Why is Ghana less affected than its neighbors?
Ghana, although surrounded by countries affected by terrorism, at first glance appears to have been largely spared from terrorist attacks. According to the digital platform worlddata.infoThe risk of terrorist attacks in Ghana can be described as almost insignificant: in the past five years, the West African nation has recorded two terrorist incidents in which three people were injured. There were no deaths.
Positive security scenario
What is behind Ghana’s positive security scenario? Ghana has not necessarily been immune to terrorism, Emmanuel Bombande, a conflict resolution and development professional in Accra, Ghana’s capital, told DW.
“But it is true that there have been no terrorist attacks,” Bombande said, adding that Ghana is not immune from terrorist attacks and therefore cannot become complacent. “An important element … is the commitment of a very active citizen to speak out on all issues that may become the ground for terrorist activities and terrorist attacks.”
Active role of civil society
In this regard, the active role of civil society in training the people towards the type of political discourse is important, Bombande said. He recognized the important role played by the Ghanaian media, which are often critical of the government and suffer harassment from some government officials.
“The ability to bring the state to recognize that, everywhere in its sovereign territory, we must have the presence of the state, not as a military presence, but the capacity for good governance starting at the local level”, he declared. Ghana shows religious tolerance, Bombande said, referring to mixed marriages between Christians and Muslims and good understanding between religious leaders.
These have become positive constructs to build on, he said. “We must be aware that grievances have a space for dialogue on fundamental issues such as land disputes and traditional chieftaincy, so that they do not become a deep rift that can be exploited by terrorist groups,” he said. -he declares. “There have been attempts to enter this space, but these terrorist groups could be identified and kept away from Ghana.”
Nonetheless, Ghana is not perfect, Bombande said. Continued efforts, recognition of accountability and a functioning parliament are essential. Being active in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Accra Initiative are also elements of a collective response from a regional perspective.
The Accra Initiative was launched in September 2017 by Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo in response to growing insecurity linked to violent extremism in the region. It aims to prevent the spread of terrorism from the Sahel and to fight transnational organized crime in border areas. “Terrorists did not deliberately avoid attacking Ghana,” said security analyst Kwesi Anin DW.
One of the reasons for Ghana’s current low risk status is its military, which is experienced in peacekeeping, well trained and able to provide a very critical and credible response, Anin said.
Border communities made aware of the dangers
In recent years, there has been a strong government-community-society relationship marked by loyalty and trust, Anin said. Border communities are the first stop in terms of the country’s defense, Anin said. They are not rich, but resilient. They support and protect each other and have good communication networks.
Over time, this powerful tool works across borders. There is activity between border towns and across borders. In addition, the Ghanaian armed forces have undertaken joint exercises with its neighbors Burkina Faso, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire. Over time, Ghana has sent a clear signal that it is capable of repelling such terrorist activities.
Key to success
Foreign policy and security analyst Adib Saani mentioned the robust security system that Ghana has put in place. “There is no active insurgency going on in any part of the country like it is with Boko Haram in Nigeria and therefore the intelligence community in Ghana is not that overwhelmed,” Saani said. DW.
“Time and attention is devoted to preventing violent extremism or the importation of terrorists into the country. Compared to other West African countries, Ghana’s security system is much more robust, Saani said. In the sense that there is a very fine, elaborate and decentralized security architecture, from the national security council to the regional security council as well.
“Overall, in Ghana, we have been able to maintain a level of human security and national cohesion in all parts of the country, so that terrorists have no place to integrate,” Saani said.