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Opinions of Sunday, 22 August 2004

Columnist: Akosah-Sarpong, Kofi

Ghana And The War Rumour

The advert in the Monrovia, Liberia-based ?The Analyst? about some Ghanaian opposition parties recruiting mercenaries from neighbouring countries, more specifically the collapsed and troubled ones such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Cote d?Ivoire, to destabilize Ghana, currently West Africa?s oasis of democratic growth, calls for all West Africans to take note and respond. I will prefer a multi-partisan demonstration in various cities in Ghana to drum home the fact that nobody will embark on such deadly venture, for it is not in anybody?s interest.

This kind of immature conduct reflects what has occurred over the years in some West African states that have either being paralyzed, collapsed or appears direction-less. What is strange about the Ghanaian case is that for the past 23 years there has been stability compared to other West African states and democracy is increasingly being grown not only by Ghanaians but the international community. The average Ghanaian talks more these days about the development process, as the Asantehene?s development initiative shows, and the need for democratic growth and its entrenchment than any civil war despite sometimes the acrimonious nature of politics. For Ghanaians know from both the large refugees from other West African states such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d?Ivoire who strides their country and images of war-torn states that flashes on their TV screens to start a civil war.

The speedy reaction by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), which is said to be recruiting the West African mercenaries, reveals how stupid ?The Analysts? advert is and the wrong headedness of those behind it. But come to think of it, in a West Africa where politics is ?weird? and politicians and their Big Men acquaintances, mired in irrational juju-marabou, witchcraft and other deadly superstitions which have made them to behave strangely as the discovery of the Nigerian Okija Shrine reveals how Big Men, in a do-and-die mentality, go to the extend of ritual murders for political expediency, anything is possible in such a volatile region which is the poorest in the world and lead Africa in crime, witchcraft and juju-marabou. And with politicians not in tune and not in love with their people properly anybody can float such dangerous enterprise for political gain, especially the fear factor involved which comes in the fashion of the United States? ?Wag the Tail? syndrome whereby any time, especially during President Bill Clinton?s crisis-ridden time at the White House, there is a crisis such as the Monica Lewinsky episode ?external enemies? are created and attacked to divert peoples attention from domestic concerns. With only four months to general elections in Ghana, the NPP regime may be using this tactics to create fear of threat to Ghana?s stability by casting some opposition parties as a threat Ghana?s instability and therefore not worth voting for.

Aware of the possibility of this Americanesque ploy, the NDC reacted that ?Neither Former President Rawlings nor any top NDC member has the time and disposition to recruit imaginary 'Liberian mercenaries' to destroy what they have taken so much pain and toil to nurture for the development of Ghana?NDC is disgusted at attempts being made by sections of the media to draw the Party into disrepute with totally false stories about so called invasion of Ghana by mercenaries from Liberia." Despite the NDC expressing its fury at the deceptiveness of ?The Analyst? advertisement that "demonstrates the inexplicable fixation of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government with alarmist reports about imaginary attacks on Ghana,? there is an atmosphere of suspicion, fear and dilemma informed by the utterances and actions of politicians and other Big Men from all parties.

If the NPP is employing the ?Wag the tail? tactics in an election year it has to be careful since the American situation is different from Ghana and West Africa. West Africa, where Ghana is located, is still unpredictable in terms of security, having the largest United Nations peacekeepers in the world. More especially West Africa is the most unstable region in Africa and this means you don?t create dangerous atmosphere for possible civil war, for there are a lot of copy cats lurking in the shadow to be like either Charles Taylor or Foday Sankoh or Ansumanu Mann to seize the opportunity and create havoc in a region that is in all measure weak in general security.


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