I write this paper with deep sadness and disappointment looking at the issues unfolding in our security services. Any one who has suffered a 5:45am day light robbery like me will understand why I write with sadness and disappointment. The other issue that makes me sad is the fact that I feel the many stories we heard growing up, about the security services especially the military were nothing but “Kweku Ananse” stories.
Back in the days when we were growing, we heard of many glorifying stories of how the police was your friend and thus you could walk in anytime and tell them your problems. We also heard of how the Navy were very neat in terms of their uniform, and of course the almighty military men. We heard of how no one will dare try to pose as a military man. We also heard of how being spotted for wearing a military trousers you bought from kantamanto could earn you about 500 push ups or cleaning a portion of the nearest gutter.
Today I am a bit older and I hear different stories. I hear about how some security officers are aids to armed robbers, how some robbers pose as security officers to rob others on highways, how some security officers escort “Sakawa” boys for a fee. We also hear of how two security agencies clash at a political party elections.
These events are really worrying especially for those of us who have had guns pointed on our heads before just because of a phone and a few Ghana cedi notes. It is serious because you do not know who to run to when you have a problem. This actually vindicates me of not reporting to the police when I was robbed because it has been alleged that some police officers are aids to these robbers and leak information to them thus to avoid further intimidation I refused to report to the police.
The reported issues of some religious leaders unlawfully using security personnels also exist. I do not watch television but about six weeks ago I saw a “pastor” on tv dressed in a military uniform kind of attire when I went to the barbering shop. I was so angry not just because this person was dressed in a military uniform while he was not a military man, but the fact that, that particular media house allowed him on without telling him that it was wrong to dress like that and that the media house could not show that to the whole world. I am very sure that if you ask him he will give a very flimsy excuse that he is a spiritual soldier. If he is a spiritual soldier then he has no business wearing his spiritual military uniform in the physical world. So far as we are concerned he may be a General in the spiritual army but in the Ghanaian army he is not registered so it will be fraudulent to wear a military uniform.
Even though many of the alleged cases may be false, it is important that our security agencies work on improving the security measures to regain the full confidence of the people. Many of the uniforms or security materials criminals use may be fake, but the fact that criminals are not afraid to use security materials for their operations makes it very worrying.
For the past few days we have heard about how military men were sent to Ningo Prampram while the police were supposed to be in charge. We have heard of alledged military involvement in the NPP heard office raid. Even though the military has responded to the allegation as false, it undermines the work of the security forces greatly.
With reference to my paper I named “Macho rulers of Ghana” I indicated why the interior Minister could not clamp down the activities of illegal political party securities. I gave one of the reasons to be the fact that many of the violent young men get arrested and powerful forces see to their release without prosecution. The alledged raiders of the NPP headoffice have been granted bail and that will probably be the begining of their release process.
In as much as I acknowledge the fact that there are many genuine and hard working security men and women risking their lives for civilians every day and the need to appreciate them, it is also equally important to talk about the fact that some bad personnels also bring their name into disrepute. Unfortunately we hear more of the bad operations of either security impostors or bad registered security officers aiding and abetting crime.
I will like to use this paper to plead with heads of security agencies to try and draw their men from politics and also put in some more effort to reduce the bad name that some few officers are carving for them.
I will also use this opportunity to salute all the hard working security officers for the great works you do for us day and night.