One of Ghana’s foremost security experts, Prof Kwesi Aning, has diagnosed Ghana’s canker of political violence and has said the problem lies with citizens’ disinterest in mass action.
The Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs & Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) said Ghana’s political class – who make up a very small minority of Ghana’s population – have tested the pulse of the average Ghanaian and found that most people are docile.
“They [politicians] think that it is the [ordinary Ghanaian] who should go out there and fight and lose our lives then if something positive comes, they [politicians] will enjoy.
“Because we don’t have the willingness for mass action and mass engagement, that is why the minority behave the way they do. Because they have tested our pulse and they know we are not going to stand together,” he explained to GhanaWeb in a telephone interview.
Prof Aning was speaking to GhanaWeb in an exclusive interview on Ghana’s security situation with four months to the December polls.
He also blamed the law enforcement authorities for the impunity with which some members of the political class have become powerful brokers of political violence in Ghana.
“The Ghana Police Service will never act in a situation where they think it is the interest of the powers that be that are at stake,” surmised.
He made the following comment for emphasis: “My point is that when institutions of state that are mandated by and paid for with the taxpayers' money fail to act, then the minority [political class] that controls the tools of violence and power will always continue to win.”
He gave an example of the politicisation of state institutions that threaten national peace:
“A minister shoots a gun, she confirms she has shot it but three men and a gun are seized. She is not invited until five days later and suddenly there is even a license covering the gun.
“A 90-year-old woman is killed, 800 kilometres away and then those who matter from the law enforcement side, go to show their face. Kasoa is just 2 kilometres away. That is the reality.”
The Clinical Professor of Peacekeeping Practice at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, USA, was referring to two recent incidents and how the law enforcement agencies have responded to them.
Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East who is also a Minister for Special Development Initiative, Mavis Hawa Koomson, fired shots at a polling station disrupting the process.
Many say she acted recklessly and should be punished, that has not happened. Her party, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) backs her claim that she shot the gun in self-defence.
In the second example that Prof Aning gave, a 90-year-old woman was lynched in a Kafaba, a hard-to-reach community in the Northern Region over claims she is a witch. Police acted swiftly to arrest the alleged killers after public outcry on both social and traditional media.
Prof Aning told GhanaWeb that unless police and other law enforcement agencies crack the whip without fear of the political class the impunity with which politicians behave will remain a threat to national peace.
Ghanaians go to the polls on December 7, 2020 to elect a new President and 275 parliamentarians for the eighth time.
Incumbent, President Nana Akufo-Addo defeated John Mahama in 2016. The 2020 polls will largely between the same candidates.
The stakes in the polls are quite high and analysts say violence that characterised the mass registration exercise point to dangerous times ahead.
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