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Signs Of Coming Pain

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 Source: The Catalyst

(Written on Monday 9th April 2012)

According to J.B. Phillips, writer and clergyman (1906-1982) “If words are to enter men's minds and bear fruit, they must be the right words shaped cunningly to pass men's defenses and explode silently and effectually within their minds.” Politicians the world over have the duty of speaking the right words to their followers for peace and stability of nations.

Truth be told, Ghana is sitting on a time bomb. The intricacies of the on-going Biometric Registration Exercise by the Electoral Commission is a pointer to trouble ahead of this country in the forthcoming elections, and something must be done to avert the looming catastrophe from falling on the nation.

For the first time under the 4th republican constitution, the voter registration exercise has become more or less a war between the NDC and the NPP. The violence that has characterised the biometric voter registration exercise cannot be swept under the carpet. This is a clear sign of things to come in the general elections and the earlier pragmatic steps are taken to forestall widespread violence in the elections in December, and to protect the integrity of the polls, the better this country will be served.

The police are doing their best but it will not be a bad idea to involve the soldiers right from this stage. In the opinion of The Catalyst, we must not wait until the expected happens in the elections before the Special Forces are deployed to save this country from the hands of evil men who are up in arms to destroy it at all cost. For example, the soldiers should be on street patrols as back-up for the police.

One may however ask why the current development. In our candid opinion, what we can see now is a tip of the iceberg of the ‘all die be die’ strategy as far as this year’s elections are concerned. Of course, the violence cannot be blamed entirely on one political party. We however must trace the root cause of the problem, and that is the only way we can be able to solve it if we so mean to do.

Not too long ago, a secret recording exposed NPP flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as telling his party activists in a closed door meeting in the eastern regional capital Koforidua, of his 2012 elections philosophy dubbed ‘all die be die.’ This was interlaced with ethnic political undertones as he charged the Akan ethnic group to put on the armour of war and go for the kill during the elections in order to prove their bravery to some other ethnic groups that have always had their way as far as elections in the country are concerned.

What should have happened was for this warmongering speech to have been met with resounding condemnation by all and sundry. First, to send the signal to desperate and obsessive politicians that this country is not ready to burn, and second, to serve as a warning to politicians to mind their language whether in the closets or in the open.

Unfortunately, our civil society and religious groups shied away, either as a sign of pretence that the ethnicity-laced warring statement by the opposition leader was harmless, or because it came from the leader of the NPP, a party they have over the years found extremely difficult to criticise.

We can vividly recall Prof Kwesi Yanka of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Legon say at his ‘Di Wo Fie Asem’ Lecture at the British Council Hall, in defence of the NPP flagbearer that what he meant by the ‘all die be die’ speech was for his party supporters to show courage in the face of intimidation.

Following the NPP flagbearer’s ‘all die be die’ speech, elements of the NPP such as MP for Assin North, Kennedy Agyepong and NPP youth organiser, Antony Carbo have gone on record to say that Ghana would become Rwanda and Afghanistan respectively. NPP chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey is also on record to have said that Ghanaian Akans would emulate the example of their Ivorian counterparts in fighting the rest of the ethnic groups in the country ‘for their birth right.’

We will be naïve as a nation to think that as such clear-cut violent statements from the NPP leadership are left hanging or being defended by people who should know better, the supporters of the NDC would sit idly by and expect to be killed and maimed by supporters of the NPP on the orders or incitements of their leaders. Common-sense dictates that there is the tendency for NDC supporters to also get ready for either self-defence or meeting any aggression of their political opponents towards them boot for boot.

After all, if the likes of Prof. Kwesi Yanka think that ‘all die be die’ was such a harmless statement which connotes admonition to exercise bravery in the face of intimidation, then it could be applicable to all sides of the political divide. The NDC must also stand up to the NPP in the face of intimidation.

We sincerely think however that our civil society and religious groups including those in the academia have failed this country regarding the looming danger we are faced with in this year’s elections.

We therefore think that the onus lies on the security forces to salvage the country from evil intensions in the elections. Whiles the police do their part, we believe that our gallant soldiers also have a big role to play in safeguarding our fledgling democracy by ensuring that every internal aggression in the name of democratic elections is crashed. We cannot allow the coming pain to afflict this country and erode all the gains we have made since 1992.

We rest our case for now.

Columnist: The Catalyst