Ban political health walks ahead of polls – clergyman

Ban political health walks ahead of polls – clergyman


Former Methodist Bishop of Kumasi, Reverend Professor Osei Sarfo- Kantanka is advocating for a ban on all forms of health walk by political parties.

He said even though this suggestion may be deemed as radical, it would help in the maintenance of the peace of the country.

“If the police can say to the political parties that they will not agree to this method of campaigning, it has to be stopped although it could be challenged at the Supreme Court,” he said in an interview with Joy News Monday.

With 15-days to the general elections, the nation has witnessed three clashes between supporters of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP).

These clashes often start with a health walk undertaken by the two dominant parties on the same day but later ended up in a scuffle with scores getting injured.

The first of the clash happened on November 13 when some supporters of the NDC who were joining President John Mahama on an Accra walk with the President ended up in an area close to the Nima residence of the NPP flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

No casualty was recorded in the Nima incident.

The Sunday clash at Asokore in the Eastern Region involving both NPP and NDC supporters was caused by the same activity with more than 10 people injured.

Both parties have blamed the supporters of each other for starting what culminated into a clash.

A similar exercise at Aboabo in Kumasi during a recent tour by President Mahama nearly resulted in violence, but for the intervention of the security agencies.

Sections of Ghanaians have registered their displeasure with the two parties for threatening the security of the country in the run-up to the election.

Some people are suggesting stringent measures be put in place to ensure that the election is not marred by violence.

Rev. Prof Sarfo-Kantanka said health walk activities would be brought to an end if the police make it clear to the citizenry that they cannot control such gatherings.

“The police can say they can hold a health walk but using it as a campaign is not good,” he said.

Head of Political Science Department at the University of Ghana, Dr Bossman Asare believes there has to be a consensus among the political leadership that health walks are not in the interest of the nation.

He said if political parties are going to organize health walks which would end up creating conflict, disagreement and stretching the police, they have to be banned.

“I think the ban is a legitimate one. I believe the police administration should seriously be looking at that,” he added.

Source: Ghana | | AKABP