Dealing with thugs at voter registration centres

The Ghanaian Times on Wednesday carried a story under the headline “Student stabbed to death at Banda Ahenkro” in which a 28-year-old fresh teacher trainee graduate has allegedly been murdered at Banda Ahenkro in the Banda District of the Bono Region.

He was said to have been attacked and stabbed by thugs believed to be the supporters of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) without any provocation leading to his death.

According to the report, it is unclear the reason for the attack but unconfirmed report suggests that the unfortunate incident occurred when the victim was returning from Wenchi to Banda.

An eyewitness said, on reaching Kabronu, a suburb of the town, the thugs mistook him to be a National Democratic Congress (NDC) sympathizer, accosted and stabbed him to death.

The report maintained however that the incident did not occur at a registration centre as widely reported.

The District Chief Executive of the area, Mary Commey, confirmed the incident but could not give details as she was yet to be briefed.

This is one of the numerous reports we have received from various registration centres and communities where violence have been recorded in relation to the ongoing registration exercise.

Few of the thugs who attempted to cause mayhem at some registration centres have been arrested by the police but others have attacked, beaten up and in some cases inflicted wounds on their victims.

Certainly, this is not the first time that such violence is being witnessed in our political activities but it appears it is now a deliberate ploy by political parties to deploy thugs at registration centres with the sole aim of attacking their opponents.

This is not appropriate and a shame that contrary to the code of conduct that was signed by political parties to disband political vigilantism, the parties have rather tacitly supported the thugs to engage in violent activities at the registration centres.

The Ghanaian Times is concerned that these violent activities are happening at registration centres, a place that should be under security protection for voters to register and participate in future election.

We are baffled that instead of comporting ourselves and peacefully engaging in the exercise that would give us a clean and acceptable register for all, some are rather engaged in violence and attacks that is not in the interest of the exercise.

We urge the Electoral Commission (EC) and security agencies to beef up security at hotspots across the country to deal with the thugs in accordance with law.

For us to come out with a clean and acceptable register, it is appropriate that the hoodlums are dealt with so that these acts of violence would stop.

We also appeal to the political parties to call their supporters to order and dissociate themselves from such violent activities by their supporters in line with their stated undertaken to stop political vigilantism and election related violence in the country.

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