The West Africa Center for Counter-Extremism (WACCE), says Ghana’s political stability may be disrupted, in the wake of terrorism in the Sahel and other domestic challenges such as youth unemployment.
In a report by the regional security research organisation, it said even though Ghana has been relatively peaceful over the years, there is the likelihood of an upsurge, due to recent happenings in the sub-region, and neighbouring countries such as Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast.
WACCE maintained that the threats of political instability can, however, be forestalled if measures are put in place to prevent the impending dangers.
“The threat of terrorism is increasingly descending from the Sahel towards the Coastal States. Today more than 53% of all ECOWAS states are experiencing insurgencies. The pervasive spillover phenomenon makes Ghana’s border regions a key area of concern.
“Recent attacks in Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast highlight the determination of the terrorists to expand beyond landlocked Sahelian countries, where the insurgency has devastated thousands of lives and property in the last decade.
“Ghana has a big number of prolonged unresolved chieftaincy and ethnic conflicts and tensions, particularly in the Northern regions.
“The inherently high exploitative capacity of extremists implies that these vulnerabilities put Ghana in danger of terrorist exploitation”, a summary of the report revealed.
The report further stated that “Many analyses project the pervasive youth unemployment rate of about 5%9 as one of the biggest risks. The present government set up the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) to absorb the high number of unemployed graduates, most of them temporarily.
The growing joblessness has driven many onto cyberspace to live in an illicit economy.
The determination of social activists such as the #FixTheCountry campaigners to exploit the security, economic and governance challenges amplifies the risks associated with youth grievances.
The above highlight the widespread nature of the threat to Ghana and underscores the importance and urgency needed to escalate national commitment to preventing the threat from spilling into Ghana”.
In a related development, an international conflict resolution expert, Col. (Rtd.) Festus Aboagye has charged government to address the socio-economic inequalities to fight terrorism and attacks.
According to him, factors and circumstances that have led to military coups in other West African countries exist in Ghana; hence, government must put stringent measures to deal with the grievances of agitated groups and individuals.
In an earlier interview on Newsfile, the ex-military officer warned that the country is susceptible to similar coups and attacks in other neighbouring countries if the socio-economic needs of the citizens are not fixed.
“All of us need to be worried. I belong to the school of thought that you don’t fight terrorism with only guns and bullets. Indeed, it will be more productive to address some of the socio-economic inequalities.
I don’t need to be a political scientist or an economist to argue that the Northern part of this country [is] bordering countries that are unstable, where there are gross socio-economic inequalities”, he stated.
Touching on how the looming political instability can be averted, WACCE said, “The overall effectiveness of Ghana’s response will be determined by the State’s willingness to recognise that the battle against terrorism and the drivers that underpin it cannot be won on the battlefield alone.
It will be won in the local community in dealing with the drivers of radicalization and building resilience against the threat.
It will be won by effectively addressing grievances, mobilizing local community support and goodwill to build the social and economic infrastructure that is required to build resilience against extremism”.