Ofosu Ampofo, theNational Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel has insisted that withdrawal from the grisly by-election at Ayawaso West Wuogon(AWW) Constituency in the Greater Accra Region by-election was the best decision which he has not regretted because it saved lives.
“The withdrawal from the by-election was tactical decision taken in consultation with security experts in NDCto protect lives of unarmed supporters, members and faithful in the face of rampaging riffle wielding national security operatives,” hestressed.
On January 31, 2019, hooded masked National Security Operatives armed and deployed in Police armored vehicles invaded the Bawaleshie Presbyterian polling station, attacked and shot some members and supporters of NDC during the by-election that saw the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) Lydia Alhassan, elected after the death of her husband, Kyeremanteng Agyarko, who was the incumbent MP at the time.
Six supporters of NDC sustained serious gunshot wounds whilst dozens suffered minor injuries and Mr Ampofo has since been accused by his critics in the party of being a coward hence does not deserve to lead the party into crucial election such as the 2024 elections.
However, speaking in Koforidua after meeting 16 constituencies as part of his campaign tour in the region, he touted that he had led so many by-elections but Ayawaso West Wuogon was different by-election because it was only time state security agencies armed with assault rifles hunted down on Innocent people who were only going to vote.
“I will put the lives of my party people always first beyond any other consideration so decision was not unilateral but was decision I took in consultation with national security system of the party who were even with me when I was announcing our withdrawal, and other senior people.
“As a result of decision Emil Short Commission was set up to investigate the violence which also led to passage of legislation disbanding vigilantism in politics, the government was put under pressure to pass a law against vigilantism and other offences and in 2020 vigilantism and vigilante activities were not seen in polling stations due to tactical withdrawal from the by-election to save lives and properties.
“Election is not war to deploy thugs to cause mayhem but building resilient party structures at the grassroots to regional level will rather repel anything detrimental to the party, what I am doing is to build resilient institutions at the branch, ward, constituency,and regional levels, you do not need one strong person to be in all 275 constituencies on election day,” Mr Ampofo assured.