Pressure group Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) has described comments by the beleaguered Member of Parliament for Assin North, Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, as a wake-up call for appropriate steps to be taken by the Mills administration to address widespread systematic grievances and tensions that have characterised the on-going biometric registration exercise across the country.

AFAG intimated that the continuing “undercurrents has the potential to mar our democratic credentials, and blur our reputation as one of the most peaceful countries in the sub region,” adding that it fears the current happenings potentially, can cause violence prior, during and after 2012 elections.

The pressure group prescribed that the first measure for tackling these undercurrents would be allowing the various state institutions to carry out their constitutionally mandated duties without the interference of politicians who are not, and will never be custodians of the law.

AFAG, made these concerns known yesterday at a press conference in, Accra and addressed by its Chairman, Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie.  

While coating article 51 of the 1992 constitution which clearly states that “the electoral commission shall, by constitutional instrument, make regulations for the effective performance of its functions under this constitution or any other law, and in particular, for the registration of voters, the conduct of public elections and referenda, including provision for voting by proxy,” the group intimated that “We are where we are today because some people have decided to arrogate to themselves powers which the supreme law of the land has not bestowed on.”

Against this backdrop, AFAG sought to ask if a politician should determine who registers and who does not register in a given constituency.

“Is it the case that people who pay taxes to local authorities and are classified as ordinary residents by the electoral commission, be deprived of registering on the basis that they are not indigenes?”

The group further catalogued cases they considered untoward in the ongoing biometric registration exercise, namely the assault on a leading New Patriotic Party (NPP) member, Ursula Owusu by some NDC supporters for encouraging the people of Odododiodio to register.

AFAG also disclosed that following the assault on the leading NPP member, some members of the NPP who stormed the area the following day were assaulted in the presence of the police.

Also mentioned was the case in which supporters of the ruling party subsequently, stormed Odododiodio to threaten mayhem and in some cases confiscated the cards of people who the Electoral Commission classifies as ordinary residents.

The distraught group narrated that the NDC parliamentary candidate, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye swore to prevent non indigenes from registering even if it meant spilling blood, adding that some ministers of state have lauded the people of Odododiodio for assaulting a member of the opposition.

AFAG, in light of the above, is not convinced that the comments made by Hon Kennedy Agyapong are out of place.

The group hinted that “given the sequence of events and the laid-back attitude adopted by the police in dealing with brutalities perpetrated on a section of the political divide, the comments of the Hon. Member were envisaged,” stressing that “a careful analysis of the statement shows that, it was a conditional statement.”

AFAG posited that the statements by the MP is a clarion call on all to make a firm commitment to play by rules of the very institutions created to serve the good people of Ghana.

“As a group, AFAG is and has always been conscious about the negative effects and repercussions tribalism has on us as a country. Unreservedly, we condemn any attempt to tribalise politics in this country, and hence urge Hon Ken Agyapong to go ahead to do the honorable thing.”

This, notwithstanding, the group added “we stand by the position that, there are systemic grievances and tensions, and therefore society must rise to find solutions to these undercurrents, and desist from gathering the dust, under the carpet.”

AFAG therefore argued that, to turn a blind eye on those whose actions triggered the conditional statement and chastise Hon. Ken Agyapong, is nothing but sheer hypocrisy.

“We are vehemently opposed to the scenario where on an issue of equal measure, one is extolled whiles the other is demonised.”

Meanwhile, AFAG, has without equivocation hit hard at remarks by Mr Kpessah White, the Christian Council and the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) on the substantive issue, describing them as not only sentimental but hypocritical as well.

“In all of their presentations, these groups have failed to interrogate the issue by addressing the remote cause of the issue as opposed to sentimentally and hypocritically, chastising the Hon Member of Parliament.”

STORY: SELORM ATUTORNU

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