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Opinions of Sunday, 31 May 2020

Columnist: Chaa Nartey

Ghana security system and power manipulation


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In Ghana, according to the 1992 Constitution, ‘’constitution of the Republic of Ghana’’, there is a provision that allows the President of the Republic in article 212 section ‘1’ clauses (a) and (b) which stipulates that:

The President shall, acting in consultation with the Council of State, appoint –

(a) the Chief of Defence Staff of the Armed Forces; and

(b) the Service Chiefs

In the wisdom of the framers of the constitution the above provision was proposed on the basis of Loyalty, very good intention, but that can compromise the entire security system and can be dangerous as well.

There is the need to throw out a National debate on this subject matter and to come out with a solid logical solution. The stakeholders in this debate should include the following:

• The legal fraternity

• Security analysts

• Journalists

• The clergy

• All civil society groups that matter

This is necessary because in the Security Services the attainment of a higher position is by merit and that follows seniority and therefore if appointments are made on political lines it will break the fabrics of our Security System and therefore allow the powers that be to manipulate it.

For instance, assuming any of the Security Chiefs has just been elevated based on merit and there is a change of government, the new administration will immediately plan to remove him from office and replace him with their favorite Officer that is a fact. In order to help curtail such occurrences and to allow the Security of the country to work efficiently devoid of any political interference, there is the need for them to be given a constitutional cover irrespective of who will be in power at any given time.

Let’s take note that anyone who makes an appointment has the power to take it back and for that reason provides the piper, originates the tune and the appointee must dance to it. There are a number of scenarios we are to take note of:

Scenario 1

Where a Security Chief is an appointee of government

In this scenario since the so called Chief was appointed by the powers that be, he will always like to protect his job obviously because same powers can take back the appointment if he doesn’t dance to their tune, he will do anything to protect it, thereby refusing to ensure that the right Security Protocols are followed.

Scenario 2

Where a Security Chief is an appointee of government and a sympathizer of same but protected by the Constitution In this scenario although the Security Chief has been appointed by the government in power and also a sympathizer of same, but the constitution protects his position, there are obvious crimes and/or security breaches that will not be swept under the carpet, just because of job security. There is an integrity to protect because ‘’order from above to cover obvious crime will not hold’’ if he personally wishes to do the right thing. He will discharge his duties professionally without strings from above.

Scenario 3

Where a Security Chief rose through the ranks and attained the position by merit and also protected by the Constitution

In this scenario the Service Chief will have the free mind to execute his or her core mandate as a security Chief without any fear of intimidation or manipulation. Crime becomes a crime and Justice will be meted out fairly. The above subject and scenarios apply to the Judiciary system otherwise one set of groups will be aligned to a particular group or party and will seem to control everything in the country.

In the submission above, it is important to ensure that the Service Chiefs and their stakeholders hold allegiance to the government of the day, collaborate and cooperate fully to the State activities but independent in their line of duty.

Conclusion

In conclusion I would like to state emphatically clear that this article does not have any iota of political undertone, it is aim at revisiting article 212 of the 1992 constitution to debate extensively on the subject matter and to come out with the best solution on the appointment of our service chiefs. This will go a long way to strengthen our security system and law and order will be strong as well.

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