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STATESMAN OPINION: NDC HYSTERIA ABOUT PUBLIC SECURITY MUST GIVE WAY TO A COOL-HEADED AND TIMELY RESPONSE

Politics

Amid the rising tide of seeming poor security on our streets ‒ particularly in Accra and Kumasi, which are hard hit by the threat of serious crime and overshadowed by a decades-old backlog of unsolved murders ‒ the opposition National Democratic Congress continues to stir the propaganda pot, creating panic as it seeks to score political points.

Amid the rising tide of seeming poor security on our streets ‒ particularly in Accra and Kumasi, which are hard hit by the threat of serious crime and overshadowed by a decades-old backlog of unsolved murders ‒ the opposition National Democratic Congress continues to stir the propaganda pot, creating panic as it seeks to score political points.

Of course, every citizen at this time has reason to worry about indiscriminate shootings by the police, as happened in Kumasi recently. We think, too, of the February 2016 killing of JB Danquah Adu, MP for Abuakwa North, and of Ahmed Hussein-Suale, the helpless young journalist whose murder we are still mourning today.

Panic on the streets of Accra

The NDC’s malign publicity, based on lingering fear and panic, is manifest in the morbid and undiplomatic condemnation of the Ghana Police Service, for instance, by the party’s lead communicator, Sammy Gyamfi. Mr Gyamfi has gone as far as to describe Ghana’s finest as a useless group of people.

One must concede that the statistics on crime are worrying; one must concede that the apparent levels of impunity involving criminal acts are becoming outrageous; and we concede, too, that the police may have been overwhelmed by the tempo and magnitude of some of the recent, palpably politically skewed crimes.

But we cannot say that Ghana’s security is in a state of crisis. Nor is that of most ordinary Ghanaian people.

Objective

As far as we at the Daily Statesman are concerned, how a community, organisation or nation reacts in the face of adversity shows to a large extent their potential to surmount that particular hurdle.

Do we scream and throw our hands up in the air? Or do we, cool-headed, compose ourselves, rally and work to fathom a strategy to fight off that situation? Particularly when it comes to us as politicians, the media, civil society and the more enlightened members of Ghana’s body politic ‒ including, in theory, the likes of Mr Gyamfi ‒ objectivity is of the first importance in seeking a way forward.

The current crime trend is not widespread, even though a single life snuffed out is justifiable cause for national concern. But the concern arises because Ghana is known to have a long history and traditions of hospitality, until we began to encourage violent elements to enter our national life to serve the needs of certain greedy political actors. This resulted in recognised militias entering Ghana’s daily political life.

The unfortunate trend was curtailed by representatives of the political parties under pressure from civil society, and we have all as a nation been comfortable with the results.

Strategy

In order to ensure that goons can no longer assault or kill us with impunity, we at the Daily Statesman advocate a national strategy involving all stakeholders in national security, including the political parties, to devise and roll out a preventive and deterrent programme that will deal decisively with the threat.

Most Ghanaians have had it up to here with the murders and assaults. The perpetrators clearly believed that they could always get away with it. If, however, the criminals get the message that they will not be able to sustain their actions, they will redirect their attentions and leave us in peace.

And when that action plan rolls out, we believe no politician who relies on intimidation and militia activity for survival will stand in the way of its implementation.

To make the programme most effective, non-political Ghanaians must be an integral element of new, transparent arrangements in which everybody is open to everybody else. It is this which will enable the police to separate the citizens from the psychopaths.