BUILDING AND SUSTAINING PEACE -ASK
I have struggled over the period to come to terms with the discussions that have bombarded our ears as well as the airwaves over the past week.
Initially, we were made to believe some South African citizens came into the country upon an invitation by a private security company and are to help train the security personnel of the said company.
Then as the story unfolded, goals started shifting. In the New Patriotic Party (NPP), many differing views were voiced on the same subject. While to some, the NPP did not bring into the country any mercenaries, to others, they were brought in to train body guards of the flag bearer, his wife, and those of his vice presidential candidate and his wife.
What was more ridiculous, was the press conference held by the acting Chairman of the party Mr. Freddie Blay in which he sort to portend that there were plans in place to harm the flag bearer of the party. Obviously, an afterthought, after their guests were busted.
As part of the admissions for bringing these three foreign nationals into the country and the justifications thereof, we were made to believe that the smuggling into the country of these individuals was to result in training NPP supporters in crowd control as the party flag bearer’s popularity is soaring to heights that the security of the country is seen to be unable to handle.
Well, as a political watcher, I have not done any scientific study to measure the popularity of the candidate, yet, I know there is no other scientific way of measuring the popularity of a politician than the percentage of votes gathered at the polls.
It remains a fact, that, in the 2008 elections, Nana Akufo-Addo obtained more votes than was in 2012 in percentage terms. To this end, one could say his popularity dwindled over the years. On this basis, for one to posit that a candidate who lost votes, declining from six regions to four as at the first round of the 2008 elections, to two regions at the close of the 2008 elections, and to one and half by close of the 2012 elections, is gaining much popularity to warrant training of private security, is to say the least, disingenuous.
It emerged that these individuals were imported to train supporters of the New Patriotic Party in crowd control as well as armed combat and weapon control. It makes one wonder whether the flag bearer of the party is preparing to meet and address Afghanistan citizens in a peaceful country like Ghana.
We have had candidates that contested elections in this country. Per our laws, any individual is at liberty to apply to the Ghana Police Service for police protection as well as escort when the need so arises. We have not been told of any such request to the police which was denied to warrant the smuggling in of mercenaries under the pretext of business men.
We have enjoyed stable peace in this country at least under this Fourth Republican constitution which has so far lasted for 24 years. Over the period, we have had John Agyekum Kuffour contested elections. We have had John Evans Atta Mills contested elections. We have had John Dramani Mahama now president, contested elections. We have even had Akufo-Addo contested elections on two occasions. Could one explain the reasons why in the past, no other candidate had mercenaries imported to train body guards?
The alleged involvement by one Capt. Koda, a man who is said to be the head of security for the NPP flag bearer is a development we must all be concerned about. If these claims are true, under his watch and command, the Invincible Forces had had cause to misbehave at the headquarters of the party.
Under his watch, there were several threats to our security and safety. The internal rifts in the NPP which resulted in serious security breaches, is an open book for all to see.
It is inherent, for this reason, to ensure, that, anything that threatens the peace and security of our people are condemned. The Ghanaian that I am, I have observed many conflict situations that did not urger well for citizens of those countries.
Political violence is a major issue to many people. The mere fact that people can hide behind some of these to perpetrate crimes that would naturally not happen, is the reason to worry.
The desire for one man, to lead this country, although legitimate as it may appear, must be done with some respect to the people. Securing victory in an election is an act that must be respected. That cannot be done, or, must not be done or seen to be done at a threat to the people.
A study of the incoherence in the responses packaged by the NPP when this issue broke can be analysed from the angle that the party was caught pants down without the slightest idea that these mercenaries would be apprehended.
If there were no intentions of hiding the activities of these individuals, they would not be brought into the country under the pretext of business men. It would have been stated, their mission for entering the country, which would have allayed all fears of our citizens.
The discussions, no matter how they went, had left questions in the minds of people. Could we attempt to imagine if these mercenaries were brought into this country by the National Democratic Congress (NDC)? What would be the interest of the media and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in this matter? To the extent that many days after the apprehension, the Christian Council, the Ghana Bar Association and all other CSOs have not found their voices to speak?
The implications of training people in weapon handling and leaving them onto the streets in the event that their master does not win the elections for which they are being trained, must be measured realistically. We shall be putting to danger, as had been the case with other nations that are war-ridden, where children trained in weapon handling were used for specific purposes and were left to their fate, our nation, where these individuals would apply their newly acquired profession at the expense of the nation, as armed robbers and rebels.
We have a country to build. We have a country to bequeath our younger generations. We have a people to protect. We have a legacy to establish, and we have a history to leave behind. Let us not allow anyone to alter the course of that destiny. What is wrong remains wrong and what is right, shall remain same.
God bless our homeland Ghana.