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I am not a prophet of doom neither am I a clairvoyant to predict the outcome of the 2016 parliamentary and presidential elections but events foreshadowing the elections suggest that we are going to have a worrisome election as the time approaches.
People who feel overly desperate, for whatever reason, can do the most dangerous things.
When a person is so desperate for political power, that person has the tendency to act in ways that can undermine the stability of the nation.
Why is it that election periods in Ghana are always fretting times?
The period is always marked by unsavory utterances, trickery, provocative communication, and all kinds of activities that have the tendency of sparking mayhem in our society.
Aside the hard hitting debates, the harsh criticism, and the negative mean spirited attitude towards each other, which to some extent, ring as normal with the season, there are already credible signs indicating that the stage is being set for bulldozer crush.
We have had six presidential and parliamentary elections since the country’s return to parliamentary democracy.
The temptation is to think we know the tell-tale signs of what lies ahead with the upcoming elections.
This connotes danger, if that is our current attitude.
There are already disturbing media reports of party activists losing their eyes through attacks by their opponents.(Ghanaweb 2nd,October 2016, 3 News.com, 16th, September 2016).
Graphic online 25th, October, 2016 reports that “Supporters of some political parties are said to have ransacked Electoral Commission offices in the Asunafo South Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region and at Suhum in the Eastern Region, forcing the commission to suspend the exercise…”
What accounts for such political hawkishness and the perennial toxic political environment?
It all boils down to the warped electioneering activities by political parties, the limited influence of political leaders on their unchaperoned followers in the setting of agenda and decision making and the dearth of political leadership on what national politics is all about.
The end result of this hawkish political milieu which we are unable to discern is the kind of rubble rage, violence, mayhem, irreparable damage not only to the economy but in the ethnic, religious, geographic relationship, or the re-demarcation of our political boundaries.
We can’t afford to wait for a tragic day-after only to try a replay to search for what went wrong and how did we fail to notice what or make the right judgement.
What spell does our political parties want to cast on the nation during this election year? Our passion is certainly not a nation under siege or death. Again what’s central to our desire? Is it to have the Natioanal Democratic Congress hold on to power or another party to gain a mandate to form a new government?
While this is being decided I don’t naively expect the political parties to be abstemious-to put on sanctimonious garments and restrict themselves-to shouting pure slogans in their claims during the campaigns, or voluntarily for-go the indulgence of an appetite for taking undue advantage of situations. But irrespective of political affiliation and campaign strategy, what is definitely not our passion is to have our nation put under any form of seige or mayhem.
The last time-and it was the very first time-the two leading parties – NPP, NDC, slugged it out at the court. Even though the public viewing of the entire court proceedings did very little to change our personal opinions about our party’s performance at the elections, there were key lessons many of us lay men and women, including a lot of our young people, got to learn. That was , how cardinal what transpires at the polling stations was to the entire process.
In the previous years, we experienced some toxic communication which aimed at confusing the mind of the public about political opponents and their parties.
This year the bend is on flaring up tempers of the supporters of the various parties and trying to instigate them into thinking that the election could be rigged. Amasignly both NDC and NPP have made statements to that effect. (3news.com/veep-claims-2016, primenewsghana.com-08 September 2016). Disturbingly, the toxic communication is coupled with the projection of the “macho” I speeches, and posturing, to assure the target group of its formidable strength.
Raising the private army
The talk about creating special armed forces to snatch or protect ballot boxes during election is worrisome. The trend started with what were described as “tugs or rouges” who operated under the influence of hard liquor and banned substances. Then came the era of the fun clubs.
From the fun clubs emerged the vigilantes who also sought to create parallel command structure to their parties and government agencies. This was followed by the days of metal lifting body building enthusiasts – Macho men operating as personal guards to political parties.
Each stage of the evolution has witnessed an increase in the ferocity, and inhumane attitude towards “opponents” or victims. Today, our politicians are growing more insatiable in their egos and are wishing to ranch up their command over “fire” power. This is pointedly illustrated with the invitation of foreign experts into the country to train local “body guards” on how to protect our political leaders and crowd control.
This is an ominous move: one that enunciates the arrival and creation of private armies in the country. Something that predicts a”clash of titans” in the not too distant future. How is the commitment to the security and peace of the country projected by the setting up of “private armies?”
It is important for our politicians to understand that such dangerous moves of insisting on raising armed men to police voting centres conflicts the functions of our national security agencies. It is a distraction to our national aspirations and a threat to Ghana’s safety and security. Let’s do our politics with dignity and in fairness.