Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mercenarism As A Threat To Democratic Consolidation In Ghana

Ghana, increasingly being perceived as a stable, democratic country and the ‘gateway to (West) Africa’, is scheduled to go to the polls in November 2016 to either maintain or change the democratically elected government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Typical of an election year, major security concerns exists within civil society regarding a peaceful change-over of government. This security concern is informed by a turbulent history of coups d├ętat and conflict spill-overs across borders of ECOWAS member States and now terror attacks.

Interviews granted and comments made by security analysts in the media, seminars and workshops in the recent past indicated no major security concerns in an election year but current developments seemingly negate this assertion. In fact, the general consensus during these seminars was that the security situation in the country was stable, but with a caveat that it is an election year and there is need for the security agencies to be on the alert and civil society to be only cautiously optimistic.

The response to this particular observation is twofold: firstly, that most participants in the security debate were aware of the instability in the sub-region and the possibility of consistent conflict spill-overs from the Western to the Eastern parts of West Africa. This is reflected in the systematic movement or gradation of the epi-centre of conflicts/civil wars from Senegal through the Mano River region to Cote d'Ivoire with Ghana or Togo appearing to be next in line.

Civil society, however, expects Ghana’s national security apparatus under Yaw Donkor NOT Baba Kamara to guard against any unforeseen destabilization.

Secondly, elections in Ghana are always characterized by widespread tension in which pronouncements by political elites band sensational headlines by the media, create the general fear, insecurity and tension.

Readers should not forget how the state played a dangerous propaganda game with the three South African ex-police officers, who were arrested in Ghana for offering illegal training to some members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) including drivers and photographers.

Again, the security agencies are said to have these developments under control and must be fair NOT selective.

NB: Additional files from Mercenarism in West Africa