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Will your children be part of ‘boot-for-boot’ fight? – Lecturer asks Mahama

A political science lecturer at the Methodist University, Osei Bonsu Owusu, has described as unfortunate, a comment by former President John Mahama that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) will match the governing New Patriotic Party boot-for-boot with violence in the 2020 polls.

According to Mr Owsusu, there was no need for Mr Mahama to have incited supporters of the NDC against the NPP since that can result in bloodshed.

While addressing NDC delegates in the Adaklu Constituency of the Volta Region on Thursday, 31 January 2019, Mr Mahama said the NDC will resort to violence in defending itself if the government attempts to intimidate and harass NDC supporters during the 2020 polls.

The former president’s comment followed a shooting incident at the La-Bawaleshie JHS polling station in the course of the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election on the same day. The NDC accused the NPP of being behind the shooting.

Mr Mahama said: “We are not going to joke in 2020, and I’m sounding a warning to the NPP – we are going to match them boot for boot…”

“I want to sound a caution that NDC has a revolutionary root and when it comes to unleashing violence, no one can beat us to that. It is just that we are mindful of this country’s democracy and that is why we must be the first to respect it. That is why we are acting as a party that is docile and respecting the rule of law. But if we believe that the government cannot protect our people and we believe that the government is using its vigilante groups and illegal forces to intimidate and harass and injure our people, then we may have to advise ourselves.”

He added: “We respect the Constitution of this country and the NDC is a democratic party and that’s why we abide by the rules of the Constitution. But the same Constitution says that Ghanaians should resist anybody who attempts to subvert the Constitution. When you go rampaging with forces and intimidating people when they should come out and vote, you are subverting the Constitution. And we have a right to resist you.”

Speaking in an interview with Accra News’ Nana Ama Agaryko, however, Mr Owusu told Accra100.5FM’s mid-day news on Friday, 1 February 2019 that: “This is an unfortunate statement coming from the former president. As a former president, he should have been measured in his utterances. I ask: Will his children join the boot-for-boot fight?”

“Violence is not something that anybody or organisation will want to be associated with, and that is why his comment dents the NDC’s image.”

According to Mr Owusu, “Every by-election we have seen in the Fourth Republic has seen some of these incidents we witnessed yesterday. Usually, the police step in, but nothing is done to the culprits.

“To end this development, the police must arrest a culprit and make him or her a scapegoat and that will deter others from doing it.”

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