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Is Ghana’s Peace Deteriorating?

Feature Article Is Ghana’s Peace Deteriorating?
FRI, 14 JUN 2024 LISTEN

Located in West Africa, a generally tumultuous region characterized by political instability of varying magnitude, ranging from coups, political turmoil, violent sectarian conflicts, to simmering political tension even in some seemingly ‘stable’ countries, Ghana stands out as an encouraging success story. Besides being the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence from a colonial power, the country has become the epitome of democracy and good governance in Africa following years of political upheavals.

Ghana is home to a number of diverse peoples and cultures, who are all finding ways to somehow mix and weave together into a cohesive and coexistent whole. The people of Ghana have always insisted that their consciousness of one nation, one people, and one common destiny must prevail in order to keep the people together and focusing on developing their nation. Their tendency to abhor petty ethnic politics has immensely helped the country to foster democracy and enjoy the attendant peace.

Since the ushering in of a democratic dispensation in 1992, the country has largely been experiencing very peaceful electoral processes. Besides being characterized by relative peace and tranquility, the country has also had timely elections.

2024 Global Peace Index
The 18th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness, covering 99.7 per cent of the world’s population. The GPI uses 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources and measures the state of peace across three domains: the level of Societal Safety and Security; the extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict; and the degree of Militarization. This year it introduces a new measure of global military capability that incorporates military sophistication, technology, and battle readiness into a single measure. It is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP).

Sub-Saharan Africa recorded a fall in peacefulness on the 2024 GPI, with the average score in the region deteriorating by 0.89 per cent over the past year. There were deteriorations in peacefulness in sub-Saharan Africa across all three GPI domains, with the largest occurring on the Ongoing Conflict domain. Conflicts in the region continued to spill across national borders, reflected by deterioration on the external conflicts fought indicator. In the past five years 36 of the 44 countries in the region have had some level of involvement in at least one external conflict.

On the 2024 GPI, Mauritius is ranked as the most peaceful country in sub-Saharan Africa and 22nd globally, while South Sudan maintained its position as the least peaceful country in the sub region and 161st in the world ahead of Sudan and Yemen.In the sub – region, Mauritius is followed by Madagascar, Botswana, Ghana and Zambia claiming the top five spots respectively.

Ghana’s Annual GPI
Here is Ghana’s Global Peace Index analysis from 2019 to 2024:

Year GPI score (1-5)
2024 1.93
2023 1.80
2022 1.76
2021 1.72
2020 1.78
2019 1.77

The index ranges from one to five, and the lower the score the more peaceful the country.

As of 2023, Ghana’s GPI score was 1.8, which represents an increase from the previous year. Ghana ranked 51st in the world and fourth in sub – Saharan Africa. In 2022, Ghana’s GPI score was 1.7 which represents a slight decrease from the previous year. In 2021, Ghana scored 1.1715 and ranked 38th in the world out of 163 countries reviewed. Ghana was ranked the second most peaceful country in Africa. In 2020, Ghana was ranked the most peaceful country in West Africa and third on the continent. Ghana moved up one place from the 2019 GPI. In 2019, Ghana obtained the same position in the sub – region, but placed fourth on the continent.

In 2024, with the score of 1.938, Ghana has been ranked 1st in West Africa, 4th in sub – Saharan Africa and 55th in the world, though the average level of peacefulness in the country deteriorated by 7.6 per cent. Globally, Ghana fell five places to the 55th position on the chart. Additionally, the state of peace of countries reviewed were categorised as ‘very high’, ‘high’, ‘medium’, ‘low’ and ‘very low’. Sadly, the chart recognises Ghana’s state of peace as ‘medium’ which is deterioration from ‘high’ in 2023. Again, since 2021, the level of peacefulness in the country has been deteriorating, that is, from 1.72 to 1.93 over the past three years.

Recommendation
Though Ghana is considered a shining example of democracy and peace in Africa, her GPI score, since 2021, has taken a downward turn. The resurgence of the Bawku conflict, brutalities involving the military, violent attacks on journalists, land guard menace, inciting comments made by political parties, proliferation of small arms and light weapons among others could be attributed to the fall.

To regain its position on the GPI and avert further fall, Ghana needs to;

  • Advance economic development: There is a need for Ghana to ensure that all citizens enjoy the benefits of the country’s economic development. For about two decades, Ghana’s economic growth has been concentrated in the southern part of the country, with the benefits increasingly concentrated amongst those perceived to be linked to the ruling party. Attending to this economic aspect of governance will help contain tension that may arise among some people who may feel marginalized in terms of the economic development of the country.
  • Discourage ‘winner takes all’ system of governance
  • Emphasize conflict resolution: Ghana can strengthen its conflict resolution mechanisms to address potential conflicts effectively.
  • Enhance national security: Ghana can improve its national security infrastructure to prevent and respond to security threats.
  • Encourage community peacebuilding: Ghana can support community – led peacebuilding initiatives to promote social cohesion and address local conflicts.
  • Strengthen justice and the rule of law: Ghana can ensure that its judicial system is effective, impartial, and accessible to all citizens.
  • Promote peaceful elections: Ghana can ensure that its elections are peaceful, free and fair to maintain political stability.
  • Avoid the ‘do’ or ‘die’ attitude in the political arena.

By Kafui Nutsu
The writer is the Assistant Public Relations Officer of the National Peace Council and a staff of the Information Services Department

([email protected])

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