Police and partisan politics: Let’s use lessons from IGP removal plots for reforms
Albert Einstein is widely quoted to have once said that the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. These words resonate when one takes a keen interest in some of the things going on in our country today.
Ordinarily, such mischief is cured by independent institutions in every functioning democracy like ‘ours’ but Rome, we know was not built in a day. But the process of building Rome could have been truncated if the evils were given a free ride. As such, it would be preposterous to assume that because Rome was not built in a day and eventually got built, Ghana will be built eventually even if we keep watching evil people without doing anything in the Einsteinian context. As noted by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, evil people always support each other; that is their chief strength.
Thoughts of these should remind us of some ongoing developments, particularly with the alleged plots to remove the Inspector General of the Ghana (IGP). On Thursday, September 7, 2023, a memo from the Ghana Police Service read in part: “The Police Service has interdicted Commissioner of Police, George Alex Mensah, Superintendent Emmanuel Eric Gyebi and Superintendent George Lysander Asare, in connection with the audio tape which has become a subject matter of investigation by Parliament. The interdiction is to make way for disciplinary proceedings into their conduct in line with Police Service regulations.
However, as of the time of writing this article, the police administration in a statement on Thursday, September 7, 2023 had announced the suspension of the interdiction.
"In order not to prejudice the ongoing probe by Parliament, the Police administration has suspended their interdiction", the press statement signed and issued by the Director of Police Public Affairs, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Grace Ansah-Akrofi explained.
Talk in town is that of surprise over the bold public comments on national television by some of the front-line actors in the bi-partisan investigations into the alleged plots to get rid of the IGP, Dr George Akuffo Dampare. Many are believed to be taken by surprise that senior police officers with experience in Ghana’s public and civil service could say some of the things we have heard so far; open partisanship and the evil aspect of spirituality.
But the politicisation of our state institutions did not just begin today. In this country, are we sure that we do not know of the stuffing of some of our security agencies with people who are more partisan, sometimes, than some executives of political parties? Even if we admit that the politician is the evil person here, Albert Einstein’s quote above is still relevant; the destruction will be caused by the loud silence of those of us who watch without doing anything.
In a country where it is increasingly becoming the norm that those who want to do or say the right things are considered wicked, we should not expect anything less than some of the revelations in the Atta Akyea-chaired bi-partisan committee.
It is also not entirely true that Ghanaians are not saying anything about the recruitments and stuffing of partisan people into sensitive state institutions. It is the case that those who talk are not powerful enough to warrant a listening ear by the powers that be. In the past the Catholic Bishops Conference used to play a domineering role in seeking to correct some of the ills in our society, but it remains debatable today if the Bishops are still engaged in this national service. To what extent have our chiefs who are the custodians of our land commented on some of the negative decisions or actions taken by the ruling class? In some instances, our chiefs even praise the politicians.
It should beat our imagination how well trained, experienced and patriotic people fully equipped to serve their country in varied capacities would kowtow to politicians, some of whom are certainly less intelligent to ‘remote control them’. How would you feel when you eventually retire from active service? That your output while in active service was not truly due to your expertise but ‘order from above’? Let us pray that such sins do not extend to or prevail in other critical state institutions such as the Judiciary, the Legislature, and other sensitive security agencies — surely minus the Ghana Police Service where they believe in service with integrity.
It does not serve anyone’s interest to live in a country where the laws apply with alacrity to some and perceived not to apply to others. We aspire to higher feats and have standard references in the global north such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, among other countries.
We have deceived ourselves for far too long and the time to revise our notes is now. The Report of the Constitution Review Committee must be relooked at. It is abundantly clear that our 1992 Constitution has served us well by nurturing our democracy thus far but has also widened the class structure where the powers that be continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the suffering middle to low working class.
Our traditional and religious leaders, together with civil society, must speak up in a tone that seeks to undo some of the pronounced evils in our state institutions.
The writer is a Lecturer, Department of Political Science Education, University of Education, Winneba.