Security Forces in Ghana Thwart Attempted Coup
Ghanaian security operatives foiled a coup on September 20. Take Action Ghana (TAG), an organization seeking to recruit and radicalize Ghanaian youth, planned the coup attempt. Security officials say the organization colluded with senior military officers and soldiers in a plot to secure weapons, take control of key installations, and displace the government. The Ghanaian Ministry of Information released a statement on Twitter on September 23 outlining the details of the operation, the assailants, and the assets seized.
Security agencies arrested three planners from TAG—Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, Ezor Kafui, and Bright Allan Debrah Ofosu—after monitoring their activities for 15 months. One of the suspects was a doctor at Citadel Hospital, which the group used to store and manufacture weapons.
According to the government’s statement, TAG sought to mobilize youth in Ghana on a platform of nation-building, health development, education, and housing creation. However, officials claim that TAG intended to radicalize their followers against the government. Security forces seized several weapons and tools, including six pistols, 22 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and three smoke grenades, as well as magazines, artillery, and passports.
Security analysts downplayed the seriousness of the attempted coup, claiming that the group had neither the following nor the capacity to pose a real threat to the government.
“I don't think these people have the capacity to do that, even if they want to,” Sudan-based security analyst Prosper Nii Nortey Addo said, according to Deutsche Welle. The Ghanaian public has been skeptical of the importance of the attacks but have condemned the threat to the government.
The coup attempt comes as a surprise given the present strength of Ghana’s government. Ghana has been a stable democracy for nearly three decades, with no attempted coups since 1992. The current Fourth Republic was established after a military insurrection in 1981, which followed five coups in the 1960s and 1970s.
Some security analysts worry about the impact the coup attempt will have on Ghana’s stability and international image. “We can only reassure the community that we are still the beacon of democracy, peace, and stability in a troubled sub-region on the African continent,” political analyst Ibrahim Alhassan said.
Incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo has been the subject of much international praise. He was elected in 2016 on a platform of free high school education, economic growth, and economic infrastructure development. He was recently named Africa’s best president in 2018 by Canadian-based research organization Leaders of Tomorrow and was ranked third for “World Presidents with Vision” by the World Vision Forum, an American think tank.
However, according to BBC, Akufo-Addo’s constituents do not believe that he has delivered on his campaign promises. In a statement on January 29, the president claimed he had fulfilled 41 of his campaign goals at a special election rally and that his government had no plans of slowing down.
Ghana will have another presidential election next year, with Akufo-Addo running against former-President John Mahama. The attempted coup against Ghana’s government could be a sign of a contentious election to come. However, Ghana’s government remains stable and secure for now.