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Opinions of Sunday, 29 September 2013

Columnist: Anzagra, Solomon

Terrorism in Africa and Ghana’s present position

The news of Ghana’s appearance on the radar of terrorism is an unpalatable one. The UK published the news on their official website on the 26th September 2013, in an apparent warning to their citizens travelling to Ghana coincidentally on the very day H.E President John Dramani Mahama poured his heart at the UN 68th General Assembly Meeting in New York, U S on the lost of Prof. Kofi Awoonor to the Kenyan siege.
The country must receive the news with courage and a stoic front and brace herself up as quickly as possible for the challenge ahead. For we normally say “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”. It needs not be forgotten that the recent Kenyan attack was speculated by intelligence systems but as to whether the Kenyan authorities took the news seriously is well answered in the aftermath of the siege.
The country must take clue and courage from the saying that “a memory of the dead is a warning to the living”. Prof. Awoonor’s death and how he died should therefore have being enough warning that the Kenyan siege could be Ghanaian and security apparatus should have strengthened thereafter. After all, the speculated reason for the attack in Kenya is not an aberration but a diplomatic responsibility of which Ghana is not an exemption—peace keeping.
Ghana’s ability to rise to this challenge and avert any possible atrocities as witnessed in Kenya would have not only been a glowing tribute paid to Prof. Awoonor but a consolidation of her own growing international prominence.
It is true that the country still nurses her fresh emotional wounds from the lost of her own, patriot and academic, Prof. Awoonor but we must clean our tears and get battle ready to pay our last respect to the good old professor in dignity. No stone should be left unturned in proving the perpetrators of this heinous crime, wrong.
One cannot but say the numbering threats of attack on Ghana’s territorial cover are a great sign of her rising global status. But global prominence comes at a cost and the country must be willing to pay or the wheels of progress risk grinded to a halt or reversed.
The challenge at hand should not be seen only as a security concerned but something well rounded on the entire fiber of our national life. Think of the consequences, and no single aspect of national development is left untouched.
Foreign direct investment is likely to be negatively affected because of weakening investor confidence in the country, local entrepreneurs will prefer better secured investments in the form of shares, bonds and other international securities in the global market rather than the local market, tourism will have low patronage and projects undertaken by bilateral and multilateral companies and NGOs will have their fair share of the impact of terrorism on the soil. Indeed, the impact will be enormous and the challenge is obviously eminent, what is needed now is national preparedness and security systems have a daunting task ahead. Security at the entry and exit points of the country needs serious tightening. Both government security apparatchik as well as public security apparatus need quick awakening. Areas inhabited by foreigners need security attention and all public gatherings must be given the needed security consideration.
Global cooperation is equally essential in countering terrorism and the multiplicity of nationalities of victims of the Kenyan siege is a justification of this. President Obama’s indication of the US support and concern for the Kenya’s siege was therefore in the right direction. There is urgent need for global intelligent networking and countries should not focus on the welfare of their citizens but on the welfare of all people across the world. Afterall the alleged reason why countries are suffering and likely to suffer terrorism is their role in peace keeping which is a diplomatic obligation. The United nations need to prioritize the issue of terrorism in the list of her policy concerns because peace keeping is at the heart of the UN and terrorism seeks to disturb the very meaning of peacekeeping.
In summation, Ghana is on the highway to her destiny and no rum or rumble should be left uncleared else the speed be reduced!
Our social survival, economic prosperity and national integrity is at stake and the situation demands quick response, so action now!
Solomon Anzagra

THE GRADUATE INSTITUTE | GENEVA
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement
Soloman72@gmail.com