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Opinions of Saturday, 25 July 2020

Columnist: Solomon Mensah, 3news.com

TALKING DRUM: Kasoa-Banda gunshots, how they kill for votes!

Three motor bikes were burnt in the Kasoa incident Three motor bikes were burnt in the Kasoa incident

When my brother told me that he had received his voting cards (referred to in Ghana as ballot papers), I expressed shock. “They sent you the cards? Really?” I enquired, just for emphasis sake.

He took pictures of the voting cards– three in all– and sent to me via WhatsApp. “This is Sweden. Here, there is law and order and the systems work,” he said.

I had told him how surprised I was hearing that ballot papers were sent to them to be kept in their rooms for days before the very day of the elections. In his case, he kept them in his room for two solid weeks.

“Massa, I swear that if we do this in Ghana there will be no human being living in the country the day after citizens received these papers. The NDC and NPP will map their opponents’ zones and burn them to ashes at dawn,” I said rather sadly.

We all laughed it off. But that is the stark reality in our country Ghana.

Reading more on the Swedish electoral process, I chanced on an article on www.thelocal.se dubbed, “How to vote in the 2018 Swedish election”. Portions of the article confirmed what I was told of the ballot papers. That, “In the weeks leading up to the election, voting cards are sent out to all eligible voters from the Election Authority, also known as Valmyndigheten. These are sent to the address you registered with Skatteverket (tax agency).

“This letter [containing the cards] will also include information about the location and opening time of your nearest polling station on election day. These are municipal buildings, usually schools or libraries. In some locations, it’s possible to cast your vote in advance, starting 18 days before the day of the election; if you do this, you can use any advance polling station, but if you vote on the day, you must go to your designated location.”

When I posted about this on my Facebook wall, I had friends living in other civilized countries sharing the same account on their respective elections. It dawned on me that Ghana and her counterparts in Africa are – arguably– the ones still glued to their backward approach to development.

Sad enough, it appears we are unfazed as a country as politicians and their supporters continue to make elections on the continent a bitter pill forced down the throats of citizens. Last week, news was rife when a 28-year old man got killed at Banda Ahenkro in the Bono Region. He was not an armed robber neither was he caught on top of someone’s wife.

Silas Wulochamey suffered his gruesome death allegedly in the hands of the supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). Media reports suggested that supporters of the NPP and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) engaged in a brawl over the eligibility of Mr. Wulochamey to register at Banda Ahenkro for the ongoing voter card registration exercise.

The altercation led to the stabbing of the young man whom we are told hailed from Banda Ahenkro. Even if he had no family ties in Banda Ahenkro or whatsoever, was it not totally senseless to kill him in his attempt to register there? Here was a graduate from the Akim Oda Teacher Training College killed in cold blood. Yes! Someone’s son who could have supported his family and friends to better their lives if he were given the chance to live and practice as a trained teacher.

It is worthy to note that in an interview on Onua FM’s midday news, after the incident, the Bono Regional Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Police Service, Augustine Kingsley Oppong said that about three of his officers who went to ensure law and order prevailed in the Banda incident also sustained gunshot wounds. That was how grim the situation was!

Just as we could let the dust settle on Silas Wulochamey’s death, Ghanaians and the rest of the world further had to battle another infamous incident. This time, the violent act of indiscriminately firing gunshots into the air was led by the Member of Parliament of the Awutu Senya East of the Central Region, Hawa Koomson. The MP also doubles as the Minister of Special Development Initiatives.

Madam Koomson’s day of shame was on Monday, July 20, 2020, at the Step to Christ registration centre at Kasoa. If guns are easily pulled at a mere voters’ ID card registration centres by trigger-happy political lunatics and party supporters are, as well, so senseless to stab their fellow human to death, then what happens come December 7 when the country goes to the polls?

About seven (7) months ago, I asked a friend who had returned to Ghana from South Korea just one question when I bumped into him at church.

“You have been to a developed country and now you are back here in Ghana. What do you think we must do to be called a developed country too?” I threw the question at him.

Stirring into my face for about 30 seconds, he heaved a sigh and said, “Unless we kill all these people (referring to Ghana’s adult population) with polluted minds and let the kids take over the country with a fresh mindset. Though I’m not saying that’s what Korea did.”

Whereas my friend, to an extent, was right we could develop Ghana if we can eliminate the adult populace, I believe that rather we should just let those who call themselves the “educated” Ghanaians step aside from public leadership. They are the very people destroying the country.

The truth is if the so-called illiterates in society perpetrate these atrocities seen in politics we could, in a worst case scenario, find a room in our hearts to pardon them. We will agree if they plead they were not exposed to best practices in politics elsewhere before their funfair of stupidity. But, when an MP who doubles as a minister and her folks who have travelled the world instigate their followers to commit heinous crimes because they want votes, there must be no mercy for them before the law.

This, both the NPP and NDC are guilty. When in government and they commit these atrocities, they find a way to justify their actions and the opposition courts the public to mount pressure and the same situation continues when we change governments.

If a country like Sweden occupied by humans as those in Ghana could hold super peaceful elections without most people of the world even realizing they held an election, why can’t we do same in Ghana? Why can’t we as a people allow our brains to function for just a second? Why do we sit down for a few foolish politicians take the country to ransom that human beings are killed with impunity just because they want to win an election? And, the most nauseating thing is that if, indeed, these politicians say they only want to serve their populace by soliciting for their votes then why kill and terrorize the very people they will serve?

I used to blame Michael Jackson for changing the colour of his skin. Then, I completed journalism school, started following Ghana and Africa’s politics proper and realised that judgment must be left solely in the hands of God.

If you consider the constant showcasing of stupidity by some of our politicians, one tends to agree with scientists’ classification of human beings as animals. The reality is that such animals abound in Ghana and if there were a wall built around our country, we could pass for the world’s biggest zoo!

Though cases of violence recorded at the registration centres are isolated, honestly, I do not see the reason why I should go to a potential death zone of a voter ID card registration centre to register. After all, without any scientific data, I can boldly say that 90% of people who have registered to vote will do so either to maintain President Akufo Addo and his NPP or bring back into government John Dramani Mahama and his NDC.

That is the sad truth and I am not willing to commit such a crime of electing any of these political chameleons who will promise to buy you a beautiful bowl only to return from the market with a chamber pot.

However, in case I change my mind and register for the voter’s card, I will gladly vote for Akua Donkor and her Ghana Freedom Party. A friend named Fatau Mohammed once gave me a reason why he will vote for Madam Donkor and I think he makes sense. He says, with Akua Donkor’s government there will be no disappointments but only surprises.

In that, many believe her to be a political joker so if she wins power and underperforms you know you did not vote for her to positively change our narrative as a country. Nonetheless, if she pulls magic and transforms the country’s fortunes then you know she has surprised you big time.

If we, indeed, value Ghana and want the best for the country then we must all stop acting like jokers. The Ghanaian media must, as well, desist from trumpeting peace campaigns and musicians must do same by desisting from composing songs on such.

If after 60 years of independence we have not realised the reason we exist as a people then we must equally grab a chilled bottle of Coke and popcorn and read Edward N. Luttwak’s paper ‘Give War a Chance.’

Countries who listened to Luttwak have learnt their lessons, the hard way, and today they are successfully progressing. Here, when we heed to Luttwak’s call, we will look on while the NDC and NPP fight till their energy drains.

By Solomon Mensah|3news.com|Ghana

The writer is a broadcast journalist with Media General [TV3/3FM]. Views expressed herein are solely his, and do not, in any way, reflect the editorial policy of his organisation whatsoever.

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