Wed, Aug

Heavily armed and unidentified security man at the Ayawaso West Wuguon Constituency by-election on 31st January 2019.

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If indeed, the shootings and the brutalities that occurred at Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency was executed by the National Security Forces on the blind side of the police, then it tells how National Security probably undermines the police service and its role of maintaining law and order in this country.

The role of National Security in the socio-economic development of Ghana can never be under estimated or downplayed. In fact, it is the highest decision-making body of security matters and interests in this country and that is why we need to discuss whatever happened at Ayawaso West during the recent by-election without partisan biases and sentiments.

The discussions and the commentaries have already taken political dimensions, thereby dimming the shine of objectivity, balance, accuracy and the national attention that this case deserves. The usual NPP-NDC rivalry and blame game is not making us see the real picture of the security implications and its rippling effects on Ghana, espcially if we fail to address it properly.

What happened at Ayawaso West is beyond the usual NPP-NDC political rivalry and their blame games but one which has the potential to open up the security of this country and provide a gateway for terrorists and other insurgents to take advantage of our poor security situations and arrangements. It can generate security complications and breaches for Ghana by local and external aggressors, so we must be worried as well intended Ghanaians and not NPP-NDC affairs. It goes beyond that.

If indeed, the shootings and the brutalities that occurred at Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency was executed by the National Security Forces on the blind side of the police, then it tells how National Security probably undermines the police service and its role of maintaining law and order in this country. It describes the absence of synergy and coordination between the police service and the National Security.

It shows how internal security arrangements are done haphazardly without coordinated and synergised efforts between the Police Service and the National Security. That in itself constitute security threats and breaches which could lead to a bloody clash between members of security agencies if things go on like this. It puts the police in real potential danger.

It is for a particular reason why the IGP, CID boss and one other COP serve on the National Security Council. So, for the National Security at any point in time to pick an intelligence and execute its own operations as it happened at Ayawaso West on the blind side of the police seriously indicts and undermines the position of the IGP and other two police representatives on the National Security Council. It tells how for all intended purposes the National Security is usurping the role of the police in maintaining law and order, and that is very dangerous to the security of this country.

Yes! It does, else the IGP and the two police representatives, who are key members of the National Security Council would have been in the know, and also be in position to know all those who went to Ayawaso to do whatever they did in the name of National Security whether masked or unmasked. In fact, the police administration would have been in position to know every police officer, his name, service number, the rifle number and the number of ammunition that each of the gun-toting masked man took to Ayawaso West.

We are much aware of how politicians in this country from both political divides (NPP and NDC) when are in power undermine the police and show gross disrespect towards police chiefs, simply because they appoint the IGP and determine the kind of position some people should hold in the police service. These politicians particularly political appointees and members of the ruling party behave as if they own the police service and it's very sad considering the turn of events.

The political appointment of the IGP has made these politicians to turn the police into a political chess game, and a tool of convenience to satisfy their whims and caprices at will. If we have this kind of situation in Ghana, we are likely to have a situation just like what happened at Ayawaso West Wuogon where everything happened on the blind side of the police, though the IGP and the CID boss are key members of the National Security Council.

In all these, who should be blamed? The politicians? I think differently. Our bane as a police service is how some top members of the police hierarchy play political cards and lobby at all cost to become IGP. After giving them the positions, the politicians then turn them into their puppets and dictate what the police should do. They see the police as a tool of convenience, that they can use for any purpose to satisfy their political greed.

Any police officer who fails to dance to the rhythm of these politicians, is quickly removed or transferred. For a very long time to come, the police service will continue to be a tool for political convenience for our politicians due to political patronage in the police service, until such a time that there is a more independent way of appointing IGPs with less political influences.

These days, in the police service, immediately the political tables turn, some police officers as high as COPs struggle to find their bearings. They are quickly branded and associated with certain political parties and either rewarded with key appointments in the police or relegated to the background without recourse to competence. It has become a vicious cycle, whereby some police officers come to power with political parties and ruling governments for 8 years and go into opposition for another 8 years with them.

I keep asking if it is okay for politicians to ride the IGP like a donkey, just because he is an appointee of the President. Should that be the case? Just because politicians appoint the IGP and determine who should occupy some key positions in the police service, so they should turn police officers into door mats and walk over them anyhow? Where then lies the pride of being a police officer with honour and dignity?

If you are police officer, whether a senior or junior rank and you are not ready to entertain these politicians and their nonsense, then be ready to endure victimisations of all kinds, shapes and forms in the police service. Be prepared to go on transfers every now and then. Be ready to be sidelined completely and be prepared to endure undue delays in your promotion, particularly from the rank of ACPs and above.

We must investigate this case beyond the usual NPP-NDC political rivalry and its power struggles but rather, we should analyse it holistically and assess its future security implications on this country in line with terrorism and threats of insurgency within the sub-region as well. Beyond whatever happened at Ayawaso West on the blind side of the police, lies the danger that terrorists, rebels, insurgents and other criminals can take advantage of our poor security arrangements and situations to unleash terror on us, and that should be our worry.

It looks like the police service is becoming more of a "spectator" in the affairs of National Security than a "citizen’s". There seem to be lack of coordination and synergy between the police and the National Security in terms of internal security arrangements and the consequences is what we saw at Ayawaso West.

We are all at risk. It doesn't matter the political party you belong to.

Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III



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