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08.04.2004 General News

Ghana sits on time bomb - Minority parties

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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The opposition parties have said that the country is sitting on a time bomb in the face of what they describe as “political tension and the increasing subordination of the nation's security services to partisan politics or even private political agenda.” “As opposition parties it is our patriotic duty to alert the nation to the dangers ahead”, they said in a joint statement at a press conference yesterday, and called on religious bodies and traditional authorities “who have been known to speak out strongly and dispassionately on sensitive national issues” to consider the current tense political situation worthy of their attention.

The statement, read on behalf of the group by Dan Lartey, presidential candidate of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and chairman of the coalition of minority parties, also asked the media to be more discerning and look beyond propaganda.

With Lartey at the conference were Prof. John Evans Mills, flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Danny Ofori Atta, Chairman of the council of elders of the EGLE party, Dr David Percy of the National Reform Party (NRP) and Kofi Wayo of the People's National Convention (PNC).

Lartey said the minority parties knew that only their continuing and collective vigilance as well as firm insistence on the values of democracy, the rule of law and due process, the maintenance of a level electoral playing field, a curb on the abuse of incumbency and opposition to the political manipulation of state institutions would provide the basis for a safe and secure future of all Ghanaians.

The minority parties accused President Kufuor of surrounding himself with security advisers with track records of human rights abuses. They said after decades of military and police involvement in politics following the 1966 coup, effective civilian constitutional control of the security services was re-established only under the fourth republic.

“Unfortunately President John Kufuor has surrounded himself with a group of security advisers who were active in the NRC-SMC security establishment of the 70s with frightening track records of human rights abuses including systematic torture of political opponents.”

They said the willingness of the Kufuor administration to entrust national security to this group of militarists demonstrated clearly how thin its commitment to democracy was, adding: “these men who are surrounding the President have learned nothing and forgotten nothing in the last 30 years; have worked in the last three years to re-establish the unaccountable power that they enjoyed in their hey days”.

The statement said in the pursuit of personal power, “these power-drunk persons” were quite happy to undermine the statutory security establishments, ministries and the ruling party itself.

“This technique involves the manufacture of intelligence suggesting that a bogey man or bogey men are plotting the overthrow of the government. They then conduct operations against these persons, which they leak to the press as heroic deeds and evidence of their loyalty, competence and commitment to constitutional rule. They even win over sections of the media to champion their hidden agenda.”

The parties described such people and the government as “a lawlessness administration”, which warranted them to harbour a convicted fraudster who had also been indicted for murder. They deplored the situation where people who carried NPP membership cards had become “a breed of untouchables in Ghanaian society acting with impunity and behaving like monarchs of all that they survey”.

“This pattern of governance by the NPP typified by application of different rules depending on which side of the political divide you stand, is a far cry from the positive change they promised in opposition. Most Ghanaians are confused and wondering: Is this the party that promised positive change?”

They continued: “the gentility of the gentle giant is missing. All we see is a bullying giant determined to terrorize and crush political opposition in order to create a de-facto one party state and kill democracy in Ghana”. They cautioned the NPP to remember the biblical story of Goliath, the giant and the fate that eventually befell him.

The statement touched on other issues like irregularities that characterized the voters' registration exercise and alleged arrest of Dagombas in Kumasi suspected to belong to the Andani gate and supporters of the NDC.

“This latest example of the arrest at the weekend of a number of people from the Dagomba community in Kumasi has also sent disturbing signals. Considering the fact that they belong to the Andani gate and are supporters of the NDC demonstrates naked abuse of power.”

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