President Akufo-Addo, if this is Democracy, What is Tyranny?

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Freedom and democracy in Ghana the last ten months is the greatest lie. Gradually Ghana is sinking into tyranny. The freedom we have enjoyed over the decades is gradually being taken away from us by hoodlums operating as vigilante groups. For a long time, Ghanaians assumed that while we might have strong political disagreements with
each other, there were neutral arbiters in the country whose authority and influence we could rely on when people try to undermine our democratic values.

These neutral arbiters were so active during the tenure of the last administration have suddenly vanished from the
political landscape. Gradually we are retreating into our separate tribal epistemologies, each with their own increasingly incompatible sets of facts and first premises, we cannot share our old tribal jokes, the stakes are getting higher and higher. The President, our noble men of God, Civil Societies silence on the vigilantism phenomenon is problematic. These vigilante groups commit violence and are left to go free. The police frequently turn a blind eye to their activities for fear of harassment by the politicians. We all saw in the video how these hoodlums manhandled the Ashanti Regional Security coordinator, how the slapped and chased out the police commander at flagstaff house, how they chased out a judge from her court and other nefarious activities and the wide ranging impunity being enjoyed by these groups because of the protection government through the police, the Attorney General etc offer them

Ghanaians revere and avoid having issues with the police, mention the court, and you will see the most stubborn Ghanaian beginning to reason. But today we have some young “machomen” who could move into a our courts and force our judges to jump through windows, we have hoodlums who threaten the police and walk away, we have some young men who issue orders to our politicians including the President to obey.

That is the reality of the time and the President, civil society organisations, the clergy are watching unconcerned. My fear is what we going to witness in 2020 if these activities are not checked. These hoodlums have gained control over our President and the top politicians in the ruling party and are spreading violence and insecurity throughout the country. We must pray the other parties do not adopt same primitive strategy to protect their interest. If we continue to sponsor these groups to operate as agents of our parties, our democracy will suffer serious bruises. We must always remind ourselves that in place of genuine democratic competition, struggles for political office have often been waged violently in the streets by gangs and thugs recruited by politicians to help them seize control of power.

This new technique of perpetrating overt and covert intimidation, coercion and damage of human lives and property all in the name of protecting a particular party or government must be checked before it consumes all of us.

We saw few negatives actions in the past. Even so, it is readily realisable that after the 2016 election political violence has assumed significantly more recurrent pernicious, and rampant proportions, especially in the strongholds of the ruling party. Why this recent surge in political violence and intimidation of the opposition and who is responsible for its promotion? I think statements by the President in the past and his current adamant posturing have facilitated its
proliferation. I foresee serious clashes in 2020 if we watch these animalistic activities to fester. Between 1992 and 2004 we saw pockets of these activities. The presence of Prof Mills and how he was able to transform the NDC through his “New NDC” agenda cleared the political space of the unnecessary violence. In some constituencies including that of the sitting President we saw how politicians openly fomented systematic violence and how they used thugs to undermine some registered voters to freely choose their MPs and President. We heard dangerous statements such as “All die be die” “Atiwa, y3 kyer3 wcn biribi kakra” etc.

These statements helped entrench violent political culture in the NPP and the current President was helped into office within the rules of that system.

I was moved to write this piece after listening to someone who happily and courageously described himself as leader of the Ashanti Regional branch of the Delta force on CitiFM. He told the host that all members of the Delta force in the 47 constituencies of the Region have pledged to support the Npp in the 2020 elections. He was reacting to questions about the fine imposed on his colleagues by the court. We have about 20 different vigilante groups all working for the NPP.  Most of them are unemployed who survive on financial and other support offered them
by the government and godfathers in the party so what should we expect come 2020. They will forever protect party and intimidate the opposition for the NPP to stay in power. That is the reality and danger ahead.

The government’s own policies, actions and measure expose their diabolic plans for 2020. The muzzling of pro- NDC radio stations and plans to sell their frequencies to some foreign radio stations proprietors are all mechanisms adopted to intimidate the opposition.

The Democratic culture the President himself fought for its establishment is being undermined and the the violence and impunity we witnessing demonstrate a failure of our government and our institutions.

Source: Ohenenana Obonti Krow

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