Police reshuffle: A return to patronage?

BY: Kingsley Mwin
John Kudalor - Ag IGP

Reshuffles in the Ghana Police Service and, to a wider extent, the security services are normal. Even within the Civil Service, reassignments of chief directors to other ministries are not uncommon.

The acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr John Kudalor, on November 27, 2015, issued a circular announcing changes in the Police Command structure. That was expected as his predecessors in one way or the other did similar realignments.

Recent changes

As a matter of fact, the last reshuffle by the immediate past IGP, Mr Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan, on March 27, 2013, saw few but significant changes to the appointments made by his predecessor, Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye. Key among those changes were the transfer of newly promoted Commissioner, of Police (COP), Mr Patrick Timbillah, Ashanti Regional Commander to replace DCOP Alhaji Hamidu Mahama as Director-General of Human Resource Development and (the late) COP Mr Stephen Andoh-Kwoffie from Central Region to replace DCOP Mina Ayim as Director-General, Welfare.


In the other changes, then Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Mr Angwubotoge Awuni, the Commander of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU), was moved to the Police Headquarters as Director, MTTU and to superintend over all MTTU operations in the country. Mr Awuni was replaced by Chief Superintendent Mohammed Suraji, who was Director of the Community Police Unit.

It was during those changes that the Public Relations Unit of the Ghana Police Service was elevated to a full department status with DCOP Rev. David Ampah-Bennin moving from Technical Services to become the Director-General, Department of Public Affairs.

During those changes, the Deputy Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr Christian Tetteh Yohuno, was elevated to the position of Regional Commander to replace COP Rose Bio Atinga, who was moved to the Police Headquarters. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACOP) Mr Timothy Bonga Yoosa, who was then the Divisional Commander for the Nima Division, became Deputy Accra Regional Police Commander.

Those changes were in sync with the initiatives of Mr Quaye under the Police Strategic Plan which sought to bring back professionalism and discipline into the service.

Return to mediocrity and patronage

Unfortunately, the changes, as announced by Mr Kudalor in his November 27, 2015 circular, can best be described as a return to the era of patronage in the Ghana Police Service where praise-singing, tribalism and cronyism supersede competence and rank and the destabilisation of the structures and systems set in place by his two predecessors. Sadly, most of the affected officers, if not all, heard of the transfers on radio.

It is an incontrovertible fact that patronage used to be the gateway to progress in the Ghana Police Service. As a result, professional ethics, competence, efficiency and discipline completely broke down. Lobbying among senior police chiefs over the topmost job in the service reflected serious defects in the structure of the law enforcement body, which made progress not dependent upon loyalty, competence and efficiency. Middle-level and junior officers are quick to identify a new IGP as “our man” and lobby to be posted or reassigned to lucrative places. They bootlick and would justify under the previous administration, they “suffered”.

This is why some of the changes by Mr Kudalor raise serious issues as they most certainly would lead to rank-feuds and a disengagement of existing systems initiated by Mr Paul Quaye and Mr Mohammed Alhassan. A disengagement of existing systems because the National Patrol and Visibility Department, the MTTD and the PAD have all been downgraded by the appointment of junior officers and designated as directors.

The changes

Commissioner of Police (COP) Rose Bio Atinga, Director General Administration, is now the Director General, Research and Planning, at the National Police Headquarters while the Director General, Finance, COP Dr George Akuffo Dampare, has been moved to the Accra Region as the Regional Commander.

The changes also saw Deputy Commissioner of Police DCOP Ransford Ninson, DCOP Christian Tetteh Yohuno and Assistant Commissioner of Police ACOP Patrick Akologo being promoted to Director-General of Administration, Operations and Finance respectively.

In a statement signed by the Acting Inspector General of Police, John Kudalor, last Friday, the changes are to be effected on Tuesday, December 1, 2015.

 According to the statement, the Director General, Public Affairs, DCOP Nenyi Ampah Benin, is to head the Police Investigations and Professional Standards Bureau (PIPS) while the Director General of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), DCOP Angwubutoge Awuni, is moving to the Eastern Region to take over from DCOP Yaagy Akuribah as the Regional Commander. Mr Yaagy is now the Central Regional Commander.

Elevations

Apart from Messrs Ninson, Yohuno and Akologo, another officer who has been promoted to a higher position is the Tema Regional Commander, DCOP Beatrice Vib-Sanziri, who moves to the Police Headquarters as the Director-General, Human Resource Department. She will be replaced by ACOP Paul Manly Awini, who was Director, Operations at the Police Headquarters.

 ACOP Patrick Adusei Sarpong, who was the Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Commander moves to the headquarters as Director of MTTD; ACOP Edward Tabiri is now the Director General in-charge of Legal; Chief Superintendent of Police, Obed Dzikunu, who was the Divisional Commander for Sekondi moves to the Police Headquarters as the Commander of the National Patrol and Visibility Department with Superintendent Cephas Arthur confirmed as Director of the Public Affairs Department (PAD).

Implications

What is the reason for making a Chief Superintendent and a Superintendent take over from a Commissioner of Police (COP) and a Deputy Commissioner of Police for National Patrol and Visibility and Public Affairs Departments respectively? Why would a Deputy Commissioner also take over from a Commissioner (Administration) when the COP is still in active service? Is it that there were no competent commissioners to replace their colleagues in a musical-chair situation?

The Public Affairs Department was elevated to department status so its head could take part in Headquarters Advisory Management Board (HEMAB) meetings to effectively communicate and also relate to peers at a better level.

How would a Chief Superintendent or an Assistant Commissioner superintend over Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners? What is the motivation of sending a COP, Dr George Dampare, to Accra Region? This is one person, with all his FAULTS, worked so hard to make sure that the Ghana Police Service was the first public institution to be enrolled on the new Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and also streamlined the table-top payments to personnel through the banking system. And for nearly two years, he had additional responsibility for the National Patrol and Visibility Department.

Mr Kudalor, apart from his academic and professional credentials, is a product of the intelligence community. This, therefore, puts him in a better position to critically assess whatever decision he is ‘advised’ to take because of the repercussions of destabilising the Ghana Police Service.

IGPs come and go but the Ghana Police Service remains. It is the legacy that one leaves behind that will let him or her be remembered for good. He should make sure he is not remembered as one of the IGPs who became the contractor, and his wife, the supplier of goods to the Ghana Police Service.