A parable by Jesus will help us answer the key question on the table.  In the bible, Jesus said: A wealthy man with two sons wanted one of them to do something for him.  He called Son X and said: Go and perform that task.  Son X replied: I won’t go!  So the man called Son Y and said: Go and perform that task.  Son Y replied: I will go.  By the end of the day, according to Jesus, Son X is the one who actually performed the task.  Jesus then asks: Which of the two sons did the will of the father?

Of course, it is the one who disrespected the father to his face, but performed the task.  The other son showed the father fun-fool respect, and did not even pass where the job was.  By that parable Jesus is saying: “Action speaks louder than words.”  During a discussion with friends, I asked: If NDC thugs beat up an NPP team, and then an NPP man says I have declared war, who really declared war?  One friend answered: Before the NPP declared war, the NDC had already started the war.

Nana Akufo-Addo said: “All die be die,” but the NPP has yet to hurt anyone.  Then the NDC, in their zeal to give the NPP a taste of “All die be die,” goes out to beat NPP members in Odododiodio.  Until the violence at Odododiodio there was public pressure on Akufo-Addo for saying: “All die be die.”  But the NDC, in their thoughtlessness, have, unfortunately, gone out to justify that statement.

The NDC may not have thought about it, but when Akufo-Addo said “All die be die” he was actually saying they suspect the NDC will try to use intimidation/violence to win Election 2012, and if they (NDC) do, the NPP will fight back to the death.  That the NPP will adopt “All die be die” was contingent on the unspoken but implied assertion that the NDC will be the first to do violence.  And so in sending thugs against unarmed NPP members in Odododiodio, the NDC, unfortunately, have made a prophet out of Nana Akufo-Addo.

The NDC drew first blood of Election 2012 with the violence in Odododiodio.  None of the elder or groups shouting themselves hoarse today said anything to condemn that act of violence or the inaction of the police.  But when Agyapong – whose beaten colleagues were denied police protection even though the security officers were present – speaks violence by saying they will protect themselves and fight back, those elders and groups have found their voices and are condemning him.

Ei! Are we more incensed by statements of violence than by actual acts of violence?  Is it because the NDC is in national administration?

Dangerous Antecedents

At this point, it will be very instructive to point out that non-condemnation of acts of violence and police inaction/connivance eventually led to the creation of the organised-crime group, mafia, in Palermo, Sicily, before it spread throughout Italy and got transported to the USA.  When victims of acts of violence went to court, lots of judges took bribes and suspects walked even in the face of overwhelming evidence.  National administration did nothing, the Church kept quiet.  Eventually, people formed vigilante groups for self-defence.  When that failed they turned to organised groups for protection, and then criminals entered the protection trade.  They will send criminals to attack people, and then they will come and say pay us to protect you.

Of course I do not wish that on my country, but it started with police inaction in stopping civic violence.

We have a miniature example here in the creation of land guards.  Police inaction/bribery and culpability of some judges over time has made the land guard phenomenon a national headache.  And it is still growing.

“The NDC drew first blood of Election 2012 with the violence in Odododiodio.  None of the elder or groups shouting themselves hoarse today said anything to condemn that act of violence or the inaction of the police.  But when Agyapong – whose beaten colleagues were denied police protection even though the security officers were present – speaks violence by saying they will protect themselves and fight back, those elders and groups have found their voices and are condemning him.  Ei! Are we more incensed by statements of violence than by actual acts of violence?”

“In the final analysis, Ghana must thank Kennedy Agyapong for making a statement that has raised to the top of public agenda this whole issue of verbal/acts of violence.  Before he spoke everyone and every entity whose voice carried weight had their heads in the sand.  We went about making verbal platitudes for peace, while refusing to go public to name and shame the actual speakers and perpetrators of violence… [but] his statement has been strong enough to push us to find the courage to confront the matter head on.”

General Hypocrisy

I will end this article with a section on our general national hypocrisy.  When politicians/people have made statement of insults/violence in the past, eminent elders and respectable groups have kept quiet.  Even those who try to speak to the matter simply say we need peace; especially if the speaker of violence is in national administration or from the party that created it.  To call the creature by name, however, that is hypocritical, because they seem to be under the illusion that merely stressing the need for peace will miraculously begat peace.

Before he became president, Professor J. E. A. Mills earned the accolade Asomdweehene (Man of Peace.)  After, becoming president, however, he has forsaken that title.  He does not utter insults or words of violence, but has never condemned any of his men and women and close associates who do.  Few weeks ago at an NDC rally in Odododiodio, soon after Mills had called for peace, the NDC chairman, Aseidu Nketia, spewed the unpalatable (in Mills’ presence, and the president said nothing.)  Also the fact that the NDC members come back to speak insults/violence again and again shows the president neither scolds them in private.

Yet President Mills will go somewhere else and say: We need peace before, during and after the election.  He is refusing to attack the issue head on, maybe for reasons of political correctness.  He is like a parent who encourages the truancy of his child by not scolding him when he misbehaves, but go about apprising friend of the need to raise responsible children.  I will not use self-delusional for President Mills, but he is certainly in self-denial of the actual issues we must deal with if we want to preserve peace in our realm.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, Ghana must thank Kennedy Agyapong for making a statement that has raised to the top of public agenda this whole issue of verbal/acts of violence.  Before he spoke everyone and every entity whose voice carried weight had their heads in the sand.  We went about making verbal platitudes for peace, while refusing to go public to name and shame the actual speakers and perpetrators of violence.  We did not erupt even when members of one political party, including a woman, was beaten up by thugs of another party.  But when Ken Agyapong, angry over police inaction, declares war, his statement has been strong enough to push us to find the courage to confront the matter head on.

No, I am not NPP person.  I am enraged, because what happened to Ursula Owusu could easily happen to my mother, auntie, sister or niece any day.  That is the principle of my rage over hypocrisy that makes us ignore acts of violence and rather condemn a statement of violence.

Both peace and violence are the result of human activity.  When there is peace, the way to ensure peace is not just to preach peace, but to make sure no one does acts of violence.  If someone does an act of violence the best way to ensure peace is not to talk peace, but punish the culprit quickly and effectively as a deterrent.

No one can claim to be in fair peaceful contest when the opponent is beating his/her colleagues.  That is hypocrisy.  More importantly, we cannot claim we desire peace, but fail to publicly condemn act of partisan-political violence against unarmed persons, including a woman.  That is hypocrisy.  It is even more hypocritical if we fail – or is it, refuse – to condemn acts of violence, but jump onto the roofs to condemn a man in anguish over acts of violence against his colleagues and angry over police inaction and so states that they will fight back to defend themselves and declare war to that effect.

In a modern nation-state, when thugs beat up your colleagues and the police are on the spot, but refuse to protect them, you (and your colleagues) are worse than orphans, and self-preservation dictates that you fight back to stay alive in good health; to do otherwise is to commit suicide.

We cannot claim to be Christians and Muslims if we ignore Jesus teaching that “Action speaks louder than words.”  So let us condemn all people who speak insults and verbal violence.  Let our elders and groups boldly mention perpetrators and speak directly to them to their faces, no matter who they are.  And let us publicly decry acts of violence, name and shame the perpetrator and insist that the police arrest, prosecute and jail them.

Otherwise, more than statements of violence it is our general hypocrisy in not condemning acts of violence that will be the beginning of the unravelling of our peace and the undoing of our great nation of glorious destiny.

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