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Anthony Kweku AnnanArticlesGhanaPoliticsSocial Issues

Arms in Private Hands

Arms in private hands

There are periodic reports of discovery of arms and ammunitions being conveyed from one point to undisclosed destinations in this country. Consignments of guns and cartridges, explosives and other lethal weapons are uncovered at the borders, hidden in travelers’ luggage or specially-contrived compartments on vehicles.

It always takes a lot of intuitive diligence, and sometimes tip-offs, to come upon such hiding-places of deadly weapons being smuggled into the country or being transported inland. Sometimes the smugglers manage to escape detection and payment of duties when then they use unapproved routes, to avoid Customs and Preventive officials at the border posts. All the same, some of them are eventually caught at Police and/or Customs road blocks.

We also have locally-manufactured shotguns of various sizes, usually small and handy. These are normally patronized by hunters and farmers. The trade in arms and ammunitions has been a genuine or legal business in the past. Licensed Arms Dealers could import shotguns (usually long, single- or double-barrel models), into the country. Buyers were/are required to acquire Police Permits to possess and use them for specific purposes such as hunting.

Keeping shotguns for self-defence was hardly a remote objective, because self-defence or ‘Security’ had not been a major concern until the recent thirty or so years, when armed robbery has been on the upsurge. Another burning concern has been the presence of Fulani herdsmen who are armed to the teeth with AK47s originally supposed to be used by the Police and special Security operatives. One really wonders how such people manage to come by those weapons.

The arrest of a Ghanaian in the United States of America who, allegedly, had hidden a number of firearms and stuffed canvas boots with thousands of US dollars, in fridges intended for shipment to Ghana, has hit the headlines and social media this week. Initial reports indicated that the suspect was still being quizzed for the needed information on the prospective consignees in Ghana, or any others behind the transaction.

The incident has a lot of significance at a time the Nation is preparing for Elections in less than six months. Again, we had witnessed a situation whereby one of the major Political Parties had attempted to train a group of people to protect some of its leading personnel before, during and after the Elections.

Also, an exercise carried out by the Electoral Commission of Ghana, to register potential voters who had attained 18 years or had not registered before, turned violent in certain areas. People brandishing dangerous gadgets caused mayhem and inflicted wounds on others.

The need for extra vigilance by the Security Agencies cannot be over-stressed. Already, we have pockets of hotspots in some parts of the country. There are frequent clashes between neighbouring ethnic groups and even clans, over deep-seated issues which seem not to be settled satisfactorily. Attempts at peace efforts have had to be re-visited at short intervals.

Surprisingly, groups and individuals, including very influential opinion leaders, are clamouring for violence in their utterances on air and in public pronouncements, trying to justify self-defence. There is a lot of suspicion, distrust or lack of confidence these days among people and in the operations of some Public institutions. This is very unfortunate for our present Democratic dispensation. The up-coming political campaigns and the Elections should take place without any form of intimidation from any quarters.

We should recall the unpleasant consequences of situations in other countries all over the world. Meanwhile, Ghana has been blessed to have survived some near-explosive periods till now. We should cast our eyes and minds back to experiences elsewhere, such as Liberia and nearby La Cȏte d’Ivoire, The Rwanda massacre as well as the massive migration resulting from the pogrom in the Middle East are also glaring. The lessons of the horrific internal political strife are not far to see and we should not be seen to invite catastrophe upon ourselves.

Our Security Forces should gird their loins and live up to the assurances they are giving us in the face of such challenges, not only for the impending Elections, but all the time. After all, Elections are not the ultimate in life. We should be able to live in total guarantee of peace to go about our daily affairs and routines.   Hoarding guns, missiles and other lethal weapons will not solve any problems; they will rather aggravate the security situation in this country.

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Anthony Kweku AnnanArticlesGhanaSocial Issues

Climate Change and Sustainable Development

CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

It will be recalled that in December, 2015, over one hundred and ninety delegates, including Heads of State, met in the French capital, Paris, to deliberate on Climate Change. What has come to be known as CAP21Paris was a Forum on Sustainable Innovation which prepared a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for eventual ratification by member-states.

