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Feature Article of Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Columnist: Kabu, Solomon

Say No To Rose Bio Atinga’s Reckless Statement

By Solomon A. Kabu

I am scandalized by a recent statement signed by the Director General, Administration, COP Rose Bio Atinga and I write this piece with a heavy heart. “The Police Administration wishes to dissociate itself from the decision by the District Police Commander of Tafo Pankrono Superintendent Kwesi Ofori to put a ransom of two thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢2,000) on the head of the suspect in the Tafo registration exercise disturbances,” the statement said.

Before the statement was issued on Thursday 5th April, the Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Police Service, DSP Cephas Arthur was interviewed by Fiifi Boafo, host of OMAN FM’s National Agenda morning show and DSP Cephas Arthur supported Supt. Kwesi Ofori’s action. That was commendable.

Why the sharp U-turn by the top hierarchy of the police now? I want to state unequivocally that I respect the Police Service as an institution and I respect our gallant men in uniforms too. But the posture adopted by the top hierarchy of the police especially during by-elections under this current government and even in the ongoing biometric registration exercise is shameful and disheartening, to say the least.

I still cannot believe the Police Administration issued this needless and reckless statement signed by COP Rose Bio Atinga. If indeed the statement emanated from the Police Administration, then the Inspector General of Police (IGP) should bow down his head in shame. It is obvious cheap politics is infiltrating into our police service and it is dangerous. I really cannot comprehend the thinking that went into the statement issued by the Police Administration. What signal does this statement send to officers in the lower ranks who will be policing the various polling stations across the country? Let us say NO to this statement and posture by the top police hierarchy. Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye and COP Rose Bio Atinga are dissociating themselves from Supt. Kwesi Ofori today because he is upholding truth and professionalism? God have mercy!

We are told that it is because of the ransom on the head of the NDC hooligan, Dzigbodi who allegedly led thugs to assault a registration officer and also disrupt the registration exercise in Kumasi.

Mr. IGP; between Supt. Kwesi Ofori and the known NDC hooligan Dzigbodi, who should be treated with such disdain? Joseph Yammin, NDC Ashanti Regional Secretary says “If Superintendent Kwesi Ofori has been hired to do the bidding of the NPP in his area, then he should give an order for all in the NDC to be killed,”-“we will not sit for Supt. Kwesi Ofori to intimidate and cow us” The Police Administration is not interested in Yammin’s baseless allegation but to hurriedly dissociate themselves from Supt. Kwesi Ofori is of more importance to them. What sort of society are we building?

If all district and regional commanders were dealing with hoodlums attacking registration centres, we will not continue to hear these nasty reports associated with a mere registration. Unfortunately, one of the bold officers in the police service, Supt. Kwesi Ofori, who wants to deal with those miscreants causing chaos in the registration centres in his district, is rather disowned by the IGP in a guise of a ransom.

I want to encourage Supt. Kwesi Ofori and other gallant men in the police service to continue to do their work with integrity and boldness especially in this electioneering year. The good people of Ghana are solidly behind you and we appreciate your love for Ghana and not for political authorities who are desperate to entrench themselves in power.

I humbly call on the National Peace Council, and the various religious heads (i.e. Christian Council, Islamic leaders, traditional leaders) to call the top police hierarchy, especially the IGP, to order. We love being reactive to problems in Ghana and it is not good. This is a clear opportunity for the Peace Council and the religious heads to act now because the clouds are getting thicker and darker. Ghana is the only country we have, and we all have a responsibility to maintain this peaceful Ghana. More appropriately, President Mills and the IGP have greater responsibility in maintaining this peace. If the IGP thinks political pressures are not allowing him to discharge his duties with alacrity and professionalism, he should resign honourably. And those unseen hands can shamefully assume the position of the IGP if they can. It is becoming nauseating to always hear reports of violence in just a registration exercise. What will it be when we are voting simultaneously across the country? The writer disagrees with those who say the NDC and the NPP will plunge Ghana into violence. Dishonesty, insincerity, hypocrisy, deliberate lies and “yes-sa-boss” to political authorities are threats to our peace and stability, especially in this electioneering year. It is the fundamental responsibility of the police to maintain peace, protect lives and properties. If someone goes to disrupt any of the electoral processes (i.e. registration, voting and declaration) the police need to arrest and prosecute that person without considering his/her political affiliation. But when the police become selective in their arrest and/or prosecution it would lead to lack of faith in the police. And the natural reaction would be “all-die-be-die” or “all-die-be-bold” or Malcolm X’s saying that “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.” Let us not get to that point. Also, none of the actors in the 2012 elections would sit down for his or her right to be trampled upon. That is why those who have been paid by the tax payers’ money to maintain peace should do exactly that. And avoid the temptation of selectiveness and “yes-sa-boss” to political authorities.

As a young man and a political activist, I want to see Ghana overcome these dark clouds and I believe we can. My passionate appeal to the police is that they should not be cowed by political pressures but uphold truth, integrity and professionalism in this electioneering year especially. Let us collectively do out parts and respect the tenets of democracy. And, with Jesus in the boat we can smile at the storm.

Source: The Citizen Newspaper (thecitizen.news@yahoo.com) +233 27 731 4655

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