Ghana is known all over the world as an island of peace, stability, free speech and democracy in an often troubled African continent. Recently, the unstable nature of the African environment has re-appeared through the spread of news about military coups in Mali and Guinea Bissau. Senegal went to the brink and pulled back much to the relief of many Africans. Since my arrival here a few days ago, I have been receiving congratulations from many in the United States of America due to the fact that Ghana seemed well on its way in its preparations towards the December 2012 elections. The hope of many has been that with a successful election this year, Ghana's international credentials could become solid as a good global citizen and become a great environment in which both domestic and international investors would prosper. All of this has hinged on our level of tolerance – religious, ethnic and political; the rule of law; and freedom of speech, association and movement. My point is that something changed today.
Images and news coming out of Accra today of citizens running away from the police, tear gas, members of an opposition party arrested and even allegations about deaths is colouring in a very negative way discussions about doing business in Ghana. My friends are worried about where all this is leading and the fact that I am a candidate for the 2012 presidential election. The question many are asking is, “Who is in charge in Ghana?” When our president tells a nation in conflict over voters' registration that he is not a law enforcement officer or a prosecutor, people both Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian who want to risk their capital in the country tend to hesitate. Investment loves peace, freedom and stability. What has happened in Ghana this Monday can break the positive perception people have about Ghana. This damage can be repaired and this must be done through strong action on the part of President Mills. He must take charge and prove that he IS the President of our Republic who is also the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces and on whose shoulders the fortunes of the nation rest. The buck as is said stops with him. And he must wield these powers gently but firmly and in a manner that respects our freedoms and diversity as a people.
I am appalled by the overly aggressive way that the NDC and the NPP have gone about this biometric voters registration exercise. The bad blood exhibited and anger expressed by leading members of these two political parties if not checked will lead this nation on a very negative path to destruction. But it is the NDC led by President Mills that governs this country. The responsibility to lead and act in a positive manner rests with the NDC. We must find a way that does not allow so-called polling agents of the political parties at the point of registration and voting.
I am worried. This is the time for all good men and women to rise and collectively work to prevent chaos, hatred and selfishness from destroying the sacrifices we have all made over the years. Let us act tomorrow positively in the national interest to avoid chaos and instability.
God bless our homeland Ghana and save us from those who aim to oppress our people.
PAPA KWESI NDUOM
April 16, 2012
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