The relative peace and quiet that Ghana has experienced over the past few decades since its independence is being threatened and very little is being done to curtail an impending incendiary. It seems certain key players in Ghana’s political space may have some of the systems and institutions “in their pockets” – Institutions and systems that must see to it that people are held accountable for their actions with the appropriate course of action taken if found guilty.
Ghana is increasingly becoming unsafe with people holding the country at ransom. One key person in Ghana’s political opposition party, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, was captured in a leaked audio tape calling for kidnappings and political assassinations in the country in an attempt to sabotage the ruling government. Ghana has recorded alarming cases of kidnappings not long after this unfortunate remark was made. Below are a few cases of such incidents;
- Three girls kidnapped in Takoradi who have still not being found
- An Indian businessman who was kidnapped in Kumasi but later escaped
- Two Canadian women kidnapped in Kumasi before their rescue by a joint security operation with Canadian security experts.
In a separate event, a highly regarded Member of Ghana’s Parliament, Honourable Kennedy Agyapong, appeared on television and made threats against an investigative journalist called Ahmed Hussein. The Member of Parliament described Ahmed as “very dangerous”, encouraging viewers to “beat him” and reassuring them that “whatever happens, I’ll pay”. A few weeks later, Ahmed Hussein was shot by gunmen on a motorbike while driving home, dying instantly. However, The Chairman of Ghana’s National Media Commission has come forward to defend the MP, stating that it was not wrong for the MP to expose the identity of the investigative journalist on television and that the matter should be looked at from different perspectives.
Such disregard to basic laws in Ghana is what has made the security of the nation very shaky. The lay man is arrested for stealing little to nothing because they have no one to grease the palms of those that matter, resulting in them serving ridiculous sentences in prison. A case in point is a 15 year old boy sentenced to 25 years in prison for stealing GHS 10 (2 dollars). This is the appalling situation of Ghana’s rule of law which is so proudly boasted of.
Ghana’s internal security requires more sophistication to be abreast with the recent crime rates and its complexities. The porous nature of Ghana’s borders leaves very little to be desired if there is to be a major security threat. The proliferation of arms is a big issue that has managed to slip under the radar. The country is fast becoming a transit point where small arms and light weapons are moved from Burkina Faso through Ghana to Nigeria to facilitate kidnappers in their dubious crimes.
Owning and using unlicensed firearm in Ghana is very easy. Prosecution of robbery cases and such similar crimes are never finished because “we will settle the matter at home” (as is the Ghanaian way), which ultimately results in the criminal going scot free. There are very few precedents of crimes and their sentencing to deter people.
Most Ghanaians have little to no education on being security conscious. The issue is that there has not been serious threats on Ghana’s security, making it ill-equipped to handle such problems if they should happen. Even the most security-conscious nations have been attacked. Ghanaians seem to think God is on their side so they are exempted from such attacks. The preparedness for any eventuality is unknown, or perhaps not communicated to the public.
A cursory poll will reveal that a significant number of people do not know what the Emergency Response Contacts in Ghana are. The African Union’s Continental Early Warning System is a great concept that can be adopted at the national level to anticipate and prevent conflicts as well as provide timely information on evolving conflicts based on specifically developed indicators.
This a call to action for the Government of Ghana and relevant stakeholders to take the security apparatus of the nation seriously and also sensitize the general public on basic security information and procedures. The one who thinks he is standing firm should be careful not to fall.