The news of a foiled coup in Ghana, which is seen as bedrock of democratic stability in West Africa, came like a blitz. How could it be?
Alleged plans to topple the democratically-elected president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, following the arrest of three suspected coup plotters, was announced on Monday.
The suspects are Ezor Kafui, Dr. Frederick Yao Mac-Palm and Bright Allan Debrah Ofosu. Graphic Online, a leading online newspaper in Ghana, reported that the suspects were arrested with explosive devices at Alajo, a suburb in Accra on Friday, September 20.
The suspects allegedly were caught with six pistols, three smoke grenades, 22 IEDs, two AK47 magazines and one long knife. Computer equipment, a voice recorder and a Ghanaian passport were also among the list of items reportedly seized.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the country’s minister of Information, said in a statement on Monday, September 23, that security forces had been monitoring the suspects’ activities for more than a year.
“The joint operation was to neutralise an elaborate plot targeted at the presidency, and with the ultimate aim of destabilising the country,” Nkrumah said in the statement.
Nkrumah also alleged that the suspects formed a group called “Take Action Ghana” (TAG), under the guise of mobilising the youth for nation-building, education, health and providing shelter for the needy, but actually meant to stage a coup.
Nkrumah however stated that the suspects were yet to be arraigned as they were being grilled in custody, pending the conclusion of investigation.
Analysts have expressed doubt that the intention of the arrested could amount to a conspiracy to topple the Ghanaian government.
Colonel (Rtd) Festus Aboagye faulted the government for accusing the suspects of a plot to overthrow the sitting government.
Speaking on an Accra-based FM radio station on Tuesday, Aboagye said the conclusion of the security agencies was pre-mature. He said the government had no concrete evidence to conclude that the syndicates were plotting a coup d’état.
“If this case goes to court, the state must prove beyond reasonable doubt that these individuals had a plan involving the three of them, two from the United States and some persons from the Ghana Armed Forces who have different roles to play, including mobilisation of funding, mobilisation of sensitisation, awareness, radicalisation, targeting or specific target on individuals,” Graphic Online quoted Aboagye to have said.
He added that the number of weapons allegedly seized by security officials were not sufficient to destabilise a state.
Analysts in the sub region also doubt if it was wise for the Ghanaian authorities to have given the tag of a coup attempt to whatever the arrested suspects could have been planning as they obviously the network and capacity to overthrow the government.
Ghana, which enjoys a good reputation as a stable democracy, could have in fact demarketed itself through its handling of the issue, they say.
President Nana Akufo-Addo came into office after he defeated Dramani Mahama, his predecessor, at the 2016 presidential election. He trounced Mahama with a margin of 9.45% and was sworn into office on January 7, 2017.
Ghana will hold general elections next year at which Akufo-Addo and Mahama are expected to slug it out again.