Political violence or not, this is Ghana 2008
E. Ablorh-Odjidja, Ghanadot
This is not the first election in Ghana. And December 2008 will
not be the last. Those preaching doomsday for December 7, may
have reason for wanting it, but they should note that it is not
going to happen. Ghanaians know better now.
sharing is not a fancy concept. It is a distress call for
a failed state!
Vice President Alieu, inferring the same sentiment expressed
above, said recently that ‘We have had elections for years in
Ghana. And each year, we have managed to pull it off. ” He said
this on national television with a perplexed look.
He has reason to worry. The NPP,
his party, is in power and may be blamed
should something go wrong.
There is the assumption these days that when governments lose
elections, as happened in Kenya and Zimbabwe, they then opt for
power sharing instead of moving out.
Based on this assumption the BBC recently asked “What incentive
does this give to other leaders to hold free and fair elections?
Does this send the signal out to all leaders if they don’t want
to relinquish power, despite losing an election, they don’t have
Another side of the question
the BBC should have asked is whether power sharing
provides opposition parties the opportunity
to misbehave also. Does it induce them to
stir up confusion and chaos on the way to
A case can be made that the political scene
in Ghana is very much unlike Kenya or
Zimbabwe. There may be some
here who may wish
for what happened in Kenya and Zimbabwe with the fervent hope of
bringing in power sharing.
The troubling signs of the above are here, manifesting
themselves in violent speeches and threats.
At times, you see
campaign signs defaced and you know there is some mischief afoot.
But never mind who is being abused. The
defaced signs should not automatically point out the culprit
because the act
itself presents equal opportunity for
opposing parties alike.
One can violate his own party flag in
the dark, knowing fully well that the other side
can be blamed. But no matter how mild the
offense, the danger embedded in this spoiler scheme is
the simple strategy for disaster and power sharing. Kick
enough fuss and the election can be nullified
and the power sharing police would be called
Even so, the fear and anticipation for violence,
and consequently power sharing in
Ghana, are needless or unfounded.
What went on in Zimbabwe is different. The elections
there happened and were really flawed. But in Ghana, the elections are yet to
happen. Violence, at the moment, is being
talked up - like burning your own flag in the dark - as a
anticipation for power sharing.
As a political concept, power sharing is a
dangerous preposition. Some see
in it an opportunity to
share the loot,
like as happened during coups when the armed and security forces
join hands to rule; while others
embrace it as a panacea for all political
ills. What it is really is a distress signal
failed state where civilization has
In 2007, a severely flawed election brought power sharing to
Kenya. Earlier this year, 2008, the ugly notion reared its head
in Zimbabwe. More than “600,000 people were displaced and 1,500
were killed in ethnic violence” as consequence to the failed
elections in Kenya alone according to the BBC.
Yet, this dangerous notion of power sharing is rearing up its
head in some minds in Ghana.
In Zimbabwe, despite the heavy cost, the power sharing
arrangement has only produced a stalemate: A power sharing in
name only that sees President Mugabe not bulging. How laughable
it is now to have imagined that that Mugabe took the risk to abort a
legitimate election, an election that he lost, only to really
play fair with power sharing!
Pity poor President Mbeki of South Africa, the architect of
Zimbabwe’s power sharing plan. Despite failing in his own
country, there is still talk about pulling him back into the
Zimbabwe peace process. But this will not work. As a power
broker, Mbeki is as redundant as the notion of power sharing
For Ghanaians who are entertaining the power sharing run, there
is this to say to them:
Perish the thought. Only
those who wish Ghana ill the most - those who wish to
rule by foul means - will push the
Washington, DC, October 6, 2008
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