Ghana’s Inspector General of Police threatens to jam social media on election day

Inspector General of Police John Kudalor has threatened to shut off social media on the day of general elections in November this year. This, he reckons, would allow for a peaceful election. His statement shook the country’s media, the opposition party and most people whose jobs and daily endeavors relied on social media. Some civil society groups were also riled by the Inspector
General’s pronouncement. We do not know if the inspector general would be acting within his powers and rights as police chief. We do not know also if a state of emergency could be declared on the day of general elections to allow the inspector general to exercise ultra vires powers. He and his supporters refer to Uganda as an example where social media were shut down on the day of the country’s general elections. However,  the shut down and the conduct of the elections in Uganda was roundly condemned by the international observer groups. Is this the kind of reputation Ghana intends to cut for itself? As a democracy, Ghana has made a name for itself in Africa. The November elections would be just one of several that had been held since 1993. But the behavior of the Electoral Commission, particularly its current chairperson, Mrs. Charlotte Osei and the seeming collaboration with the ruling party and now  IGP Kudalor’s threats do not augur well for peace on that day. Ghana is neither Uganda nor any other African country for that matter, that its citizens could be easily pushed around with impunity. For the record, and/or as a reminder, Ghana was the first African country south of the Sahara to have fought for, and won political independence from tough and uncompromising colonial masters! No one, not even a sitting
democratic President can throw his or her weight around on people by virtue of the position he/she occupies. The IGP claims he would do what is best for security in the country. Shutting down social media is NOT the best way to ensure security of the country. It would attract unwanted and unwarranted international attention so much so that Mr. Kudalor would wished he never made that infamous decision!
Many a country in Africa has ended up flaring into a civil war following such misuse of power. Ghana has so far been able to manage its internal security in a volatile region. La Cote d’Ivoire on its west had to endure a couple of years of civil war that almost divided the country. Through the deft and skillful political and economic politics of President Ouatarra, the country has returned to normal. Liberia and Sierra Leone for almost a generation had to endure insufferable carnage just because a few citizens took the law into their hands. And Ghana is certainly not immune from similar occurrences in future. Amandla appeals to all security agencies, including Mr. Kudalor’s police, to refrain from acts that could mar the elections in November. Elections are serious business and any attempt to revamp fairness for crude and biased refereeing and supervision portends danger that could be very difficult to contain. Social media have come to stay. Any attempt to jam them or shut them down will be tantamount to repression of press freedom. No!! Ghana is too democratic for that Mr. Kudalor.

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Posted by on Jun 17 2016. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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