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Opinion | Feb 20, 2019

Boot-For-Boot And The Making Of Power-For-Power

Boot-For-Boot And The Making Of Power-For-Power

A couple of weeks ago the ex-President, President John Dramani Mahama, had issued a warning that the NDC was no longer going to allow the NPP to bully them in any future elections and that 2020 elections are going to be boot-for-boot. This followed the electoral violence that characterized the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

The warning that came from John Mahama is similar to that which came from the then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo when he said the 2012 elections was going to be all-die-be-die. Nana Addo’s comment also followed a similarly violent by-election in Atiwa, when the now president felt the NPP stood its grounds and made sure that they had won that election despite the violent intimidation from the then NDC government.

Just a week or so after ex-President John Mahama had delivered his boot-for-boot mantra, the Ashanti Regional branch of the NDC announced that one of its members had died (all-die-be-die kind of death) as a result of a shooting incidence at the party’s regional headquarters. In a statement issued last Monday, the Regional Secretary stated that one other person is battling, boot-for-boot, for his life.

According to the NDC “the regrettable incident occurred while a meeting between the National Chairman, The General Secretary, a Deputy General Secretary and the Regional Executive Committee were ongoing. Apparently, some men on Motorbike wielding guns attacked a gathering outside (the party office), shot indiscriminately (into the crowd) and sped off”.

In the midst of all of these, I have heard many reputable Ghanaians warning that the NDC and the NPP might one day plunge the country into war. This warning of war is becoming more promising as we advance into our so-called fledging and amiable democracy. We have gone through seven general elections. Each one of these elections has been said to be more successful than the previous. But each one of the elections has been more violent than the previous one!

So it appears the more violent our elections become, the more successful we think our democratic processes are becoming. And that is why the two political parties keep arming themselves for the next violent elections, and they keep fielding more aggressive parliamentary candidates in each of the elections, just to ensure that the elections are violently successful.

In all the preparations and the political security arrangements, the police and the army are almost completely left out. These parties seem to be more comfortable recruiting and training their own protection mechanisms, for the purposes of ensuring their electoral victories, and for the purposes of their personal security.

Interestingly the boot-for-boot, and the all-die-be-die are flowing into the internal electoral affairs of the two proponent parties. We are seeing increased violence in internal Parliamentary and Presidential primaries, and these violent acts are becoming as bloody as the ones we witness during general elections.

I recall the contest between the Carlos Ahenkorah and Naa Torshie Addo, and the many others that have happened within the Ashanti Region NPP in recent times. The NDC has also had its share. The NDC, for instance, was known for no-contest for its Presidential candidate nominations. But in the last decade or so, we have seen FONKAR GAMES played out between Professor Atta Mills and Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, and the issues surrounding Spio-Grabrah’s team B observations and matters arising.

In all of these, the police is ignored. They are ignored because these political parties themselves know that they have populated the service with a lot of unqualified people who have no business being in the Police Service. They know that a lot of the established security agencies’ personnel are not confident enough both for their work and for standing up to do the right thing.

Otherwise, how would DSP Azugu go to the Emily Short Commission to tell the whole world that the civilian operatives of the national security during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election wore a mask to protect their faces from mosquito bites and reptiles? Do you think DSP Azugu would have said this, if he was better trained, or if he was confident enough of keeping his job if he told the truth?

So as the violence preparations get more strengthened, and as the two parties become increasingly violent, Ghana is gradually getting closer and closer towards a civil war. You will deny this, but trust me, everything that has happened since 2012 points to a journey towards absolute lawlessness, the same way the Boko Haram groups started their operations. And we will soon get to a point when state security institutions are going to bow to some unregulated ill-trained mentally derailed lawless vigilante groups who would derive satisfaction from their daily chores of kidnapping people and killing of victims of conscience.

Our actions, our greed, our quest for too much power will weaken the very institutions that are supposed to protect us, and it will continue this way until one day we will not be able to fool ourselves any longer. At that time the poor, the ignored, and the oppressed will have their guns too, and all of us who are stealing from them, all of us will suffer, the guns we gave them, they will turn those same guns on us, and just as it seems to have happened in the Ashanti Region, they will visit death on us, one corrupt rich man at a time, and one lying politician after the other.

With the Hawks, the Invisible Forces, and all those potential nation-wrecking groups openly displaying their might, and some being sneaked into the formal security system, we are well on course to creating two parallel and counter security forces, one sponsored by the state, while the other is sponsored by the political parties, in a state-vrs-political parties power-for-power contest, with Atiwa, Talensi, and Ayawaso West Wuogon as dress rehearsals.

The consequences of all of these wrong actions are the mantras of the opposition; all-die-be-die, and the most recent one, boot-for-boot. As we get ready to die for our parties, and as we put our boots forward to match the other boots, the very country that gave birth to our citizenship is ignored, for the love of our parties; such a derailed mentality.

But still, the battle is the Lord’s!
James Kofi Annan

James Kofi Annan
James Kofi Annan, © 2019

This author has authored 112 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: SimpaPanyin

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