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Opinions of Saturday, 7 August 2004

Columnist: Akosah-Sarpong, Kofi

Coup Talks And The Uses Of Rawlings

From the impresario of Ghana?s coup making, Mr. John Jerry Rawlings, to President John Kuffour to Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Capt (Rtd). Nkrabeah Effah Dartey, and more, the issue of military coup detat occurring has come into the forefront of Ghana?s stability, development and democratic journey, a situation that worries development minded Ghanaians. Dartey says, ?Should our constitution be upheld for 20 years without military interventions, the country would become a paradise.? Dartey?s remarks reflects the government?s uneasiness with military coup and the fact that the government up till now hasn?t got a firm grip on the security situation of the country. The government appears to live in fear and this indicates the weakness of the government, in this instance the government appears weak because it has failed to drawn heavily from Ghana?s history of military coups.

If for the past 23 years there haven?t been military coups in Ghana, then there shouldn?t be any now, and never. Why? For both logical and material reasons, the Kuffour regime has the military coups history to draw from to prevent any coup occurring. That is if the regime doesn?t go way of the Kofi Busia and Hilla Limman reckless regimes where despite security reports to the effects that coup planning was on the way the regimes failed miserably to do anything about it and saw the overthrow of the regimes. If the Rawlings regimes, both civilian and military, thwarted any real and imagined coup attempts for over twenty years, and laid the foundation for the on-going democratic dispensation, then the Kuffour regime, and any future democratic regime for that matter, should rule without any fear of coup. Why? The solutions for preventing military coups lies within Ghana.

Putting partisan politics or political or personal animosity aside, the Kuffour?s National Security Council or officials should expand to include consultations with the former Rawlings government, including Rawlings himself, all the political parties and members of the Busia, Limman and Nkrumah regimes on security failures and successes. All variables that for long have been used to topple governments in Ghana should be factored in in developing national security. These should include cultural factors such as juju-marabou mediums, shrines and oracles, priests and prophets. The security officials, government officials and all political parties, when the need arise, should constantly educate the public about the implications of military coups in development, as Dartey did.

As part of drawing from Ghana?s military coup history, Kuffour?s security officials should create a data bank of psychological profile of all major figures that have been involved in military coups, from Emmanuel Kotoka to Akwesi Afrifa to Jerry Rawlings and so on. The data should help in screening those to be admitted into the Ghana Armed Forces for security reasons. As it is increasingly becoming open that almost all officers involved in coup are said to be psychopaths, with poor up-bringing and as Dr. Daniel Tetteh Osabu-Kle, 65, a former air force officer in the Ghana Air Force and a military administrator under Rawlings? PNDC government and currently a political scientist at Canada?s Carleton University, has reflected that ?all military officers that get involved in coups are not good officers.? He told me in a recent chat that most military officers involved in coups are clearly criminals, chronic liars, mistrustful, tribalists and psychopaths. He added that as national security is increasingly tied to national development, it is important that Ghanaians notice, without playing any tribalism, that some tribes are known to have been involved in coup more than others. That?s some tribes are prone to making military coups than others, and are, therefore, responsible for some of the problems Ghana is going through today. National security development should include this in its planning.

In the face of threats of military coup hanging on Ghana all factors should be considered seriously and nothing seen as irrelevant when Kuffour?s security officials are developing security policy, which is on-going, and its ensuing enforcements.


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