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Opinions of Monday, 5 April 2010

Columnist: Kuffuor, Afia

Terrorism in Ghana

Terrorism in Ghana – Joseph Boakye Danquah and his cohorts in UP were the first home grown terrorists.

The events of 11th September 2001 in United States and subsequent bombings in Europe have been acknowledged as a watershed in international concern with the issue of terrorism, however these events do not reflect a sudden new threat, but reaffirmation of a trend that had been evident for several years, especially in Ghana during Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention Peoples Party administration.

As most are aware, terrorism is an unlawful use of violence against individuals or property to coerce and intimidate governments or societies for political objectives. In most countries the physical targets for terrorist attack vary and normally take into consideration the relaxation of anti-terrorist measures related to potential targets – in the case of the chief instigator of terrorism in Ghana in the 1960s, Joseph Boakye Danquah and his bunch of UP terrorists/criminals, the target was Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, founder and father of Ghana.

What made the criminal Boakye Danquah and his cohort’s terrorism so fearsome in the 1960s is that attacks were directed at our President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and in the process those that did suffered injury and death were innocent bystanders including the law enforcement officers, women and children.

It is common knowledge that once an organisation has been defined as terrorist organisation, legislation provides for it to be banned or declared prohibited and that is precisely what the Ghanaian government did at the period by the passing of PDA.

It was not until towards the end of the last decade of the 20th century that United Nations under the leadership of Kofi Annan passed a resolution – UN General Assembly Resolution 54/110 of 9 December 1999 stating that terrorism comprises “criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes”.

Most contemporary writing on terrorism focuses on the international manifestations of terrorism; state terror has been a long-standing feature in Ghana – the UP terrorist activities under Boakye Danquah and the 1966 coup that over threw a legitimate government by armed criminals in uniform under another terrorist – Akwasi Amakwa Afrifa and his cohort K.A Busia.

As events in Ghana in the 1960s and Kenya in 2000s attests to, terrorism in Africa is overwhelmingly of a domestic, sub-state nature that kills, mains and affects millions of people.

In the late 1990s terrorism experts warned then President Rawlings of a new breed of terrorists that would come and replace the earlier era of state-terrorism. The new threat came from loose groupings (associated with New Patriotic Party) resorted to terror – “killings of innocent women in Ghana prior to the 2000 elections” – as a way to strike against the National Democratic Convention. As is noted in Ghana, gone are the tightly knit group professional terrorists – Danquah and his cohorts, often in the pay of foreign powers and in their place are a larger amorphous groups within NPP. There is much evidence to indicate that the resurgence of armed robberies’ and killings of journalists just the 2008 elections has its roots in the development of covert alliance between NPP killers and criminal elements in the security services sympathetic to NPP.

In retrospect it is clear that the terrorist threats to Dr Nkrumah’s CPP government were a preview of the events of the late 1990s when innocent women were murdered countrywide by criminals sympathetic to NPP. Although the killings came as surprise, danger signs had been evident before then, going back to the 1960s bombings by the criminal Joseph Boakye Danquah and his cohorts. The internet, cell phones and dirty money from narcotic trafficking provide a facilitating environment.

Afia Kuffuor