The Forum sought to ensure that steps to reduce carbon emissions are to be enshrined in laws of participating countries. It was targeted to hold global warning to a level below 2Celsius for industrial countries and between 1o and 1.5C for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The Forum also sought to ensure that countries agree to a new global deal to tackle Climate Change. There was the need to embed Climate Change legislation into national action and equity differentiation between developed and developing countries.

The Agreement to curb carbon emissions was signed by 165 countries at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, (22nd April, 2016), including about ¾ of governments of African countries. The World Bank was expected to spend 28% of its investments on projects directed towards limiting planet heating and control or mitigation of the effects on the ecosystem in the form of desertification. The Bank is supposed to be insistent on the search for renewable energy.

It is significant to remark that the United States and China, which are the world’s most polluted countries, readily joined the other signatories to ratify the deal into action. According to a statement before the signing ceremony, the President of the Grantham Research Institute, Lord Nicholas Stern, emphasized that the investments to be made by the World Bank must be in transport, energy, water, buildings and land utilization and management. He warned that, otherwise, we are doomed to a situation where people can neither move nor breathe in our cities and to ecosystems that will collapse.

To that effect, more than USD100 billion yearly will have to be invested in infrastructure globally for the next 20years, if the commitments made in the agreement are to be fulfilled. Meanwhile, in the past decade or so, poor countries have not been able to benefit from a Green Climate Fund (GCF) created to give small, developing countries direct access to finances to protect themselves from risks due to Climate Change, like flooding and desertification. Such vulnerable nations include islands such as Tonga, the Comoros, Grenada, etc., which have been confronted with complicated bureaucratic and accreditation processes.

The documentation on a 52-page application dossier includes the GCF fiduciary and gender policy standards as well as how relevant environmental and social safeguards against corruption and complaints have been handled in the past couple of years, among others. The accreditation process has thereby been described as an ‘excruciatingly painful’ document.  Least Developed Countries in vulnerable situations have had to resort to contracting international financial institutions and NGOs to access the maximum of USD300,000, after complying with the relevant guidelines.

At the next meeting of the Forum, in Marrakesh, Morocco, COP22 is expected to highlight African problems relative to Climate Change as over 250 million people are displaced annually as a result of floods and desertification. For the meantime, the signatory-member-states of the UN are required to redeem their pledges while cumbersome procedures for accessing the Green Climate Fund would have to be reviewed. Countries would have to adopt projects and accelerated action plans for early-warning predictions. At the individual levels, we are obliged to co-operate in the way we consume products of non-replaceable fossil energy.

Lifestyle changes would have to be evident and taken seriously by citizens of Least Developed Countries as our personal contribution towards a sustainable development and the limitation of the effects of Global Warming or Climate Change.

The Government of Ghana should join the other signatories to come out with precise action plans embracing long-term projects to protect water bodies, forests and other elements of our environment. The benchmarks set in the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development may only succeed if the ordinary citizens see themselves as the beneficiaries in the long run.

 

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ArticlesBlogGhanaSocial IssuesViews of Kwame Krah

What Exactly Is Pushing the Police Force to Package Its Grievances and Surrender Them to God in Prayers?

Ghana Police

When I first read the news feed that “Ghana Police set February 4th, 2018 to pray for safety and divine protection for all police officers against attacks by criminals”, I was tempted to consult my grammatical oracles, build some vocabulary muscles and do my usual opinion columnist stuff by venting my anger on them for denigrating the 21st century essence of our nation, projecting Ghana with a theologically stagnant image, imposing archaic theocratic tenets on the nation and as well remind them of the good news version of Proverbs 19:3 that “Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame the Lord” BUT a second analysis of that particular decision revealed a game changing question which is worth addressing.

The response to that is very obvious–one does not require a PhD in theology to comprehend the basis or factors that predisposes typical religious people to seek God’s intervention on issues of concern. When the human systems put in place to deal with a particular need fails to deliver, the people are forced to go beyond human capacity in pursuit of a God redress.

