Thursday, 22 August 2013

Preparations Before And After Supreme Court Verdict

Preparations being made by the Security Agencies to enforce peace in the country before and after the supreme court verdict on the December 2012 election petition are in order. Last week, the National Security Coordinator, Lt. Colonel Larry Gbevlo Lartey, met the hierarchy of the two leading political parties embroiled in the Supreme Court challenge. The meeting focused on how to curb troubles at potential flash points and the parties’ collaboration with the security agencies in envisaged challenges. The IGP, Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan has over the past three weeks been touring the regions to assess their preparedness for any eventuality after the verdict. Not only that, the Ghana Armed Forces and other Security Services recently went on route marches in Accra and the Regions as part of their routine training to enhance operational readiness, foster inter-service cooperation and espirit-de-corps as well as maintaining physical fitness. The Police hierarchy recently met with the youth wings of the New Patriotic Party, NPP, and National Democratic Congress, NDC, during which it announced that it has designated a hundred metres radius around the supreme court as a ‘no-go-area’ on the day the court will give verdict in the election petition. These are quite laudable, given utterances by some party activists and events in some communities which are not quite desirable.

Simply put, the political temperature in the country is not the best. People are seeing the supreme court verdict as a make or break affair which should not be the case. A lot have been said on the need for Ghanaians to give peace a chance and we need not harp on this further but given recent developments in other African countries such as Egypt, Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire, we need to put our acts together else, we are overtaken by events. It is said if you see your neighbour's beard on fire, you water your own. It is good the two major players in the political drama have pledged their commitment to peace but we need not be complacent, after all, a similar commitment was given in Kumasi by some political leaders prior to the December elections but what did we see. We have a lot to do to prepare the minds of the people to accept the verdict of the supreme court in good faith no matter which direction it goes. Peace is the life blood of any democracy. Others have toyed with theirs and have gone down the abyss. Cote d'Ivore used to be a very peaceful and progressive country yet it went down in fire due to an electoral conflict. We are definitely not better than countries which have gone down in flames over an electoral dispute. We agree, the stakes are high in the supreme court petition but that needs not throw the country into turmoil. Ghana's democracy is touted to be one of the best in Africa. We therefore cannot afford to disappoint our admirers.

The Security Agencies must be reminded of the duty to protect the integrity of the state and the peace and stability the country is currently enjoying. Without peace no development can take place and we only risk self-destruction in the event of any social upheaval. The security personnel must know that their loyalty is first to the state and not political parties. They must therefore be seen to be fair and they must enforce the peace without fear or favour. Ghana is sandwiched between French speaking countries and in case of any disturbances, we have nowhere to go. We cannot be refugees in these countries, so as one of the Supreme Court Judges lamented, let those with their passport already stamped with visas spare us the ordeal. As Ghanaians, we are one people with a common destiny. We cannot compromise on that.

BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST.

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