The Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), has condemned the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence that nearly disrupted the January 16, 2019 by-election and called for investigations to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice.
“We are therefore as a matter of urgency calling on the security agencies to investigate the incident and make their findings public for everybody to know what actually transpired on the day and all those found to have taken part in the violence dealt with according to the laws of the land,” a statement issued in Accra stated.
It said the PCG as one of the biggest denominations in the country would not sit unconcerned and not comment on such an unfortunate situation. “We are therefore adding our voice to the number of condemnations from institutions and individuals.”
The PCG statement signed on behalf of the Moderator, Rt Rev Prof Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante said if the matter was not investigated and suspects brought to book, these violent attacks during by-elections in Ghana would be replicated one day during general elections.
“We as a church believe that the 2020 general elections is less than 24 months away and if such violence was left uninvestigated and alleged perpetrators escape justice, such acts of indiscipline will serve as a licence for those who have the intent of institutionalising violence in Ghana’s electoral and democratic processes.”
The church said it was of the belief that reports of incidence of violence with sporadic firing of gunshots and attacks with machetes during the conduct of polls, resulting in the hospitalisation of victims and destruction of vehicles, was unacceptable and raise serious concerns about the ease and impunity with which violence is unleashed during elections in Ghana.
“We as a church believe that all these incidents of violence during polls in Ghana continue to happen because those engaged in such acts are left unpunished,” the statement noted.
For over 25 years, it noted that Ghana has progressively entrenched democracy while maintaining relative peace and stability. It has gone through seven consecutive elections without large-scale violence and three peaceful changes of power between its two main parties – the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Yet, it said both the NDC and the NPP, whether in opposition or in government, increasingly rely on vigilante groups to provide security for their campaigns and ensure electoral victory.
In conclusion, PCG said it was of the opinion that if political vigilantism in the country was not checked, “one day we will all live to regret their institution”.