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From Guinea to Ghana

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PERISCOPE DEPTH

www.ghanareaders.com

…With Our Publisher

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”- Eleanor Roosevelt

15/09/2021

A few days ago, an army officer, by name Mamady Doumbouya, whose experience at governance can basically be reduced to being a presidential guard, a holder of umbrelllas for his elders and betters, seized state power in Conakry, Guinea, through the barrel of a gun. As is strangely usual on the continent of Africa since the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah, Doumbouya was welcomed ecstatically by crowds of ignorant Guinean citizens. One only hopes that the story of Doumbouya would not follow the usual African pattern, of a military man converting himself through the transmogrification of a coup to become a civilian dictator.

Doumbouya’s emergence on the political scene has been, in the usual ill-advised sense, welcomed and cheered on by many of the citizens of Guinea. I say ill-advised, because the odds are that the case of Guinea is not going to be much different from the case of dozens of African countries that have experienced coups. It is going to follow the same pattern of Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana.

I can predict with over ninety percent accuracy that these things will happen in Guinea;

  • Doumbouya will form a government;
  • He will try to hold on as a military government or dictator, but will change his mind at a point;
  • Human rights, sooner or later, will begin to suffer, and those cheering today will very soon realize that even laughing may come with a price;
  • He will probably, within the next two years, convert himself and some hirelings into a political party;
  • He will stand for elections;
  • He will win;
  • He will be accepted into the African Union Heads of State Group and learn to wear a suit;
  • They, obviously, as they have done historically, will welcome him;
  • He will survive for the constitutional two terms, by which time he would be fat and unrecognizable from the Doumbouya of today. In fact, he may even tell himself otherwise, but established patterns hardly fail;
  • He may seek a third term (by then he would be fabulously rich);
  • Or he would be harried out of office on a storm of political discontent like the man he has just overthrown; and
  • In a few months (if not days and weeks), he would absolutely stop listening to good counsel;
  • In the meantime, he would dig Guinea into a more entrenched ‘guinea pig’ of the nation France and the West; making the nation and people qualitatively poorer.

These things will happen. It is the story of modern Africa. And it is an almost immutable law, this story of modern Africa. And it is confirmable in that in spite of the events in Guinea, another idiotic president is seeking a third term in Tunisia. Tunisia, of the Arab Spring. I mean, how reckless can one man be?

I would probably not have wasted so much ink on Guinea and the predictable story of Doumbouya, but for the fact that since the events in Guinea, I have heard and read, on some social media handles, suggestions that Ghana is heading the same way as Guinea. It would be unfortunate if that were so. After nearly thirty years of practicing democracy (well, a form of democracy), this certainly should not be our lot. We have come too far, suffered too much for what we have built, achieved too much, to hand it all over to a few men armed with guns. Ghana does not need another Rawlings, another Doumbouya. However, the mere fact that any Ghanaian can contemplate such a despicable happenstance, should motivate many of us in leadership from across the political divide, to begin to wonder, in our beds, in the coldness of dawn, whether the unthinkable is foreseeable.

And that is my focus for today.

I intend to dilate on the possibilities of a coup d’etat in Ghana, and the ramifications of such a happenstance.

Before I proceed, however, I would like to suggest to

PERISCOPE DEPTH

…With Our Publisher

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”- Eleanor Roosevelt

15/09/2021

A few days ago, an army officer, by name Mamady Doumbouya, whose experience at governance can basically be reduced to being a presidential guard, a holder of umbrelllas for his elders and betters, seized state power in Conakry, Guinea, through the barrel of a gun. As is strangely usual on the continent of Africa since the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah, Doumbouya was welcomed ecstatically by crowds of ignorant Guinean citizens. One only hopes that the story of Doumbouya would not follow the usual African pattern, of a military man converting himself through the transmogrification of a coup to become a civilian dictator.

Doumbouya’s emergence on the political scene has been, in the usual ill-advised sense, welcomed and cheered on by many of the citizens of Guinea. I say ill-advised, because the odds are that the case of Guinea is not going to be much different from the case of dozens of African countries that have experienced coups. It is going to follow the same pattern of Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana.

I can predict with over ninety percent accuracy that these things will happen in Guinea;

  • Doumbouya will form a government;
  • He will try to hold on as a military government or dictator, but will change his mind at a point;
  • Human rights, sooner or later, will begin to suffer, and those cheering today will very soon realize that even laughing may come with a price;
  • He will probably, within the next two years, convert himself and some hirelings into a political party;
  • He will stand for elections;
  • He will win;
  • He will be accepted into the African Union Heads of State Group and learn to wear a suit;
  • They, obviously, as they have done historically, will welcome him;
  • He will survive for the constitutional two terms, by which time he would be fat and unrecognizable from the Doumbouya of today. In fact, he may even tell himself otherwise, but established patterns hardly fail;
  • He may seek a third term (by then he would be fabulously rich);
  • Or he would be harried out of office on a storm of political discontent like the man he has just overthrown; and
  • In a few months (if not days and weeks), he would absolutely stop listening to good counsel;
  • In the meantime, he would dig Guinea into a more entrenched ‘guinea pig’ of the nation France and the West; making the nation and people qualitatively poorer.

