Feature Article of Friday, 6 July 2012

Columnist: Benjamin Kwame

Vote for Peace and Security I

The 2012 General elections in Ghana must be decided on the twin issue of Peace and Security.

First, the potential President and his political party must produce for critical review a security blueprint to keep Ghana safe. Especially its citizenry, growing economy, fighting the drug menace and maintaining our status as an oasis of peace in a conflict-ridden Africa.

Secondly, the potential President and his party must demonstrate a track record of promoting Peace and Security.

According to Henry Ford, that great manufacturer, despite his illustrious achievement in giving the world an automobile industry, his greatest contribution to the world was not automobiles. But telling the world the economic consequences of Peace. To Mr. Ford, talking peace is securing the economy. And a country's greatest economic policy is her security policy.

Peace and economics are latently powerful in potential as a palm tree is never weary of producing palm fruits yet as unexplored as the many benefits of a palm nut (we can even get lipstick out of it). Security is economy. I see no greater truth than this.

The opposite appears to be the case in Ghana. It is tragic that barely six months into the next elections, politicians are promising everything for the electorate except a strategy to keep Ghana and its citizens safe.

At a time that economic progress internationally mean nothing in the face of realities of civil war, terrorism, booming drug trade and violent crime, our politicians appear not to have find space for security on their elaborate political platforms.

Lest I am misunderstood, the promise of free education to university level, Jobs for all who are willing and able to work, Zongo development fund, transforming Ghana’s economy to become like that of Brazil, removing school under trees, etc are great. But not greater than the assurance that Ghanaians will be alive to enjoy this government welfare package.

After all, the people who fled Iraq, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leon, and those fleeing Nigeria, are not doing so in pursuit of a glorious economy but that of security for their souls and property. Is Self-preservation not the first law of nature and the main factor for human migration?

In an atmosphere of insecurity, not only do individuals suffer but also the economy; the right people to build and invest in it will be doing so elsewhere, where their safety and investment can be guaranteed.

Again, Ghana needs security to sustain and grow its current economic status as being the fastest growing the world, a lower middle-income economy, an oil-producing nation, reaching a million tonnage of cocoa production, etc.

Aside this, Ghana needs security to immune its citizens from the hash consequences of the illegal drug trade. Confronting and winning the war on drugs must be a priority. We need a comprehensive security plan on drugs.

Making sure Ghana does not elect a drug-lord as president of Ghana in the next election and/or allow drug money to decide who govern Ghana is not enough but a positive start. It must be complimented by efforts to insist that Ghana is not a transit point for European drugs. Our youth must never become addicts and hope on drugs for economic salvation. The frightening impact of drugs on children born by addict mothers and drivers on the roads is sad. How then can we explain the spade of suicide, domestic violence, and the ‘Hollywood styled’ crime on our streets and the increasing use of violence as means to addressing communal dispute without admitting that drugs may have a role to play?

In addition, as the economy of Ghana grows and attracts world attention and participation, leadership must be alive to the unintended consequences of successful economies such as violent crime, terrorism, money laundry, breakdown in social values, official corruption, etc. Economic progress in other countries has reversed because of lack of or inappropriate measures to deal with these challenges in time.

Finally, our politicians must articulate a security plan, that encourages our youth to actively work in the various decent sectors of our economy, especially in the oil industry which is largely being controlled and managed by imported workforce at a time unemployment is a crises in Ghana.

Ghana must not create an environment, which breeds the kind of anarchy currently ongoing at the Nigerian oil rich Niger delta or the activities of the Muslim extremist Boko Haram in Nigeria.

As the world continues to seek for peace in Ghana, the question for those seeking to lead Ghana is simple. Where will Ghana and the rest of the world go, if Ghana is inflames? This reality appears to have lost on politicians.

The 2012 elections is here with us, yet our Politicians have not just abandoned the subject of keeping Ghana and its citizens safe as articulated in the earlier paragraphs, but their actions appears to be the main obstruction to Ghana’s peace as have been demonstrated by the NPP and the NDC in the following paragraphs. End of part one

Akyena Brantuo Benjamin