The police system need to be resourced to be in a better position to function to expectation. Take some time off and read about the mode of operation of high ranking police forces in the world. If you juxtapose the Ghanaian policing system to that of the Japanese, the Americans, the French, the Canadians and many others, you’ll discover a vast difference factored around resources and management.

Subject the human resource of Ghana Police to a litmus test and see the rather unfortunate results it will produce. The outcome of that test will smell of nepotism if not favoritism. You will see a set of unqualified party favorites riding on the political powers of some bigwigs who risk national security for selfish personal and party interests.

Take the operational autonomy of the force yet again—I mean the very freedom of the police to execute their duties without fear or favor. They cannot brag of that professional right. Their internal structures have been begrimed with politics and inhumane job security threats forcing majority of them to compromise on professionalism. Do we blame the police for it? Certainly not. It’s way beyond their control.

The least said about infrastructural facilities of the Ghanaian police the better. They adopt all sorts of deceptive mechanisms ranging from the wearing of synthetic resins with thermoplastic features to deceive the public to believe it’s a bulletproof, hold guns with no bullets and many others to project a professional image that never really existed.

The major thing that beats my understanding and makes me shed tears for the average policeman is that, the nation they pledge allegiance to protect in all matters turns out to betray and gamble with their lives. This same nation failed to resource the force to enhance their work but continuously produces hard-core criminals.

Ghanaian leaders have successfully produced criminals out of the numerous disgruntled certified unemployed graduates and as well promoted insurgency. There were people who were recruited by politicians into the force, trained to handle diverse weapons but later relieved off post into their respective communities on grounds of qualification. What do you expect the ripple effect to be? A crime ridden society is what is being created. Who do you expect to control these criminals? The ill-resourced police force? With what capacity?

All these constitute the factors that seem to be making the police uniform look more like a suicide jacket. The average police officer is gradually losing that professional energy and the courage with which to wear his uniform just for the fear of the hard-core “shoot-to-kill” criminals out there which on the real shouldn’t be the case. The criminals must fear and give due respect to the police like they do to the military not the other way round.

Amidst all these leadership neglects, time bombs and death threats looming towards the police force, it will be very disheartening of anyone to rank himself a moral police and question that decision of the force to seek redress from God. The human system they so believed in has failed them miserably and it makes absolute sense to seek external support. Don’t blame the police, blame the system.

Richard Kwame Krah

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ArticlesEducationGhanaSocial Issues

Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship

There is the need to appreciate the urgency for international co-operation in policies and contribute in actions that protect our common heritage, the Environment.

A  ‘Statement on the Environment’ by the Canadian Bishops Council in April this year (2013) buttresses the fact that the ‘Environment’ continues to be a subject-matter of international discussions for over forty years now. The new day-by-day consciousness about the issue is quite symbolic of the magnitude of the problem.

According to the news report, the Prelates urged the faithful not only to develop an awareness of Environmental problems, but to appreciate the urgent need for international co-operation in policies and contribute in actions that protect the common good.

The Environment is the physical milieu in which human existence is possible. It comprises the elements of landmass, soil, water bodies as well as the sub-soil and ocean deeps. The envelope or canopy of air and various gases that constitute the Atmosphere are also very important factors of the Environment.

Concern over the state of the Environment continues to be heightened since the 1972 UN Conference on the Environment held in Stockholm (Sweden). Several other events have taken place elsewhere to deliberate on ‘Climate Change’ and related phenomena. During the sessions of the International Conferences on the Environment – namely the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), the 1997 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Kyoto (Japan) etc., – a number of relevant Agreements were made. To-date, more of such documents still emerge for the management and resolution of Environmental challenges.

In 2009, for instance, a UN Global Climate Debate dilated on the thorny issue of Climate Change, which is contributing to the economic decline, social disruption and displacement of population in some regions of the world.

Extreme weather conditions negatively impact on human health and occupations. Such potentially fatal consequences can be reduced by appropriate legislation or regulations on the use of renewable energy resources, and strategies for improved surveillance. The situation calls for environmental-friendliness of manufacturing processes and products, sustainable protection and exploitation of natural resources, Environmental and Consumer Protection.

