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Opinions of Monday, 30 March 2009

Columnist: Ablor, Richard Tei

Let Us Be Intelligent With Our Intelligence

Richard Tei Ablor

Within the past few days, Citi FM carried this story, “supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ashanti Region have called on former President John Agyekum Kufuor to leave behind all the controversy surrounding his use of the state property at Ridge as his personal office and return “home” to the Ashanti Region. An opinion poll sampled by CitiFM, in the Ashanti Region revealed that most of the NPP party loyalists in the region are not only upset about the current turn of events but also are disappointed as well……”

This is a very serious issue that should have concerned the National Security Cordinator. The position is an INTELLIGENCE gathering one that is intended to protect the state. Unfortunately, it does look like Lt Col Gbevlo-Lartey is not sure of the position he has assumed. It is not a security outfit that should be used to settle scores or intimidate people as the ordinary security person would do in the street.

In fact, when Gbevlo-Lartey’s name came up, l was worried. President Mills made the wrong choice of people who should handle the country’s intelligence outfits. As a trained officer with several years experience, l am worried at the way the country is going. We have been on that route before and that was in the 1980’s. Yaw Donkor and Gbevlo-Lartey may have problems with the Kufuor regime and for this reason would not be properly tuned for the position they occupy.

What is going to happen now is that instead of gathering intelligence, they would pursue people they think should be punished. These would not be based on any proper intelligence material and would therefore not have undergone any kind of analysis to determine its real and potential danger. Given this, it would not be surprising when suddenly we start hearing cases of coup attempts and the arrest of persons involved in conspiracies to overthrow the government.

The country needs a level-headed intelligent officer who would give impartial advice based on facts that have been properly analysed. Unfortunately, President Mills Security advisor happens to be someone who fell out with the former regime.

Francis Poku’s time with national security was not the best because his initial reaction when he took over the position was to push his personal agenda which is different from what he should be doing.

For those who would remember, General Hamidu was another failure because of the background he was coming from. It is not because the country has not got fine officers who would keep the country’s intelligence service working well. It is rather a sad case that Ghana’s politicians are not very comfortable with level headed professionals who would want to tell it as it is.

What is the point if all my leg-men are people who were dubiously recruited and think that they are only to provide some kind of information alone? It only means that the desk-men who would do the analysis would have garbage to work with and subsequently produce garbage as their final product. Some of these desk-men are people who do not have their heads properly screwed on and would simply want to please those in power.

This is what has killed the country’s intelligence services. With more than 29 years experience in intelligence, l am also worried at the sudden number of Security Experts that have appeared on the country’s landscape. What they have learned in their text-books are merely criminal behaviour and in some instances recent courses in peace-keeping.

Real intelligence cannot be learned from a book. It needs common sense, logic, level headedness and a bit of a third eye mentality to read through things. It is only when one is equipped with this, that such a person can say with some level of certainty that they have what it takes to pursue intelligence as a career.

In the streets of Accra, Kumasi and Tamale it is clear from what the people say casually that all is not well. The outbursts of the people during phone-ins on radio do show that there is some amount of disquiet. If l had the opportunity, these are things that should be brought to the knowledge of Mr President.

The President must be told the truth that the country is polarized. This means that his choice of Prof Kofi Awoonor-Williams was not based on proper advice. The President should have been told that with this man as the Chairman of the Council of State, even if he has changed his thinking, perception in some circles would help increase the growing Ewe-Ashanti divide which is not good for the country.

One is not sure if President has been told that there is talk about the Fante Confederacy around him. That is why the President should be advised to make certain pronouncements from time to time.

When the Kufuor’s bungalow issue came up, it was wrong for President Mill to keep silent. When Gbevlo-Lartey joined the fray, President Mills should have said something to show he is in charge. At least he could have shown that he is not going to encourage the Kufuor/Rawlings bad blood at this time that the country is divided.

In addition to those who would condemn this piece, it is my hope that at least one person would picks a thing or two from this write-up and inform the president that the ground does not look good.