11 February 2016

Ghana Is Not an Extension of Niger


Two factions of the Zambarama community in Bolgatanga reportedly engaged each other in a free-for-all fight during the visit of a parliamentary candidate of the Tayara party in Niger, where the Zambarama people come from.

The parliamentary candidate, whose name, according to the story we have carried on page two of today's edition of The Chronicle, was given only as Abbas. He was in Bolgatanga to introduce himself to the Zabarama community and also ask for their votes ahead of that country's election later this year.

Information available to The Chronicle indicates that, the candidate, instead of first paying homage to the chief of Zambarama community, rather called on the leader of another group that the chief's side did not recognize and this resulted in a feud.

Alhaji Ibrahim Issah, spokesperson for the Zambarama chief in Bolgatanga, Alhaji Mekasiwa Yahaya, explained that after the candidate and his entourage visited their rival group before coming to the chief's house to introduce himself, confusion erupted between the two sides, because the men at the chief's house tried to prevent the candidate and his entourage from introducing himself.

In the ensuing misunderstanding, posters of the candidate at the chief's house were destroyed by some people from the chief's side, which also angered the supporters of the candidate, who called for reinforcement, leading to pelting of stones, sticks and other offensive objects on sight. The police were, however, called in to deal with the situation.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol allows free movement of people to and from each member country. The Chronicle does not, therefore, see anything wrong with the visit of the parliamentary candidate to Ghana. The free movement protocol does not, however, mean that politicians from each member country can move around the sub region doing partisan politics.

Ghana is not an extension of Niger, for the parliamentary candidate to enter the country and be doing his own thing, without seeking the mandate from the Ghanaian authorities. This conduct clearly breaches the ECOWAS protocol and that is why the said parliamentary candidate, if he is still in the country, must be questioned by the police.

Ghana is a sovereign state, whose territory must not be used for any political activity by non-citizens, without seeking permission, either from the Foreign Ministry or the police. The fact that the Nigeriens are residing in Ghana does not mean that the parliamentary candidate can just walk in and be doing his own thing. If the violence accompanying his illegal political activity had resulted in death or affected the peace of this country, it is Ghana that is going to suffer and not Niger.

What happened in Bolgatanga was unlawful and should be prevented from occurring in the future. In the heat of the Nigerian elections last year, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly was compelled to destroy posters of some of the candidates that had been splashed at vantage points in the Metropolis, because the election was in Nigeria and not Ghana. It was, therefore, wrong for the Zammrama community to have pasted posters of the candidate in Bolgatanga, when the election is in Niger.


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