Globalization and Regional Economic Integration or Unions have thus enhanced collaboration in the development and implementation of various Technical Regulations, Laws, Legislative Instruments, Policies and Rules as they impact on the Security, Health and Safety of Consumers. Due to an increasing involvement of the different Stakeholders in the formulation of good regulatory practices, Technical Agreements have become extremely important in the promotion of Sustainable Development, in the quest to serve people’s needs.

The two concepts, ENVIRONMENT and STEWARDSHIP, are not just closely related, but inextricably linked to draw our attention to the critical situation in Environmental Protection and Preservation. Environmental degradation is often related to the rising spread of poverty. The subject involves the need to monitor, control compliance to laid-down regulations in order to ensure conformity, public health, safety, and comfort of Consumers or the general public.

The deterioration of the Environment resulting in irreversible Global Warming has become one of the grave concerns affecting the very basis of sustainability of the Earth and Humanity. ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP therefore equally revolves around meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Providing clean and green environment should be one of the top national priorities.

Organizations (both Governmental and Non-Governmental) and nations all over the world continue to address Environmental issues, through solidarity and collaboration in tackling structural forms of poverty. Such initiatives include safeguarding water bodies and sources, protecting flora (plant life) and fauna (wildlife). In Ghana, the concerted efforts of some Ministries and regulatory bodies in the Environmental Sector should be encouraged. These include, inter alia, the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment, Energy, Tourism, Trade and Industry. Other related institutions include the Research-based Institutes, Councils, Authorities and Commissions.

It must be noted that many important things in life are ‘next generation’ matters such that the current generation is expected to leave a heritage for the succeeding one. Compliance to regulations challenges us to further research and adopt such technical principles and innovative processes which will suit local situations now and in the future.

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP also strikes a note of Accountability. In the Creation Story, the First Man was entrusted with the virgin Garden of Eden with all the fullness thereof. The Almighty Creator charged Adam to tend it and take care of it. From this injunction, we are supposed to use very carefully both the material and non-material resources surrounding us.

‘Stewardship’ connotes the magnitude of responsibilities ascribed not only to Governmental Ministries, Departments and Agencies, International Organizations and Non-Governmental bodies, to guarantee the judicious use of both renewable and non-renewable natural resources. The onerous tasks carried out by such bodies should be complemented by personal commitment on the part of every individual, to abide by laid-down regulations.

Looking around, we are engulfed with filth all over the place. The use of plastic, non-combustible materials has added to the problem. Our challenges are compounded by unacceptable habit among some of us to fill drains and litter the beaches with solid waste.

Massive destruction of the vegetation and top-soil is taking place in communities purported to be endowed with gold. Farm lands and even residential structures have been transformed into surface mining (or galamsey) sites with careless abandon, and sometimes under threats at gun-point. Drinking water sources or bodies have been polluted with chemicals used in the illegal mining.

Some fire outbreaks during the dry seasons have been traced to human carelessness such as throwing away cigarette stubs without ensuring that the spark of fire in them had been crushed completely. Bush-burning, as an agricultural practice, can also get out of hands if the intended portions are not properly isolated or protected.

From the fore-going examples, it becomes very evident that we should assess how we are individually and collectively expected to handle the resources at our disposal, to ensure our continued comfort and general well-being. Our attitudes towards handling of both solid and liquid wastes in our homes, communities, workplaces and other institutions, for instance, should portray that we are responsible stewards.

In the same breadth, we should always bear it in mind that the Earth is not only our global home, but that we should consider the heritage we shall leave behind, by way of the status of the Environment and the non-renewable resources.

As we contemplate the grandeur of the Earth, we are overwhelmed by our enormous responsibility to use it cautiously. Trustees and custodians that we are supposed to be, we will be held accountable for every endowment that came our way, whether in our Stakeholder roles as individuals, community members, workers, industrialists, students or people in positions of responsibility for Environmental Management.

