Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning, a security expert at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPC) has predicted that 2016 would be a challenging year for Ghanaians due to the stakes for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
He said security judgment on the posture of the two major political parties: the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) gives perilous security signals; “we must all be worried about the posture of the two political parties”.
Dr Aning, who is the Head of Research at the KAIPTC, gave the caution in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Thursday in Accra on the sideline of a public lecture delivered by Mr Simon Coveney, Minister of Defence for Ireland.
The public lecture was organised by the KAIPTC in collaboration with the Irish Embassy on the topic “Irish Peacekeeping: Over 50 years of service”.
Dr Aning described as disturbing the use of “Political Macho men,” such as Bolga Bull Dogs and Azorka Boys by both political parties to intimidate their opponents.
“2016 is going to be very difficult, is going to be dangerous, we have already started seeing the makings of a potentially dangerous and tricky election.
“If the violence, abuse, intimidation and the use of the occults during the parties’ primaries are anything to go by, then I think we are moving towards the very edge for Election 2016,” Dr Aning said.
He said: “But because most of us will not be allowed into Europe, I think as ordinary citizens, we will have to make some very hard choices, whether we want to use violence to get somebody into power; of which we won’t get any of the trickledown effects, destroy our country and become refugees somewhere else.
“I think that choice, no one can make it for Ghanaians, and we have to make it ourselves. I know where my choice is but it is up to other people to make their choice.
“We have been lucky with Election 2008 and Election 2012 which were very tricky and we know that in Election 2016, the parties may not go to the Supreme Court. I think as citizens the choice is up to us”.
He said politicians would do what they need to do to get power, “don’t forget, politicians are only as powerful as we the citizens made them.
“As citizens what do we want? Do we want politician who will come and make good laws for us; who will see our welfare.
“Or we want politicians who are abusive of their elders, who are intimidating, who use voodoo, who will hire people to intimidate us or politicians who will use violent means that leads to death.
“I think those are the choices that we have and those are the considerations that we need to make,” he said.
On the performance of Electoral Commission (EC) over the years, according to Dr Aning the EC has lived up to its mandate.
He further described it as one of those institutions that can never satisfied those who loss or those who feel they are disadvantage.
“Throughout the history of the fourth republic, when people win elections with the same register they have never being abusive of the Commission; but when they loss election even with the same register, the same Commission, the same people suddenly become monster,” he said.
“So just like the security services, when people are in power they like the state institutions but immediately the live power they become suspicious of them.
He said that raises questions about the credibility of institutional mechanisms in this country, but even more importantly the knowledge base of those who govern about the performance of these institutions.
“And I think as a people, is up to us to say how do we best protect our institutions; so that they can perform as optimally for our benefits as possible. I think we are too quick to be suspicious, abusive and dismissive when we are on the losing end; I don’t think it will help us as a nation,” Dr Aning stated.