The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has condemned “in no uncertain terms” acts of violence leading to grievous bodily injuries to some electorate during the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election held in Accra last Thursday.
The Commission said it was “deeply concerned about the evolving security situation in recent times in the country which the by-election only seems to epitomise and calls on the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his security chiefs and advisors to treat as one of the highest issues of priority of the government.”
A statement issued by CHRAJ, signed by the Commissioner, Joe Whittal and copied to the Ghanaian Times said the commission received news of this development with great consternation “considering the fact that Ghana has over the period enjoyed peace and stability before, during and after elections.”
The CHRAJ said it was of the view that the situation, if left unchecked would undermine the nation’s hard-earned democracy on the African continent.
“The Commission believes that the security arrangements for this by-election by the Ghana Police Service were inadequate, and the deployment of heavily armed, masked and hooded security personnel to the La Bawaleshie polling centre to harass, intimidate, and shoot indiscriminately into the electorate, harming some in the process, as criminal and dastardly acts that should not be allowed to go unpunished,” it added.
“We, therefore, call on the Inspector General of Police, Mr David Asante-Apeatu, and other national security and law enforcement bodies to investigate thoroughly circumstances that led to the shooting incident at the polling centre and to punish the perpetrators if found culpable,” the statement added.
“We strongly advocate that stringent measures are put in place to ensure that security personnel behave more professionally during subsequent elections, and also in the discharge of their general duties so that this inhumane and embarrassing situation does not recur.”
The CHRAJ urged political parties sponsoring vigilante groups as political party thugs to cause mayhem during elections as happened in this by-election to put a stop to “this outmoded, undemocratic and criminal practice as it has seriously dented Ghana’s democratic and peace-loving credentials.”