Anthony Kweku Annan

 

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AfricaArticlesEducationGhanaInformation and Communication TechnologySocial Issues

Education: Important Factor in Developing African Economies

Education in African Economies

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

For thousands of years, education has been an integral part of society. Education is of great significance if not the most important factor in the development of any country. Enough proof for the call to prioritize education ahead of everything in Africa, and for that matter, Ghana. We see the evidence clearly how other countries are taking this seriously and its impact. Having a good education is very vital in today’s world and has always been. Education means a form of learning in which knowledge, skills and habits are transferred from one generation to another generation.

Sadly, we are yet to witness quality and revolutionary knowledge transfer across Africa and Ghana to be precise from one generation to another. The kind that improves our state of affairs, competitively and globally. Many years down the line, our leaders have played and toyed with our education system without any regard to the effects. Today, the story remains same with our defunct policies, syllabi and curricula, outdated teaching methods and solutions running our education. Are we then surprised of its outcome and how far we have come with our “priorities” as a country?

The quality of secondary, vocational/technical and higher education is often measured by the performance of workers in the labor market. That is why the African education system must be strengthened to absorb the entry of millions of African young people into the national and global workforce—UNESCO.

The African continent is full of tremendous promise. Emerging out of decades of stagnation, the continent is now getting home to part of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies. The significant strides in Africa’s socio-economic progress have helped to grow a vibrant middle class and propel technological advancements at a rapid pace. However, education needs a critical consideration with right policies and reforms.

Education policy consists of the principles and government policies in the educational sphere as well as the collection of laws and rules that govern the operation of education systems. A complete education system provides large number of qualified people with advanced knowledge and skills in a wide range of subjects and talents cultivation, with requisite educational facilities, materials, teaching and learning methods. Education in itself has tremendous influence on spirit civilization, which accounts for a large part in a country’s development. As a place where knowledge handed down and wisdom passed around, school represent the homeland of scholars like Socrates and Confucius, who had huge impact on the promotion of spirit civilization, and the birthplace of innovative ideas like democracy. This is basic way to improving education and having positive effect on local economy.

The economy, directly influences the national power of a country and the well-being of its citizens.

Some relevant scenarios affecting education in Africa

Lack of proper facilities and educators

A reason for the low education rates in Africa is the lack of proper schooling facilities and unequal opportunity for education across countries. Many schools across Africa find it hard to employ teachers due to the low pay and lack of suitable people. This is particularly true for schools in remote areas. Most people who manage to receive education would prefer to move to big cities or even overseas where more opportunities and higher pay await. Thus, there will be an overly large class sizes and high average number of students per teacher in a school. Moreover, the teachers are usually those unqualified with few teaching aids and poor textbook provision. Due to this, children attending schools in rural areas usually attain poorer results in standardized tests compared to their urban counterparts.

With teachers being less qualified than others in urban areas, the teaching to learning environment takes an effect amongst the students. Those that do not receive the same education to those in the bigger cities have trouble even after graduation with reading, writing, reasoning, and mathematics. Students who do not attain the same equal education to those in urban environments do not achieve the same outcome in establishing success with a career.

With education being a major concern towards achieving a career and establishing a future, Africa needs to be aware that equal education needs to be established within all schools throughout the countries.

Corruption in education

Studies report that lack of parent involvement, especially as an overseer of government activities also leads to enormous corruption. This is so because parents and communities feel as though they lack any kind of power in regard to their child’s education. In Uganda only 50% of parents believe that they have the power to influence decisions regarding the education of their child. In Morocco, just 20% of parents believed they held any sort of power.

The unavailability and incompleteness of records in schools and districts prevents the documentation and prevention of corrupt practices. The African Education Watch conducted surveys all over the continent and identified the three most common practices of corruption:

  • Illegal collection of fees:One part of their research focused on so-called registration fees. Parents from every country surveyed reported paying even though, by law, primary schooling is free. The report found that the number of parents forced to pay these illegal accounting fees ranged from 9% in Ghana, to 90% in Morocco.
  • Embezzlement of school funds:In the study, Transparency International found that 64% of the schools surveyed on the continent published no financial information at all.
  • Power abuse:Another major problem is incompetent management. The report found that in many schools the little resources they did have were being wasted or lost. Overall, 85% of schools across all countries had either deficient accounting systems or none at all. Very few head teachers received training in financial management, despite being responsible for budgets. Sexual abuse in schools from teachers remains a problem too. As well as teacher absenteeism and alcoholism.

