As the campaigning for the 2016 elections heats up, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas has cautioned politicians against hate speech and politics of insults. Speaking at a national colloquium on electoral violence, Dr. Ibn Chambas advised the politicians to instead focus on the relevant issues of development.

He explained that the country was in the second phase of the electoral cycle that generally begun with the start of the campaign period adding that “the political parties are expected to publicly and constantly reaffirm their commitment to a fair and peaceful process.”

Thus, Dr. Ibn Chambas urged politicians “to desist from attacks on personalities and focus on relevant issues pertaining to the lives of Ghanaians.”

“The election campaign should be an opportunity to debate issues and perspectives instead of trading insults, invectives, use of hate speech,” he added.

Back and forth between leading parties

The flagbearer of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, recently chided President John Dramani Mahama and the flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP,) Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo over what he described as the ‘children politics’ being engaged in by the two.


Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo

The campaign trail has seen them take a number of jabs at each other with the National Democratic Congress’ President Mahama notably describing the NPP flagbearer as a divisive leader and a dictator who could not run the country.

Nana Akufo-Addo himself, on the campaign trail, has described President Mahama as incompetent and an impediment to the State.

Death wish for Mahama

The past week also saw government condemn as hate speech the 1st Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), F.F. Anto’s suggestion President Mahama deserved a death sentence for seeking a second term at the presidency.

Speaking on Accra-based Abusua FM, F.F. Anto said President Mahama ought to be hanged or killed by firing squad following his bid for another four years in power on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

President John Dramani Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama

The NPP Vice Chairman is also quoted by news reports as making reference to the death sentence handed out to a former President, General I. K. Acheampong, who was killed by a firing squad in 1979, indicating that President Mahama deserved a similar fate.

A statement from the Communications Ministry asserted that “hate speech, plotting violence and calls for murder must not have a place in our politics” and condemned what it described as the opposition NPP’s “constant resort to hate speech.”