Interior Minister Mark Owen Woyongo has called the bluff of those calling for his dismissal over his comment on the recent bloody attacks during the Talensi by-election.
Mr Woyongo, whose ‘violence begets violence’ comment in connection to clashes during the Talensi by-election drew sharp public criticism from a cross section of the Ghanaian public, virtually told those calling for his head to go to hell.
“Resign for what? When people said ‘all die be die’ – ‘we have Atiwa’ and all sorts of nasty incidents in the past … how many people resigned?” the minister fired back yesterday.
Defending his position on the damning comments that provoked public anger, Woyongo said what he stated was biblical, in obvious reference to the Mosaic law, ‘an eye for an eye’.
The NPP Minority in Parliament also joined the call for the minister to step down or be fired for justifying the violence that characterised the Talensi by- election.
The violence, instigated by Sofo Azorka, the NDC Northern Regional Chairman, and his boys, led to some injuries and damage to vehicles and property in areas such as Tongo Central, Winkogo, Baare, Shiega and Duusi, all in the Talensi constituency. The NPP’s Bolga Bulldogs also reacted by attacking some NDC members.
Police investigations identified a number of vigilante groups they accused of being behind the violence. They included the NDC-affiliated Azorka Boys and the Invincible Forces and Bolga Bulldogs of the NPP.
The Interior Minister, commenting on Kumasi- based Ultimate FM, said “violence begets violence; the Azorka Boys would not mete out violence if they were not provoked. The other side also brought in some people—the Invisible Forces and the Bolga Bull Dogs; so violence begets violence,” he boasted, apparently forgetting that he is the Interior Minister.
Reports said the Azorka Boys even assaulted a police officer who wanted to intervene in their marauding action.
Woyongo muddied the waters further on pro-government Radio Gold when he said what he was reported to have said was rather biblical, in reference to ‘an eye for an eye’.
The Minority MPs rejected his explanations, putting pressure on President Mahama to sack his Interior Minister over the comments.
Deputy Minority Leader Dominic Nitiwul told JoyFM that an average Ghanaian would be “angry and disappointed” in the minister for justifying political vigilantism.
He said Mr Woyongo goofed and that he was convinced the minister would be disappointed in himself upon sober reflection.
“He should tell us why he should be there. I believe sincerely that he has goofed big time. If the Interior Minister is not able to proffer proper explanation to the people of Ghana, it is right [to resign]. If he doesn’t move, the President must remove him; it is as simple as that. If he has no excuse he has to go.”
Mr Nitiwul also .challenged the minister to “act and get the police to act” by getting persons behind the Talensi violence as well as other political violent activities arrested arid prosecuted.
“Until he does that, I think he meant what he said,” the Deputy Minority Leader stressed.
The minister, however, insisted that he was not going to step aside, vowing to remain in office.
Speaking on Accra- based Kasapa FM Thursday morning, Mr Woyongo described calls for his resignation as baseless and laughable.
He said those who said “all die be die’ should resign first.
When the interviewer draw his attention to the fact that the politician who made reference to “all die be die” was not an elected official at the time, Mr Woyongo said “you mean when we had the Atiwa by-election we had no minister in charge of the Interior”?
The minister said “violence begets violence is a truism. If you don’t perpetrate violence, there won’t be a reaction. I made that point very clear but that doesn’t mean I am justifying the violence and that I am supporting it and endorsing it, no”.
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