Can NGOs help?

To be effective in education in Africa NGOs must effect policy and create policy changes that support their projects, and must create and foster relationships with many different stakeholders. The most important stakeholders are usually donors and government officials. But the biggest challenge for NGOs has been linking these networks together. NGO interventions must create a successful way to change the policy process while making sure that the public understands and is a part of the education policy. In the best cases, NGOs and government officials must find each other’s mutual strengths in education policy and find ways to practically collaborate and reach both of their objectives.

Africa as the world’s most youthful continent, requires investment in education and training–essential in building an educated and skilled workforce and to encourage innovation. Finding productive jobs for young people is critical to the continent’s future. An educated and skilled population is attractive to many employers and investors. Many employers across Africa have been critical of the lack of basic, technical and transferable skills of graduates. We must continue to have a solution-driven conversation with policy-makers, educators, administrators, philanthropists and those interested in capacity-building about the challenges and opportunities in education on the African continent. This, IMANI Ghana amongst other relevant organizations have championed over the years.

The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana, have also taken up the challenge in this direction to call for capacity building, focusing on ICT, to elevate and mainstream the conversation on education as a key component of the economic development narrative of Africa. Such actions will uniquely improve the educational landscape in Africa.

Moving Forward

The quality of education offered within a country is a strong predictor of economic growth rates, according to the World Bank. African nations stand to benefit from a better-educated labor market where workers possess the skills and knowledge to compete in a knowledge-based global economy. While universal access to schooling yields some economic benefits, significant improvements in the quality of learning will achieve a greater impact for advancing development progress and economic growth in countries.

Public investment in education is vital in building a highly skilled and educated workforce and in sustaining Africa’s prosperity and progress. Recognizing the strong correlation between education and socio-economic development, countries in sub-Saharan Africa have gradually increased public spending on education by more than 6 percent each year.

Private schools should be encouraged and monitored seamlessly by authorities, governed by relevant policies and frameworks. It is a viable alternative to a failing public education system. More so, strengthening public-private partnerships will assist in complementing public sector funds to finance the public education system in Africa. Strong education systems are key drivers of economic growth, thus, public-private partnerships will bolster public education budgets to garner improvements in the overall education system.

The rapidly growing working age population is a wake-up call for African governments, universities, and employers to collectively take action to boost job creation and innovation in the formal and informal sectors. Young people must be prepared for jobs in today’s globalized economy to ensure a smooth transition of graduates into the labor market. Therefore, the African education system needs real improvement. Governments must focus on the quality of education by investing in trained teachers, instructional materials, and infrastructure development. Ghana government for that matter must assess the country’s priorities and needs and invest in areas that will foster innovations and help to build a skilled and educated workforce. As Africa is facing a severe shortage of highly-skilled African talent, governments must make a concerted effort to correct such serious disparity between skills of graduates and the demands of a local and global workforce.

Every success and system is a deliberate design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anthony Kweku AnnanArticlesGhanaSocial Issues

TOWARDS A RELIABLE AND FRIENDLY POLICE SERVICE

Ghana Police Service

A couple of incidents that occurred recently paint a very unfortunate and disappointing picture of the Ghana Police Service. Two suspected armed robbers who attacked a bullion van in Donkorkrom in the Eastern Region were identified as Policemen. Then, two other Policemen were involved in a six-member car-snatching syndicate in Accra.

It may be recalled that in 2009, there was a proposed ‘Performance Re-engineering Policy’ by which policemen and women were moved to fit into the appropriate positions, on the merit of defensible criteria such as rank, qualification and competence. That was fair enough and the leadership of the Ghana Police Service was commended for the moral courage in taking the right steps, both big and small. The momentum was supposed to be maintained in the implementation of the policy in order to boost the morale of the men and women in the Ghana Police Service.