These things will happen. It is the story of modern Africa. And it is an almost immutable law, this story of modern Africa. And it is confirmable in that in spite of the events in Guinea, another idiotic president is seeking a third term in Tunisia. Tunisia, of the Arab Spring. I mean, how reckless can one man be?

I would probably not have wasted so much ink on Guinea and the predictable story of Doumbouya, but for the fact that since the events in Guinea, I have heard and read, on some social media handles, suggestions that Ghana is heading the same way as Guinea. It would be unfortunate if that were so. After nearly thirty years of practicing democracy (well, a form of democracy), this certainly should not be our lot. We have come too far, suffered too much for what we have built, achieved too much, to hand it all over to a few men armed with guns. Ghana does not need another Rawlings, another Doumbouya. However, the mere fact that any Ghanaian can contemplate such a despicable happenstance, should motivate many of us in leadership from across the political divide, to begin to wonder, in our beds, in the coldness of dawn, whether the unthinkable is foreseeable.

And that is my focus for today.

I intend to dilate on the possibilities of a coup d’etat in Ghana, and the ramifications of such a happenstance.

Before I proceed, however, I would like to suggest to all those supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), that if another hungry and angry soldier, like Rawlings, is able to seize political power in Ghana, he would probably round up all the leaders of that political organization, and if he is as bloodthirsty as Rawlings, line them up the Teshie Military Range and pour a few bullets into their chests. That includes John Mahama and many of the ill-advised lot surrounding him. I am sure that if Rawlings were to be alive, he would face the same fate from this angry young man. He too would have been dragged out of his Osu Ridge comfort and shot. This is not a joke. So all those who believe that the case of Guinea should be used as bait to attract a few gun-toting renegades to take over our country would be well-advised to look at that possibility too. They should think twice.

Now, on the basis of that pleasant thought, allow me to proceed on the ramifications of our current acts, the possibility of a coup, and its effects.

First, has our country failed to such an extent that the only solution is the overthrow of the Constitution and government? I do not believe so. Taking away the tint of the perpetual dark glasses and lamentations that many like to wear, Ghana has made tremendous strides since 1992. Economically, infrastructurally, socially and politically, our development has been nothing short of phenomenal. And the potential for growth in the next decade is simply exponential.

Sure, one can point to several limitations, such as a lack of a credible manufacturing sector, unemployment, a consistently falling currency, comparatively low quality of life (compared to the situation in some developed countries) and many more, but compared to other nations at our state of development, particularly on the African continent, Ghana is miles ahead. And we will continue to stretch the margin.

Socially, we are also making strides. We have numerous policies currently working, such as national health insurance, free maternal healthcare, free hot lunch for students, greater social security, a working judiciary, a working media that enjoys unprecedented freedom, a working transport system with over a million vehicles on our roads, a telecommunications network that is one of the best in Africa, if not the best, a massive health system that is growing exponentially, massive educational infrastructure system that is growing exponentially, and a relatively bright and healthy population, to mention a few social factors we can be proud off.

In terms of infrastructure, we are at a stage that is hundreds of times better than what used to be in 1992. We have added thousands of miles of new roads, inter-city and inner-city, a new railway system, hundreds of thousands of new housing projects (both public and private), hundreds of brand new schools, brand new hospitals, and many more.

No matter what anybody will tell you, the economy remains strong, and would have been stronger if the two main political parties knew what they were doing. Unfortunately, they do not, and that remains a problem. By this, I mean that there should be a deliberate policy to cede control of fiscal control into the hands of the private sector, since Ghana’s economy at this stage remains largely state led. This is wrong, but remains a policy matter to be addressed by thinkers and policy makers, and not by a joker with a gun. We have also not given agriculture and manufacturing the needed attention, and this had led to the corollary of a glut of unemployment.

Politically, we have achieved international icon status. We have held eight consecutive national elections since 1992, once every four years. We have successfully changed political power from the hands of one political party to another at least three times, peacefully, a no mean feat anywhere in the world, and indicators are that the tradition will only persist. We have vibrant political parties and politicians, even though real challenges continue to exist when it comes to policy (the two political parties suffer distinctly from ideological, philosophical and policy credibility) but which would ultimately be addressable. In any case, it is highly unlikely, where lawyers and trained politicians are failing, that a gun-toting soldier will succeed.

