back this time. The hard work, of course, is to get past 2012.
Well done, NPP executive and the election team.
Joseph Asante-Yeboah
I dedicate this article to the blessed memory of Dr K A Busia who passed away on 28.08.78