I had settled down, with contentment and satisfaction, to reflect on the inevitable urban and rural infrastructure renewal heralded by the commissioning of the flagship project of President John Mahama, the new Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in the center of our capital city, Accra. This was last Monday, and it has lived up to its billing. In fact, since then I have used the interchange several times with excellent results relative to punctuality and productivity.
On the very day of the commissioning of this iconic addition to the public architecture of Accra, my attention was drawn to a blatant act of interference in our electoral process by two of our closest and most helpful international partners, the United States of America, and Great Britain. The embassies of these two countries issued separate but similar statements in reaction to a normal party activity which almost degenerated last Sunday in the vicinity of the residence of the flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Nima District Police Station. I say almost degenerated because the only casualty I am aware of that day was a National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporter who fell off from a vehicle and was injured. This incident was unrelated to the so-called confrontation of the NPP and the NDC supporters at the precinct.
I am aware that an initial meeting of these foreign missions with the NPP was postponed last week because of the lack of an agenda. Then suddenly it took place on Monday, a day after the health walk fracas, and these statements were issued. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but coincidences at this very time in our politics are the very soil in which conspiracies flourish, and spread to the detriment of good relations between friends and partners.
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The statements are quite puzzling in their content and hectoring, condescending tones. I am sure some of my misguided readers are swearing that once we take aid from them, we must also take their advice in our internal affairs.
Such a conclusion means to me that the NPP and its leader had no business opposing the acceptance of the Guantanamo detainees to Ghana by the government of President Mahama, and that the muteness of the US government to their shrill opposition is therefore highly suspect.
As I write, we all know that enlightened opinions in both America and Britain deeply deplore the election of Donald Trump who is yet to take office, and the surprising decision of Britain to leave the European Union, known popularly as Brexit.
As a matter of fact, people are being arrested and processed right now for demonstrating against the election of ßTrump, something we did not do in 2012, when Obra Spot at Nkrumah Circle, now spectacularly transformed, was the place where violent and lawless acts were perpetrated by NPP supporters against law-abiding citizens because they had lost the election.
But something really happened last Sunday around the residence of the NPP leader and the Nima Police Station. We have since then seen pictures and videos of party supporters and guards wielding guns in full glare of the police who did nothing apart from separating the two groups by parking their vehicles across the road leading the residence of the NPP leader.
It is clear to me that the police were playing it politically safe that day. They were expecting the NDC folk to put up lawless behaviour which then would have gingered them to arrest the hooligans on both sides so that they could be said to be balanced in their response to this confrontation.
There is no other reason to support the refusal to immediately arrest the man who pointed a gun at the police commander threateningly. Why, Superintendent Cephas Arthur, is such a live threat to public peace and order walking free?
We saw those wielding offensive implements in the available pictures and the party they represent. Are they the people who risk not getting visas? Why are there armed men in the home of a private citizen?
A reprise of the President’s Own Guard Regiment in 2016 in the home of a private citizen? This is what constitutes a dangerous recipe for destabilisation, and I wish the two statements had commented on that. We cannot have warlordism in this country, where overmighty private citizens have armies like in the bad days in Lebanon in the 1980s.
It is because of the refusal of the police to arrest those who were breaking the law which compelled the foreign missions to assume this haughty attitude of seeking to tell Ghanaians where they can assemble and demonstrate when we know that since the election of Trump, there have been endless demonstrations in front of his Trump Towers residence in New York. Worse, in Britain, some ‘’wets’’ seeking to overturn the will of the people on Brexit sought refuge in the courts whose judges gave a judgement revealing the deep anti-democratic streak in the country which supposedly taught us democracy. Of course, we in Ghana know those who always seek to overturn the electoral and political will of the people by running to the courts, and we are not amused in the least.
Now let me say something direct to the representatives of these two countries in our country. You are overplaying a hand grievously damaged by recent events and asserting a moral leadership destroyed by past events in your own countries for purposes that are not worth the gravity of our relations. The last time such blatant interference took place was in 2000 and the NPP rode on it to victory.
How is a ‘confrontation’ in which there was no physical clash nor casualties cause for these high-handed statements? Ghana remains an independent country which has shown the capacity to conduct elections without the micro-managed patronisation of alleged international friends. There was absolutely no threat to the families of anyone. None whatsoever. It is our police who have deliberately failed us, not a political system ran wayward.