The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), has condemned the violence associated with the just-ended by-election in the Talensi Constituency in the Upper East Region.

A statement signed by the Head of Research and Programmes, Dr Franklin Oduro, expressed worry that if the matter was not investigated and suspects brought to book, these violent attacks would be replicated in the 2016 general elections.

“The 2016 general elections is less than 18 months away. If left uninvestigated and alleged perpetrators escape justice, such acts of violence will serve as a licence for those who have the intent of institutionalising violence in Ghana’s electoral and democratic processes,” the statement said.

The people of Talensi last Tuesday elected a new Member of Parliament (MP) to represent them in Ghana’s Legislature but the exercise was characterised by violent clashes in some of the electoral areas.

CDD-Ghana further stated that: “Reports of incidence of violence with sporadic firing of gunshots and attacks with machetes during the conduct of the polls, resulting in the hospitalisation of victims and destruction of vehicles, are unacceptable and raise serious concerns about the ease and impunity with which violence is unleashed during elections in Ghana.”

The centre, however, commended the Electoral Commission (EC) and the security agencies for ensuring a peaceful election at the polling centres but it pointed out that the reported violence associated with the elections, although outside the polling stations, “Clearly undermines the democratic objective of peacefully electing political leaders.”

According to the statement, it was unacceptable for such incidents to take place during elections, and urged the law enforcement agencies to apprehend the alleged perpetrators and ensure they face the full rigours of the law.

“This is a better option than political parties trading accusations at each other as to who is responsible for these unacceptable acts of election-related violence,” it said.

“CDD-Ghana calls on the security and law enforcement agencies, as a matter of urgency, to investigate the reported violence, arrest and prosecute all the alleged perpetrators involved in the violence,” the statement said.

The centre stressed that: “It is important that elections in Ghana are conducted in an environment free of fear, intimidation and violence.”

Source: Graphic

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