Opinions Mon, 18 Jun 2007

The Next Coup D'etat in Ghana

Let us continue to pray that 31st December, 1981, was the last of coup d’état in Ghanaian history. With each passing year, with each successful general election, our confidence continues to grow and our prayers seem to be answered. This growing confidence is bases on almost three decades of no coups, which is consequently based, presumably, on two major factors or arguments; the presence of private media and the fear of an insurrection. But these arguments are so fallacious that it is bordered on infantilism. It is like the parasite, who, in light of no preventive measure, is presumed, would not invade the body for of fear of a new, untried and untested pseudo remedy. In the same manner, Ghanaians attribute the non occurrence of coup d’état explicitly on these two major factors.

Yet a critical analysis and an assiduous study of these theories reveal a very dangerous form of complacency; that coups would happen in spite of the said factors when the time is right. Thus, these theories must be debunked with religious zeal. Here is a summary and an equally summarized critique. Let us take the first point:


The conventional wisdom prevalent is that, in the past, coup plotters had merely to seize the monopolized State owned media and viola, they were at Osu Castle. The argument goes that it will be impossible- I would have preferred if proponents had used improbable- in this era of mass and private media for a coup to be successful. In other words, the numerous radio and the few T.V stations would be too challenging or impossible ( improbable?) for would-be coup planners to handle. (Would they be broadcasting from secure and underground locations?) This thought shows the naivety and total lack of knowledge of Ghanaians about the modus operandi of the military. A refresher course would suffice. History tells us that, the first victims of coup d’état had mostly been the ministers of state and government. And always, they had been effectively rounded up from their homes and offices and incarcerated unless a hint or a tip off causes otherwise.

The same fate would befall the editors, publishers and program directors of the various media; the designated saviors of new Ghana. And all it would take is a squad or platoon of soldiers previously and carefully briefed and dispatched to these locations which are publicly known. Directors and editors would be forced to shut down or broadcast scripted messages to the nation. Of course they can refuse but the barrel of an A.K 47 is very persuasive indeed.

Let us assume that these would- be coup plotters are so dumb that they successfully overthrow the government, yet they leave the media alone. Would the media jeopardize journalistic integrity and forgo ethics by misleading the country into believing that nothing has actually happened? Would you trust the media afterwards if they undertake such misdeeds? No, we would lose complete confidence and trust in the fourth estate.

Whether it is State owned media or numerous private media, the principle is the same. They would be taken control of by the coup planners to do their exact bidding.

Now the second point.


Although insurrections has happened in the past and in various countries across the globe, it occurrences are rare. In fact, it is the exception and not the rule. And it has never happened in Ghana.

Fellow Ghanaians, please look in the very depths of your heart and answer the following questions: if an elective and legitimate administration is forcefully and prematurely overthrown by Dagombas or Mamprusi, would the Northerners partake in a mass insurrection? Or if the coup plotters are predominantly Ashantes, Fantes or Ewes, would their kinsmen participate in the said insurrection? Truthfully and honestly search your soul and answer these questions.

Again, judging from the pathological hate and abhorrence towards the NPP, would the NDC encourage the faithful to take part in an insurrection? Conversely, if it happens to be the NDC or any other party, would NPP encourage insurrection? Please, do not deceive yourself and answer in the affirmative. We are Ghanaians and we know ourselves.

Let us put aside party and tribal politics and consider another scenario: would the average Ghanaian, mindful of cynical politics, fearful of military and the police disrespect for the rule of law, set aside his succulent Fufu or Akwele or Kenkey and take to the streets? No. I need not say more. In the end, only these two theories, the media and mass insurrection, out of many can possibly prevent another coup. But it would have to be explicitly expressed, nationally discussed, debated and imbedded in the consciousness of the average Ghanaian. Or better yet, the love of the country and our place in history would be the best preventive measure; and that might not even be enough. What are we to do, Ghana?

Wake up Ghana, wake up. Oh, I wish I have the geniuses of Anokye, Lycurgus and Solon.
Or the pen of mighty Jefferson.
Our problems would I solve,
With my soul I will involve.
Our land, in the future, might not hold up.
Wake up Ghana, wake up.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Afrifa, Akwasi