Ghana– the beacon of democracy in Africa and an icon of peace for West Africa is heading for a crucial test this Sunday – 7th December 2008. Dozens of African countries have plunged into wild flames and catastrophic crisis due to this test. Ghana has served as a haven for refugees. She was home to over 40,000 Liberian refugees most of whom were children and women during their 14 years of useless civil conflict.
She quenched the thirst of throat-dried neighbouring Ivorians who came running helter-skelter for shelter when they fought each other in 2002. Togo is just recent. Her hospitality has stretched beyond the borders of West Africa to Chad, Sudan’s Darfur, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. The major course of all these hogwash and preventable conflicts was ELECTIONS or POWER STRUGGLE. Ghana has served as a platform for peace-talks over the years.
In spite of all these skirmishes and bickering around its borders and beyond, Ghana has remained stable coupled with an enviable economic growth. In the past eight years inflation has dropped from 42% to a little over 17%. GDP (Purchasing power parity) stands at $31.13 billion (2007 est) according to the CIA – The World Fact Book on Ghana.
Any visitor to Ghana would find it difficult to notice that this peaceful country of West Africa is going to the polls – which have resorted in the deaths of millions of innocent people in some parts of Africa. It is business as usual. The markets and streets are inundated with Christmas items for sale. Traders are busily “harassing” prospective buyers to buy. The heavy traffics are still present on the streets amidst hassling and bustling for commercial vehicles during the rush hours. Of course, the giant political bill boards, miniature flags hanging on streetlights, electricity polls and on top of trees of the various political parties are very conspicuous. But who gives a hoot?
The Ghanaian media has so far performed above average. Although most of the radio and TV talk shows are generally political, panelists have done well to remain polite. However, some irresponsible newspapers bent on seeing Ghana roasting in flames are hitting below the belt with unethical political headlines that could exacerbate tension. It is always refreshing to hear positive comments from people especially in commercial mini-buses (we call them trotro). “Those who want to fight should go and fight. Politicians are not people we must die for,” seem to be the unison statement running across people’s conversation.
Ghanaians fear blood but can be very noisy (rowdy) sometimes. Ghanaians easily let go even at the height of heated tension. Ghanaians are religious and always want to leave God to fight for their rights. Ghanaians can’t look into each others eye and stab a fellow Ghanaian to death. Ghanaians are generally hospitable and would not want to leave this peaceful country as refugees in another’s. Ghanaians have a sense of pride in them and feel good living in their own backyard.
Ghanaians know that if the December 7th election ends in civil war, they have nowhere to go as refugees. Hence they would love to bury their differences and go to this historic poll in peace and not in pieces.