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Opinions of Thursday, 12 November 2015

Columnist: Daily Guide

Kudalor' appointment: Service or disservice

Opinion Opinion

The retirement of Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan and the appointment of John Kudalor as his successor last Monday expectedly triggered a national discourse, especially among opposition elements.

While the president is vested with the prerogative of appointing and firing key office holders, one of them the Inspector General of Police, the discretion nonetheless cannot go without observations and suggestions.

The discussion of the appointment under review is underpinned by a number of developments which occurred in recent times, the most prominent being the management or otherwise of the “Let My Vote Count” demonstration and the matters arising from same, especially John Kudalor’s stewardship as Director of Operations of the law enforcement agency.

Given the position of Kudalor on the seniority scale at the Police Headquarters, the president should have found in him a quality which inures to his (president’s) advantage, which is what curious Ghanaians seek to know.

As Director of Operations, Mr John Kudalor was responsible for everything that went sour with the policing of the demonstration warts and all. If his direction of the operations attracted such public opprobrium, his remarks – almost justifying somewhat the loss of a citizen’s eye and the heavy handedness associated with the policing – earned him unenviable public disrespect.

We have come such a long way from the days of military dictatorship – our current democratic status vesting almost unrestricted freedoms on us – that inordinate use of force to manage lawful demonstrations could incur the wrath of the people, the fallout of which would not be in the national interest.

Elections are around the corner and many Ghanaians, especially on the other side of the political divide, think that John Kudalor would be more malleable to the wishes of the politicians at the helm, regardless of how this would not be in consonance with the tenets of best policing practices.

We do not want to think that John Kudalor would be a man who would withhold important admonitions from the professional standpoint to the politicians who have appointed him. The president needs such good counsel lest he suffers the repercussions of heavy-handed security responses to public agitations and human right abuses.

John Kudalor will not be forgiven if he withholds such admonitions because he dreads incurring the wrath of his boss. It is better to offer such good counsel and be damned or even fired than withhold it and throw the whole country into avoidable chaos.

As Police Chief with vast policing experience, his functions include advising his appointing officer about the oddity and unprofessionalism of certain actions, no matter how these do not play to the advantage of the party in power.

John Kudalor has another opportunity to prove his sceptics wrong, bearing in mind that his loyalty is to the state of Ghana and not to the parochial interest of a segment of the population. Such would not conform to world standards and could open our country to international ridicule.

The WhatsApp age supported by smart phones make pictorial capture of police brutalities as easy as ABC and spreadable worldwide within seconds.