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Opinions of Monday, 21 December 2020

Columnist: Philip Gebu

Maintaining Ghana’s 3rd Most Peaceful Country in Africa ranking

Tourism globally is still on the low Tourism globally is still on the low

The year 2019 was an unprecedented year in terms of tourism in Ghana. The success of that year was supposed to be a stepping stone that will eventually flourish and plans where advanced to go ahead with the ‘Beyond the Return’ concept which aimed at keeping the momentum gathered in 2019.

Then, 2020 begins and unfortunately, COVID-19 strikes and brings everything to a standstill until recently when our main International airport was opened to allow the resumption of international and domestic flights.

Tourism globally is still on the low and until the UNWTO releases its afro barometer figures for 2020, then can we do the comparison between this year and last year to really comprehend the impact of COVID-19 on Ghana’s tourism. The GTA may be gathering its own data and we hope to receive them for our analyses when available.

Notwithstanding the times in which we find ourselves, we all must realize that one of the main success of our tourism -which basically involves how tourists perceive Ghana as a destination- has been our sustainable peace. It’s an obvious fact that tourism has thrived where ever there has been peace. Peace has been a great contributing factor to Ghana being seen as an attractive and safe destination.

Having gone through a successful election, we where all exited waiting for the results to be declared so that we move on with our lives. After the declaration of the results, we seem to be uncertain of what the future looks like considering recent happening.

Since 1992 we have gone through this process without destroying the peace of the country. Transfer of power took place from one government to another under this 4th Republic.

In fact, in 2012, The President of the Republic Nana Akufo-Addo challenged the decision of the EC declaring John Mahama winner of the Ghana 2012 Presidential Election in court. According to news reports, he refused to concede defeat after the Electoral Commission (EC) declared the incumbent National Democratic Party (NDC) candidate, John Mahama the winner of Ghana’s Presidential Election. The NPP had alleged that Mr. Mahama won the election fraudulently, a charge his NDC party denied.

After the court sessions, when the decision did not favour him, he told the BBC he was disappointed but accepted the verdict and urged his supporters to do likewise. The court ruled that President Mahama had been “validly elected”. Our President acted as a true democrat. He said he would respect the decision of the nine judges. “I urge all our supporters to accept the verdict – and in peace,” he said.

Today the tables have turned and reports what we all know to be that former President Mahama has not yet conceded defeat. The NDC party has rejected the results, citing alleged irregularities. They are also accusing the NPP of vote-buying, making threats against its supporters, and of violations during the count.

The governing party leaders have flatly denied the accusations of electoral fraud. Former President Mahama said “What we witnessed across the country from 7 December, 2020, exposed a deliberate plan to manipulate and pre-determine the results of the election in favour of the incumbent, Nana Akufo-Addo,”

“I stand before you tonight unwilling to accept the fictionalised results of a flawed election,”

“We will take all legitimate steps to reverse this tragedy of justice.”

The French will say déjà vu. As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun. The Washington Post in its reportage stated that, (this election has tested the West African nation’s credentials as one of the continent’s most politically stable countries.) This a clear endorsement of how the world sees us.

According to Global Peace Index rankings (2020), GIP which is a report produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) which measures the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness, Ghana came 3rd in Africa as the most peaceful country and globally 43rd. Only Mauritius and Botswana did better in Africa. Globally we are next to the United Kingdom