The President elect Nana Akufo Addo in 2011 at a rally in Koforidua asked NPP supporters to defend themselves against alleged intimidation and violent attacks by NDC supporters. The infamous “all-die-be” comment was unacceptable and needless.
Five years down the line, I am hearing that same voice from the past. This time by the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Kofi Portuphy on Thursday 15th of December in a media briefing charged members of the party to retaliate and defend themselves if they are attacked by supposed supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), (citifmonline.com).
When Nana Addo made his Man-up comment, he was not in power. He was not in charge of the cohesive machinery of the state. He made the statement off the cuff-at a rally.
The NDC is in power, at least till the 7th of January. It is in power and the Mahama administration is still in charge. This changes the dynamics. One has the best opportunity to direct, charge and command the security forces to clamp down on post-election violence.
Mr. Portuphy’s comments were greeted with loud applause from party executives at the news conference.
This suggests to me the comment “defend yourselves” is a party position. It means the leadership deliberated and accepted it- this is unacceptable.
As much as it is painful to lose an election, you do not also lose your integrity. With the benefit of hindsight, one would have expected Mr. Portuphy to show leadership, whiles emphasizing the role the security agencies play in times like this.
If this statement was coming from a party hack, that could have been excused since hacks are known for a certain degree of recklessness. Rather, the chairman has stepped into that role. Now who can the “neutrals” turn- to for the discipline to be ensured?
A call for self-defence on party supporters, no matter the circumstances has never been a politically wise statement.
Whilst at it, I think it is an opportune time to say to the security services – CAN YOU MAN UP!!!
The last time I checked, there have been no elections in the security services.
Consistently, the security services particularly the Police administration has displayed weak leadership when it comes to political violence. That will be a topic for another article.
By: Sammy Darko; a former BBC correspondent for Ghana, Peace and Security analyst, a Lecturer at UPSA and a final year student at the Ghana school of law, Makola.
Email: [email protected]