Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short, says unhealthy signals picked from recent by-elections in the country pose a great threat to Ghana’s fragile democracy.
Speaking at a forum held in Accra Wednesday to mark World Democracy Day, he said violence that characterised bye-elections at Atiwa, Chireponi and Akwatia constituencies give much concern for Ghanaians to worry because what happened in Rwanda a decade ago could be replicated in Ghana, a country touted as a model of democracy.
“More alarming is a report that vigilante groups mounted roadblocks and were checking the identity of people entering the constituency. This is a dangerous development akin to the situation that developed in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide when Hutu militants mounted roadblocks at various locations checking the identity cards of all passers-by with the view to determining who was Hutu and who was Tutsi, and killing the Tutsis who were encountered at these locations.”
Mr Short described the situation where even about 1200 police personnel deployed at Atiwa could not contain the violence that erupted there as a “dangerous development”. A former diplomat K. B. Asante was of the view that political corruption should be blamed for the current state of Ghana’s democracy.
He said many of today’s politicians are only interested in serving their own selfish interests. The media also got its fair share of the naming and shaming. General Manager at the Graphic Communications Group, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo admitted that there are some lapses on the part of some media houses.
However, he also accused politicians of being hypocritical when it comes to the media. “The difficulty sometimes also is that when we come to do evaluation or assessment of the performance of the media we are selective. We are always agreeing with those which are promoting us and condemning those who are not promoting us.”