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True peace is not merely the absence of negative force – tension, confusion or war; it is the presence of some positive force – justice, goodwill and brotherhood. Dr Martin Luther King.

We have barely three weeks to the next general election. It is, thus, imperative that we do all that we can to ensure a peaceful and orderly electioneering process to allow our people to genuinely exercise their franchise to elect a leader for the country. What it means, therefore, is that we have to be sincere in everything we do. We should not condone any reckless acts. If we are committed to justice and peace then we have to be open about the pockets of violence that we are witnessing in some parts of the country.

Whereas these developments are not that significant, looking at the whole country, they must nonetheless be condemned because as our elders say, it is one bad nut that spoils the soup. We cannot sit by and condone the recklessness. Whether it is coming from Sankore, Nantong or as it happened at the Nima residence of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, political violence cannot bring anything good to any political party.

That is where the security agencies, especially personnel of the Ghana Police Service are expected to be firm and fair in dealing with the deviants. There is no need for any puerile argument aimed at equitably sharing the blame between activists of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) when one party is guilty and the other a victim.

Some critical individuals have over the years discerned trends when such matters come up. They argue that if you want to identify the party that such deviants support, wait and see who gets prosecuted and who is set free depending on whose party is in government. So we need to establish the faces and hoodlums behind the violence and deal with them.

What happened at Nima and the developments at Sankore must be handled with firmness and a sense of justice to serve as a deterrent to criminals clothed in partisan colours that we are in a democratic country where the rule of law is the guiding principle. There must be no room for impunity. The time has come for us to act decisively no matter whose ox is gored.

It is worth noting that Tamale used to be a hotbed of violence. For as long as the criminal acts were seen as partisan support, the deviants were motivated to continue. However, since the government told the people in no uncertain terms that no acts of violence would be protected, we have seen a decline and it must warm the hearts of our politicians that so far we have not heard of any clashes of political opponents in Tamale in recent times.

The same standard must be introduced to the youth of Sankore such that the repeated acts of violence would stop. The youth of Sankore are no more rotten than any youth group elsewhere in the country. What makes them different is that when they misbehave, they are left free. It is a shame that it is the constituency of the Brong Ahafo regional minister who also chairs the Regional Security Committee.

The truth about what triggered the violence at Nima must be established, otherwise those behind the misconduct would hold their chests out instead of being remorseful because by our conduct, we would indirectly be approving of the act when we must unconditionally condemn those who initiated the needless act.

There is no sense in vainly attempting to share blame when one party is guilty of criminal conduct. There must be goodwill in every step we take to convince people that when we say that we are democrats, it is not only when our interests are under attack that we would speak out but that even when we are the beneficiaries of what is not right, we would condemn it.

When acts of impunity occur, we should not look at those behind it or the victims before we act. We can only depend and trust our police personnel to do what is right and just at all times. They must act independently and not when they are found wanting that they euphemistically allude to “professionalism” in handling certain matters that do not inspire trust and confidence. But whatever the situation, elections will come and go but the Ghana Police Service will be there.

Our people expect that any acts of violence or injustice will be dealt with firmly and decisively. What happened at Nima must never be allowed to happen again. More importantly, the people of Sankore must not be denied their fundamental rights. We have to keep the peace in every part of our country.

Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh

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