Every country gets the police service it deserves. You doubt that? In 2015, I wrote an article in the aftermath of the Anas Expose on the Judiciary and said that every country gets the judiciary it deserves because a people’s culture has a lot to do with how their institutions work.
The part of our culture in our national life shows from how related we are and how we take advantage with our associations to do good and also free ourselves from trouble. We use our links with chiefs, Pastors and religious leaders and politicians anytime we have any brush with the law and we know these influential people can use their offices and freedom is just a phone call away!
So when about a month ago, our President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo charged the IGP and the police service to be apolitical in their duties and not feel compelled to work for the ruling government, I applauded him and yet asked how our culture would allow the IGP to carry the President’s advice as the gospel.
Indeed, the presidential advice came around the time a certain Invisible Forces security group operating in the name of the NPP had been let loose to seize state vehicles and to allegedly go round to exact their pound of flesh from the members of the previous government. It looked like, the police were impotent in dealing with their onslaught, knowing the political power behind the group.
The name of the Invisible Forces has even featured in the unfortunate Kintampo Water Fall disaster but we all looked like some lame ducks. Then, from Kumasi comes another group called the Delta Forces. On TV and social media, their attack on an appointee of the President of the republic to the office of Regional security coordinator has confirmed my fears and those of the security experts who have constantly reminded the nation of the looming dangers in the NDC and NPP nurturing what they say is political militancy.
Yes, it is not the first time we are witnessing this bizarre show of impunity in the name of political activism. In the times of Former presidents Ata Mills and John Mahama, some NDC foot soldiers matched on some offices to ‘uproot’ certain officers from their legitimate offices including one in which some tender documents were destroyed. I can’t recall the outcome of the police investigations in all these incidents. But the bottom-line is nobody went to prison for all those grievous offences. The reason simply being that the suspects belonged to the party in power.
In opposition, the NPP alleged severally that some of their members were attacked by the NDC but the police didn’t act just because they felt powerless dealing with government-linked groups. Now the tables turned and NPP affiliate groups allegedly went about taking over state properties and attacking perceived opposition subjects without much reaction from the police till the President openly encouraged the police not to feel their hands tied when dealing with Government related cases.
Last Friday presented the first test for the IGP as a group of agitated NPP supporters run over the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council offices in ‘an Aboakyer style’ to capture an appointee of the President in charge of Regional Security in an obvious defiance and disrespect of His Excellency who appointed him.
The Police did well by going to the poor man’s rescue but he was humiliated as he was seen falling down on TV as he was shoved here and there on his way to safety. Then there was someone supposedly speaking as the group’s spokesperson explaining why someone else and not the gentleman should have been appointed by the president. Then the spokesman literally sent a warning to the President to replace this man or there will be dire consequences!
The police has arrested one of these guys but it leaves to be seen what the outcome will be because, their spokesperson said they were in the trenches and bushes and fought their way to bring the NPP to power. To them, that makes the group kingmakers and I wonder how the IGP will deal with such ‘royals’ in the NPP.
Time and space have been invested in discussing these groups in the NPP and NDC over the years but they both did nothing about it and rather sponsored them directly or indirectly but it is time now for there to be a concerted national action starting from the police and the courts to deal with them to uproot them from our governance system. That calls for a genuine and practical support from the politicians.
If the IGP fails with this test case, we’ll be endorsing more of such groups to spring up in the names of political parties and we’ll be breeding a future doom brigade awaiting to explode in conflagration of the nation. Go ask Boko Haram, ISIS and the others which started in the name of religion and politics.
By Kojo Ackaah-Kwarteng
Head of Station,Onua 95.1