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Feature Article of Saturday, 16 June 2012

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

If Need Be The Ghana Armed Forces Must Act Swiftly

December Polls: If Need Be The Ghana Armed Forces Must Act Swiftly To Save Ghana

From The Consequences Of Electoral Violence

By Kofi Thompson

Not too long ago, we saw the disastrous effect that disputed elections had on the lives of millions of ordinary Ivorians.

The fighting that broke out over the election results arose directly as a result of that unlucky nation's mostly-ruthless and selfish ruling elites' lack of foresight; their unwholesome lust for power and their shameful power-drunkenness.

Coming closer to home, as a people, we ought to learn a lesson from the trauma currently being experienced by the little over a thousand fellow citizens, who have had their lives turned upside down, in Hohoe, as a result of communal violence.

Their misery - and that of Ghanaians elsewhere in the country suffering from communal violence - results directly from the intolerance and narrow-mindedness, of a failed few, amongst the leadership of two communities, which hitherto had lived side by side harmoniously for decades.

One hopes, as the December presidential and parliamentary elections approach, that the ultimate guarantors of the territorial integrity of the Ghanaian nation-state, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) - together with all the other agencies responsible for protecting the safety of the Republic and that of all its citizens, in whom sovereignty actually resides, under our constitution - have an operational plan in place, which will prevent selfish politicians from plunging our country into violence and chaos, because they are dissatisfied with the outcome of the December presidential and parliamentary elections.

In our democracy, the judiciary, through the law courts - even with all their shortcomings - are the arbiters of electoral disputes.

It is also the duty of all political parties and Ghana's political leaders, to spell it out clearly and unambiguously, to their party members and supporters, that electoral violence is completely unacceptable in today's Ghana.

Nothing must done to ruin Ghana's international reputation as a peaceful and stable democracy in Africa. It is that intangible and priceless asset that gives investors the confidence to invest in our national economy.

There can therefore be no justification for the sort of violence that we witnessed during the recent biometric voter-registration exercise, being repeated on polling day, and its immediate aftermath.

The security agencies have an obligation to act swiftly to impose order, should there be a breakdown in law and order as a result of disputed elections.

If political parties and their leadership fail to be responsible, and are unable to reign in those of their supporters who are predisposed to violence, it would simply mean that they had abnegated their responsibilities as leaders - and failed in their duty to protect and ensure the well-being of Mother Ghana.

It would mean, in practice, that they and their parties had lost the moral right to offer themselves to lead our nation and its people. Under those circumstances, all patriotic Ghanaians expect the GAF to act swiftly to save our country from the consequences of the actions and inaction of such dangerous and irresponsible politicians.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

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