Ghana’s private sector continue to agitate for a larger share of control of the economy, and would continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Some may accuse me of painting too rosy a picture, and they would be right, to a point. We have to give depth to our many achievements, in terms of quality, rights, and advocacy. Corruption is endemic and rife, and there is as yet little to suggest that we would be able to change that direction. But civil society continue to be active, people continue to become more aware and to express greater cynicism, which is positive. The people also control the power to change governments, once in a while, through constitutional means. That in itself is a massive tool, a ledge for control, and should be guarded with all our strength and might.

Given what we have built for ourselves over the past 30 years, it would be shocking for anybody to suggest that we should go the way of Guinea, and hand our fate into the hands of an untrained piece of rabble like Doumbouya. It is insulting to Ghanaians to make such a suggestion, and one hopes that the people engaging in this advocacy would have the sense to know that we would not allow them to insult our intelligence to this degree.

We are better than that. Ghana is better than that. And we will continue to speak for the protection of this democracy.

(You can follow PERISCOPE DEPTH at www.thedailysearchlight.com or our Facebook page Daily Searchlight.)

That includes John Mahama and many of the ill-advised lot surrounding him. I am sure that if Rawlings were to be alive, he would face the same fate from this angry young man. He too would have been dragged out of his Osu Ridge comfort and shot. This is not a joke. So all those who believe that the case of Guinea should be used as bait to attract a few gun-toting renegades to take over our country would be well-advised to look at that possibility too. They should think twice.

Now, on the basis of that pleasant thought, allow me to proceed on the ramifications of our current acts, the possibility of a coup, and its effects.

First, has our country failed to such an extent that the only solution is the overthrow of the Constitution and government? I do not believe so. Taking away the tint of the perpetual dark glasses and lamentations that many like to wear, Ghana has made tremendous strides since 1992. Economically, infrastructurally, socially and politically, our development has been nothing short of phenomenal. And the potential for growth in the next decade is simply exponential.

Sure, one can point to several limitations, such as a lack of a credible manufacturing sector, unemployment, a consistently falling currency, comparatively low quality of life (compared to the situation in some developed countries) and many more, but compared to other nations at our state of development, particularly on the African continent, Ghana is miles ahead. And we will continue to stretch the margin.

Socially, we are also making strides. We have numerous policies currently working, such as national health insurance, free maternal healthcare, free hot lunch for students, greater social security, a working judiciary, a working media that enjoys unprecedented freedom, a working transport system with over a million vehicles on our roads, a telecommunications network that is one of the best in Africa, if not the best, a massive health system that is growing exponentially, massive educational infrastructure system that is growing exponentially, and a relatively bright and healthy population, to mention a few social factors we can be proud off.

In terms of infrastructure, we are at a stage that is hundreds of times better than what used to be in 1992. We have added thousands of miles of new roads, inter-city and inner-city, a new railway system, hundreds of thousands of new housing projects (both public and private), hundreds of brand new schools, brand new hospitals, and many more.

No matter what anybody will tell you, the economy remains strong, and would have been stronger if the two main political parties knew what they were doing. Unfortunately, they do not, and that remains a problem. By this, I mean that there should be a deliberate policy to cede control of fiscal control into the hands of the private sector, since Ghana’s economy at this stage remains largely state led. This is wrong, but remains a policy matter to be addressed by thinkers and policy makers, and not by a joker with a gun. We have also not given agriculture and manufacturing the needed attention, and this had led to the corollary of a glut of unemployment.

Politically, we have achieved international icon status. We have held eight consecutive national elections since 1992, once every four years. We have successfully changed political power from the hands of one political party to another at least three times, peacefully, a no mean feat anywhere in the world, and indicators are that the tradition will only persist. We have vibrant political parties and politicians, even though real challenges continue to exist when it comes to policy (the two political parties suffer distinctly from ideological, philosophical and policy credibility) but which would ultimately be addressable. In any case, it is highly unlikely, where lawyers and trained politicians are failing, that a gun-toting soldier will succeed.

Ghana’s private sector continue to agitate for a larger share of control of the economy, and would continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Some may accuse me of painting too rosy a picture, and they would be right, to a point. We have to give depth to our many achievements, in terms of quality, rights, and advocacy. Corruption is endemic and rife, and there is as yet little to suggest that we would be able to change that direction. But civil society continue to be active, people continue to become more aware and to express greater cynicism, which is positive. The people also control the power to change governments, once in a while, through constitutional means. That in itself is a massive tool, a ledge for control, and should be guarded with all our strength and might.

Given what we have built for ourselves over the past 30 years, it would be shocking for anybody to suggest that we should go the way of Guinea, and hand our fate into the hands of an untrained piece of rabble like Doumbouya. It is insulting to Ghanaians to make such a suggestion, and one hopes that the people engaging in this advocacy would have the sense to know that we would not allow them to insult our intelligence to this degree.

We are better than that. Ghana is better than that. And we will continue to speak for the protection of this democracy.

(You can follow PERISCOPE DEPTH at www.thedailysearchlight.com or our Facebook page Daily Searchlight.)

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