I had a call from a professional journalist buddy of mine from outside our continent wanting a confirmation that Ghana’s newly installed Government was molesting supporters and officers of the erstwhile regime. To avoid soiling our image abroad, I gave him an emphatic ‘no’ for an answer. But in our social media generation, he disagreed with me and later sent me ‘evidence’ of what he had read earlier on the internet.
The recent events like some perceived NPP supporters chasing their perceived NDC opponents in some state run enterprises do not portend well for our globally well acclaimed democratic credentials. In fact,it is like our proverbial ‘poo poo of the lizard’,which is usually black with a whitish tip.
When the whole world applauds us for our democratic maturity but we end up making the lives of some of compatriots uncomfortable because they are on the losing side in a national election, we deceive ourselves and those applauding us.The mantra ‘yen aban aba’,to wit;our government has now taken over or has come smacks of immaturity, backwardness and is anti-progress.
I am not attacking the current Government and its supporters.Indeed,the NDC and NPP have in turns charged on their supporters each time they have won elections since our fourth republican journey as a nation from December 1992.The NDC claims that the precedence was set in 2001 after Flight Lieutenant Rawlings was exiting power after 19 years, both as a military ruler and a democratically elected Executive President and President Kufuor and the NPP were taking over.
Accusations that NDC supporters and officers were asked to ‘proceed on leave’ set the tone for reprisal attacks in 2009 so some NPP supporters also paid with their skins and some jobs were also snatched.Come 2017,we are hearing the cries of the NDC sympathizers for similar reasons.We have heard of the revocation of the jobs of Chief Executives of MMDAs and other state enterprises.
The bottom line is that, Ghana’s transitions have been characterized by forced evictions, car seizures, confrontation instead of cooperation, which has led to a highly polarised political environment. This is why we have the transition law. The law makes it categorical that public office holders appointed by the outgoing president or Government must exit as well after properly handing over. As they say, they must jump or walk away before they get pushed.
There are however, some CEOs of state organizations appointed by the Public Services Commission, for instance who cannot be touched or pushed until their contracts run out.Unfortunately,these rampaging party foot soldiers careless and so go after everyone they perceive to be their political opponents. Not only that, they seize public toilets, Toll booths and other public places .
This situation must stop somewhere. We have come a very long way to have a losing sitting president conceding defeat and handing over peacefully. Why can’t we get to the point where both the winning and losing party supporters referring to the incoming Government as ‘yen aban'(our Government)?
But it brings up the question of the kind of police service we operate. Civil society has asked why the police appears powerless in arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators of these acts. The response has been that,the IGP himself stands at the very edge of getting pushed out and so doesn’t seem to have the (vim) strength to back his men and women to do what is right.
Is it possible that,going forward,the appointment of the IGP,Chief of Defense Staff and other heads of state security can be done under the same conditions as those of the Chief Justice,Electoral Commissioners etc?With that,they can be bold to work like the true professionals we want them to be irrespective of which party is in power.
The attacks are shameful and must stop!
By Kojo Ackaah-Kwarteng,
Head of Station,Onua 95.1