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Fostering peaceful 2024 elections: A call for political decorum

Despite the manifold challenges confronting Africa and its people, political instability stands out as a major hindrance to progress, persisting from the era of colonialism to the present day.

It is widely acknowledged that the political instability in Ghana, culminating in the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, marked a pivotal moment, influencing subsequent coups across Africa and undermining Nkrumah’s vision of continental liberation and unity.

Regrettably, Dr. Nkrumah’s vision was abruptly extinguished with his overthrow, casting a shadow over Ghana’s progress and impeding the broader aspirations of the African continent.

Unfortunately, it seems little has been gleaned from our historical setbacks, as we persist in actions that threaten our stability. Despite Ghana’s democracy being considered a regional benchmark since its acceptance of multiparty democracy in 1992, it remains a fragile system with inherent weaknesses.

Acknowledging the fragility of our democracy, it is crucial to safeguard it diligently to maintain Ghana’s status as a democratic beacon in Africa.

However, there is a tendency to take our democracy for granted, pushing it to its limits with inflammatory rhetoric and actions. As a concerned citizen, I highlight the dangerous trajectory we embark on during each election cycle, urging a collective effort to address these developments before they undermine our hard-won gains.

Political actors, especially those from the major parties and potential independent candidates, must recognize the priceless nature of peace in our region. Some politicians have already initiated aggressive rhetoric, setting the stage for potential conflict that could jeopardize our democracy.

I am deeply troubled by the behavior of such politicians, who contribute to a charged political atmosphere that may lead to violence. In the 21st century, voters seek substantive policies rather than insults and baseless lamentations.

Security agencies, especially the Ghana Police Service, must assert their independence and readiness to address individuals or groups inciting unrest. The law should be applied impartially to deter troublemakers and sanitize the political environment ahead of the upcoming elections.

Given the prevailing challenges, particularly high youth unemployment and perceived corruption, political leaders must refrain from negative tendencies and dangerous rhetoric. The youth, vulnerable to political influence, may succumb to the whims of leaders, risking the nation’s stability.

I urge political leaders to urgently distance themselves from inflammatory statements and negative behaviors that could incite passion and lead the nation to self-destruction. History has shown that politically motivated violence can easily destroy a nation.

With only one Ghana, we must cherish our nation and protect it by upholding democratic principles and good governance. It is time for all of us to be active citizens rather than mere spectators.

 

The author, Nana Kweku Ofori-Atta is a security consultant.

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