Editorial: Elections 2020; we can avoid Civil War
An International Relations and Security Expert, Dr. Vladimir Antwi Danso, is reported to have cautioned that because of elections, Ghana is likely to be plunged into a civil war, as the signs are clearly written on the walls.
He has, accordingly, called the security agencies in the country to put stringent measures in place before, during and after the polls.
Dr Antwi Danso believes that, as a country, we are sitting on tenterhooks and anything can happen here anytime.
This comes after some youth of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Asawase Constituency in the Ashanti Region held a presser vowing to protect ballot boxes with their blood, should the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) try to rig the polls in its favour.
The Chronicle would like to join Dr Antwi Danso, and others who have the security of the country at heart, to call on the government to pay critical attention to such calls, especially because information plays a crucial role in effective security management.
Bearing in mind what happened in Rwanda and its consequences thereafter, we would like to remind the NDC youth that they have no right to arrogate to themselves what the constitution has arrogated to another group.
The Chronicle would like to stress that it is the duty of the police to prevent crime, arrest and prosecute, so no one or group of persons has the right to announce that they have taken over that mandate of the police.
We sincerely believe that the security of the state must be paramount, and any call or information shared in that regard must be taken seriously.
Going forward, The Chronicle would remind state actors on some basic actions that require attention in the run up to the national polls
First, we appeal to practitioners and policymakers on electoral violence management to carry out the groundwork for preventing violence during interim periods, support political party development, citizen education and media training, continuously monitor volatile areas during and, especially, around any by-elections, and allocate adequate resources for maintaining monitoring capacity also in between elections.
To us, at The Chronicle, practitioners and policymakers working on electoral violence management should consider the consequences of the electoral system for the risk of violence, and analyse potential changes to electoral systems, codes of conduct, and other regulations on the electoral process.
Policy makers can stipulate sanctions against violence makers, for example, by limiting the right of repeat violence-makers to engage in politics, to avoid a culture of impunity, design measures and allocate adequate resources for activities which can support the institutional setting and legal framework, for instance, through the use of peace pledges.
Again, in the view of The Chronicle, policy-makers of electoral violence management should engage in close collaboration with local actors, in order to uncover networks of violence makers and to identify peace-promoting elements, encourage collaboration between national security forces, local security forces, peace workers, political parties and other relevant actors, train security forces in the electoral law(s) and the codes of conduct, develop a policy and strategies to address electoral security from a comprehensive perspective, encompassing both deterrence and confidence building, and allocate adequate resources to implement and evaluate such a policy.
Further, there is the need to plan electoral violence management in coordination with other peace building initiatives to avoid undermining other actors’ activities, encourage international violence monitors and peace missions to access information on local peace building initiatives to assess further needs for conflict management.
In the case where our civil society networks are well-developed, the government must support such networks to coordinate the different tasks, as well as support the assessment and evaluation of different capacities among actors for specific tasks.
Ghana has shown the way in multiple party democracy in Africa, and everything must be done to protect our status as the beacon of hope on the continent.