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General News of Friday, 21 May 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Akufo-Addo turns blind eye to Emile Short recommendations on National Security, militia

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

• Government rejected some of the recommendations by the Emile Short Commission which centers on the ill-conduct of National security operatives.


• Some recommendations in the report would have prevented recent attacks by the National Security if it had been implemented


• Experts are pushing for proper restructuring of the operations of the National Security

Recent happenings involving the National Security which bothers on human right infringements and abuse of power has birthed conversations on portions of the recommendations of the Emile Short Commission report that tackled the conduct of National Security operatives.

The commission in its final report to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo pointed out several faults within the security outfit that needed fixing with some level of promptness.

Among others, it called for the immediate dissolution of all political party militia groups across the country.

But until now, some experts and members of the main opposition National Democratic Congress, NDC, are of the view that government and other appropriate authorities have turned a blind eye to such recommendations with the observation that, the issues that led to the infamous Ayawaso West Wuogon incident have grown from bad to worse in recent times.

The recent attacks on two journalists; Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu-Baidoo by security operatives and the removal of Ashanti Regional National Security coordinator, DCOP Opare Addo from office allegedly by members of pro-government vigilante group Delta Force, among others are examples of how the situation has escalated.

Following these attacks, calls from several individuals seeking for the proper restructuring of the operations of the National Security have intensified.

In line with these calls, it has become necessary for us to look at some recommendations that sought to tackle the menace of vigilantism and putting the conduct of National Security operatives in check

1. The Commission recommended that the police should review their recruitment procedures and install merit-based criteria to ensure that the most qualified, and not the most well-connected, persons are enlisted

It can be recalled that a director of academic affairs and research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Center, Prof Kwesi Aning, earlier supported calls for the restructuring of the training curriculum for recruits into the Ghana Police Service. To him, restructuring to equip police personnel to offer effective services was long overdue.

“Restructuring is so long overdue, and I hope that the powers that be in the Ghana Police Service and the Ministry of Interior will listen to him, let him bring out a paper so we can start the process of reviewing the curriculum in giving the police service the skill set they need to give us 21st century policing,” he stated in a November 2018 interview.

2. The Commission recommends the immediate criminalization of the establishment and/or funding and other support for militia organizations in Ghana.

DCOP Opare Addo was forcefully kicked out of office by members of the supposedly disbanded pro-NPP vigilante group Delta force.

3. The Commission recommends that the President should review and restructure the Ministry of National Security with a view to ensuring clarity of responsibilities and roles as well as lines of reporting

Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Samuel Nartey George, criticized President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over what he said was his lack of political will to make structural changes to the country’s national security setup.

4. The Commission recommends that intelligence-based agencies should operate under the law and be guided by the fundamental human rights of citizens. In this vein, the Commission also recommends that operatives of the National Security Council should be trained to internalize human right rules, including the provisions on the fundamental human rights of the constitution within their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

The manhandling of journalists, Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu-Baidoo has re-ignited the topic of human right abuse within the operating procedures of the National security.

The Commission recommends a strict adherence to the rules on searches and seizures, especially as regards to respect for the privacy of the citizen. Consequently, the Commission recommends that a ministerial directive be issued reminding all state operatives of the need to respect the citizen’s privacy except as authorized by judicial orders.

Although GhanaWeb cannot confirm or deny that a ministerial directive has been issued in that regard, it can however be noticed that security operatives continue to flout the rules on searches and seizures. A classic example is the case of how the arrested Citi FM journalists had their phones seized and searched without proper processes.

The Commission recommends that the SWAT team of the National Security Council Secretariat should be disbanded and operatives be reassigned as appropriate.

Security experts Professor Kwesi Aning and Mr. Adam Bonaa have called for the disbandment of the operational wing of the National Security. According to them it is not the National Security’s duty to undertake basic arrests.

The Commission recommends the criminal prosecution of Mr. Ernest Akomea alias ‘Double’ for the unauthorized possession of firearms under section 192(1) of the Criminal Offences Act.< /b>

Among the recommendations rejected, the government said Mohammed Sulemana, the SWAT officer seen on camera assaulting the Ningo-Prampram MP did not need to be prosecuted, contrary to the opinion of the commission.

The government in its ‘white paper’ argued that the facts presented by the commission supported a valid defense of provocation for the said assault on the MP (by Mohammed Sulemana).

The Commission recommends the immediate removal of DSP Samuel Kojo Azugu from command responsibility at the Ministry of National Security.

Reports from Kudah's experience indicate that DSP Samuel Kojo Azugu is still at post. This is based on the fact that he called on the media organization to apologise for the ill-treatment meted out to two of its staff (Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu Baidoo).

Background

The Commission of Inquiry was chaired by the former head of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Francis Emile Short to investigate the violence which marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election held on January 31, 2019.

Among other things, the commission made several recommendations to restructure the National Security operations including punishments to persons indicted ahead of the 2020 elections.

Government’s ‘White paper' report’

After the release of the Emile Short report, the government introduced a White Paper saying that the Commission failed to achieve its core terms of reference. Among other things, it rejected some recommendations of the commission, including one for the prosecution of an individual who assaulted Ningo Prampram MP, Sam George.
The White Paper also rejected a recommendation for a minister of state, Mr. Bryan Acheampong, to be reprimanded.

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