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Politics of Monday, 4 March 2019


Party militias undermining lawful security dangerous – Dr. Aning

The creation of militias empowered to perpetrate crimes and atrocities against the people of Ghana and also empowered to undermine statutory functions of the National Security Council is dangerous to the country’s security and further undermines loyalty, security analyst Dr Kwesi Aning has said.

According to Dr Aning, if sanity is not restored into the country’s security system, the situation, which is becoming prevalent can escalate and undermine the peace and security of the nation.

Dr Aning said this when he appeared before the Commission of Inquiry set up to probe the violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on 31 January 2019.

Some National Security operatives temporarily disrupted the by-election at the La-Bawaleshie basic school polling station when they fired into the crowd that had gathered at the private residence of the NDC’s candidate close to the polling centre.

The masked men also beat up unarmed civilians and assaulted a member of parliament, Sam George in the melee.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo set up the commission to probe the shooting incident.

Mr Aning cautioned that the security of the country is at risk when statutory security forces do not know of the existences of other non-statutory forces and their source of power.

He told the commissioners that: “The creation of militias, on one hand, empowered to perpetrate crimes and atrocities against the people of Ghana, and even more disturbing, undermining the statutory functions of the National Security Council by forming quasi non-recognised statutory SWAT team is dangerous to the security services and undermines loyalty.”

He continued: “The functions of the National Security Council are very clear – it takes measures to safeguard the internal and external security of Ghana, collect information relating to our security, assesses and appraises the objectives of that information and the risks to the country and takes appropriate measures…

“When you have statutory security forces who do not know of the existence of other forces who can be commanded and ordered to perform in the public space in the way that we saw, [then there is a problem].

“When we see the lack of coordination in decision-making when we see the provision of equipment to non-statutory groups that the formal forces don’t have, then we need to come back to the drawing board to say: ‘What is the order of hierarchy for making decisions? That breakdown in the order of hierarchy is one of the most serious threats to national security.”

Outlining steps to forestall future electoral violence, Dr Aning said the first step is to bring sanity back into our security system. “Let us know who is responsible for what and takes whose orders so that when the hierarchy fails somebody is held accountable.”

He further noted that: “When we have statutory security forces, paid for, fed, housed, transported by the Republic of Ghana, it is crucial and important that they are permitted and allowed to perform their functions”.