Meanwhile, all these efforts and initiatives notwithstanding, we woke up one morning to be  hit with the news of a reported racket in a recruitment exercise almost about the same time. Maybe it will be impulsive to suggest that the happenings in the GPS are offshoots of the said racket, whereby certain undesirable characters had managed to enter the Service. We will not be surprised to learn that the suspects were among the batch connected with the botched recruitment exercise.

The Ghana Police Service is the source for ascertaining the background of certain categories of workers. It is therefore very surprising that the very organization that is responsible for issuing ‘Security Clearance’ has shot itself in the foot, by not being all that diligent in its recruitment exercise, lately. Enlisting more hands should not give cause to water down the laid-down procedures and good practices in the selection process. Stiffer screening of new recruits should be one of the things that can be done to avoid enlisting people with dubious backgrounds. It make some time to handle such tasks but it is worthwhile and very relevant and essential for future efficiency and integrity.

Again, in the spirit of ‘visibility’ and friendliness, all Policemen and women were to wear name tags and numbers, boldly on their chests. The idea was a means of redeeming the image of Service, and especially to curb corruption. For instance, Police personnel on Traffic duties collects a Driver’s licence or other documents, without identifying him/herself enough for the owner to follow up on his case with ease, or to retrieve the documents.

The wearing of name tags and other forms of identification is practised almost everywhere else in most countries now. At the moment, it appears that it is an option to wear the tags whereas a directive in a Security organization leaves no room for variance or doing as one pleases. Other Security Service personnel in Ghana continue to proudly wear their self-identification badges side-by-side their medals, if any. The Police must therefore be seen to fall in line once again. The benefits definitely outweigh the costs of anonymity.

The Police are supposed to be ‘friends’ and protectors of their fellow citizens and inhabitants of this nation. A friend is someone whom you can approach for help in times of diificulty. A friend is usually identified by the name and or pet-name. a ‘friendly’ Police portrays a human face behind an official uniform and works openly. On the contrary, ‘nameless’ Police personnel are prone to bring dishonour to an organization whose motto is “Service with integrity”.

A friendly Police will not take undue advantage of the weak and vulnerable and be trigger-happy. He/she is protective or somebody in whom people can confide. He/she should not pull the gun at the least opportunity, under the least provocation, because he/she knows the professional obligation is to protect the weak. However, when under threat of life, self-defence may be acceptable.

In these circustances, the Police Service should intensify its efforts at changing the attitudes of wayward personnel who carry their weapons at odd times and in to wrong places. There should be regular training programmes to refresh their skills, so that they can apply the various arms at their disposal to the defence of normally unarmed citizens. Control of weapons leaving the armoury, barracks and depots should be more rigid. The incidents of stray bullets killing or maiming innocent people will thereby be reduced, if not completely eliminated.

The public can co-operate better when they come upon delinquent Policemen and women. The name or number can be quoted to support other concrete evidence by people complaining about, or witnessing in cases of professional misconduct by the Police. This will also facilitate the work of the Police/Public Intelligence and Relations Department, rather than relying on identification parades that sometimes end up in a wild-goose-chase.

The ugly habit of people charging on Police Stations to ask for the release of suspects, vandalizing offices, equipment and vehicles will have stop. The average law-abiding Ghanaian should be prepared to assist members of the Ghana Police Service in fighting crime, corruption promoting law and order and delivering quality, disciplined service in protecting lives and property. The Inspector-General of Police may be reminded, in humility, that small things cost very little, or even nothing, but enhance the beauty of the anticipated bigger achievements, in this case, of restoring the Ghana Police Service to its honourable pedestal.

The bigger issues centre around stalled promotions, accommodation and non-financial related perquisites which shall, hopefully, be tackled in a systematic fashion, with the Strategic Directive Policy as a guide. Members of a satisfied and highly motivated Police corps will give of their best through diligent and honest work buttressed by sacrifice.

The Ghana Police Service administration should stay focused to the vision and high, challenging responsibilities entrusted to them. The ripple effect will trickle down to the remotest station in the country, and the people’s confidence will boost the needed mutual co-operation between the men and women of the Ghana Police Service and the citizenry.

ANTHONY KWEKU ANNAN

[SOCIAL COMMENTATOR]

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