Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante chairman of the National Peace Council has called on former President John Dramani Mahama to apologise to Ghanaians for saying the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) will match the ruling New Patriotic Party boot-for-boot with violence in the 2020 polls.
On Thursday, 31 January 2019, while addressing NDC delegates in the Adaklu Constituency of the Volta Region, Mr Dramani Mahama said the NDC will match the NPP boot-for-boot in the 2020 elections if the government attempts to frighten and harass NDC supporters with violence.
Mahama's comment followed a shooting incident which occurred yesterday January 31, 2019, 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.
According to the NDC presidential aspirant, “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.”
In an interview on Class FM monitored by PrimeNewsGhana on February 1 2019, Rev. Asante reacted to President Mahama's statement, saying that the former president ought to be circumspect in his speech.
Rev. Asante said, “If President John Mahama did say what he said, then it is very unfortunate because he has been a head of state, he has been the president of the nation, he is vying for his party to make him the presidential candidate, and if the people of Ghana want him again, he could become the president of this nation. And if it is going to be ‘boot-for-boot’ for the nation to be on fire, then there is no mercy for anybody. And I think it is unfortunate that in anger, such things should be said.
“I pray and I want to believe that he didn’t mean it, he did it out of anger. We have to be very circumspect and under such circumstances watch the things that we say,''He emphasized.
He further stated that “If he said that, I would want to say that President Mahama, with all humility, I will plead with him to apologise to the nation. In making that statement, he has really created fear in the hearts of people and it’s not just President Mahama I will say this to, I want to say this to all our leaders, people we are looking up to in this nation; that under such circumstances one would expect that they will be the voice of wisdom, a voice that will calm tensions, a voice that will help Ghanaians to be able to say: Indeed, we have leaders. So, please let’s be very careful about these things that we say”.