Towards Elections 2012 & Oil Extraction
Dr. Kwesi Aning, security expert and head of Conflict Resolution Department of the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center yesterday painted a gloomy picture of what is likely to happen in the 2012 elections as a result of the discovery of oil by the country.
"My friend and I just came back from the Western Region where we met chiefs, opinion leaders, and students, and I can tell you that there’s crisis hovering around there", the security expert stated. According to Dr. Aning the oil discovery would be the most decisive single thing in the 2012 election as more sophisticated guns are being transported into the country.
From his own words: "Let us not fool ourselves, the oil will become the most decisive single thing in the 2012 elections. Ghana is now a major transporter of guns to West Africa and I can tell you the level of gun flow into the country is interesting".
Dr. Aning made these assertions at a round table conference organized by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the theme: "Preventing Election Violence through legal enforcement and Political Tolerance", in Accra.
He noted that intelligence was about the gathering and the proactive use of information and alleged that in Ghana, even the techniques of gathering evidence is deficient. By the time the police is set to prosecute, evidence therefore becomes useless by the time it gets to court.
The no-nonsense security expert indicated that the level of hypocrisy in the country has trickled down into the political system so much so that as at now, government has not informed the chief of the Western Region that oil has been found on their land.
For his part, Justice Crabbe, a Supreme Court Judge and the chairman for the conference observed that if each individual of the country could realize his responsibility to the nation there would be no violence during elections. He therefore called on political parties to educate their followers as they look to their leaders.
Justice Crabbe averred that the country does not belong to politicians and that it belongs to the masses. When he took his turn, the National Chairman of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Peter Mc Manu, disagreed with the assertions of Kwesi Aning saying "I do not foresee any violence, I foresee improvement in the 2008 election rather".
He contended that if new technologies would be used it would forestall any electoral violence in the 2012 elections. Other discussants at the roundtable conference agreed that education would be the only way to curb electoral violence and charge politicians to educate their followers not to engage in violence Dr. Kwesi did not spare the media when he stated that the media by their language increasingly politicize acts of violence.
He called on the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) to consider education on language and also called on political parties to enforce their norms.