Ghana opposition supporter killed at election rally

2016-12-07 07:22
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Ghana decides: Economy takes centre stage

2016-12-07 10:15

Ghana goes to the pollsWATCH

Accra - A supporter of Ghana's main opposition party was killed this week following violent clashes at a campaign rally as tensions flared ahead of presidential polls, police said on Tuesday.

Six people were in a critical condition following Monday's clashes which were the latest violence in the run-up to Wednesday's presidential vote. Incumbent President John Mahama, who has appealed for calm, will face off with opposition favourite Nana Akufo-Addo.

Last month Akufo-Addo's Accra residence was reportedly attacked while he was away on a campaign tour in what his party claimed was an attempt to "create an atmosphere of fear within Ghana".

Ken Yeboah, deputy police commissioner for the northern region, said a supporter of Akufo-Addo's NPP party was beaten to death during a political rally in Chereponi on Monday at which clashes erupted between supporters of the president and backers of the opposition.

"There was a clash between the youth... they started throwing stones, fighting, then the police went in and separated (them)," Yeboah said.

He said that despite the police intervention, clashes resumed and the youths began to set fire to campaign materials and discharge firearms.

"The young person who died was beaten," he said, adding that 14 other supporters were injured in the violence, including the six who are in a critical condition.

Yeboah described the clashes as "disappointing" and appealed for calm.

"For now both parties can be blamed for it. We can't blame security," he said.

Macho men 

Tensions have been rising in the run-up to the election in Ghana, which is normally seen as a beacon of stability and democracy in Africa.

The problems have been exacerbated by hulking vigilantes known as "macho men", reportedly hired by political parties to protect politicians.

But they have been accused of going beyond their brief.

"They pose a real risk in terms of violence, intimidation and creating the basis for violent acts with the possibility of reciprocal responses," said Dr Kwasi Aning, director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).

The centre has this year identified 16 militias in Ghana, with eleven based in Tamale -- the region rocked by Monday's violence.

With names like "Aluta (wrestling) Boys", "Pentagon", "Al Qaeda" or "Al Jazeera", members are mostly illiterate and tend to come mostly from poor backgrounds in the Muslim-majority region.

The main political parties have denounced the groups, but Aning remains sceptical.

"That is the rhetoric (but) political parties have not really distanced themselves. There have been meetings between the police and these groups in which assurances have been given to the police, but the reality on the ground is different," he said.

The militias have been accused of stealing ballot boxes and attacking or intimidating their political opponents in Ghana's past elections.

The flagging economy and corruption allegations against officials have also been key issues during campaigning.

With exports of gold, cocoa and oil, Ghana's economy enjoyed significant growth until recent years when huge foreign debts slowed down progress.

Another issue that may affect voters is technical problems at polling stations which government worker Abdul Basit believes may prevent people from casting their ballots.

"That could bring violence and tension. That is our fear. Especially for this part of the country (Tamale)," said Basit.

Following the last elections in 2012, Akufo-Addo - who polled 47.7% of the vote compared to Mahama's 50.7% - contested the results in Ghana's constitutional court, although he was ultimately unsuccessful.

This time he has vowed to accept the results even if he loses.

Read more on:    john mahama  |  ghana  |  west africa  |  ghana 2016 elections

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

7 weirdly awesome pets you can own

If you think it’s too boring to own a cat or a dog, consider getting one of these pets.

 
 

Paws

Pack theory: fact or fiction?
Perfect dog-walking 1: Why dogs pull on the lead
SA stats: The role of pets in families
The top 6 poisonous foods for your pet
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.