Lecture: Democracy, security and rule of law in Ghana
7/15/2008 9:59:27 AM -
This is the 2008 Busia Foundation Lectures on Democracy, Security, and the Rule of Law. In the highlights, the presenter, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo touts the achievements of the Busia family [NPP] and argues home a need to retain the NPP in power.
We meet here today to commemorate several anniversaries relating to Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, illustrious son of Ghana and Prime Minister of the Progress Party Government of the Second Republic: the 95th anniversary of his birth, the 30th anniversary of his death, and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Busia Foundation. We are also meeting here at a time when Ghana has reached a very important crossroads. Do we drive ahead and take the highway to greater freedom and prosperity or pull the brakes, turn back, reset the mileage and put back on our development vehicle the 'L' sign for 'Learning'? As I go around the country, what I see and hear convince me that there is an overwhelming desire by the people of Ghana to move forward; to build on the solid foundation and democratic achievements of the New Patriotic Party under the leadership of the President of the Republic, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufour.
Those achievements find their most erudite rationale in the works of the legendary scholar, the other founding father of the Danquah-Busia political tradition, the man to whose memory these series of lectures are devoted, and who led the first government of this great tradition and nation with vision, foresight and character, but, alas, for only a brief period of 27 months.
In “The Challenge of Africa”, written in 1962, in which Dr Busia showed a profound understanding of the problems confronting Africa and the solutions most likely to yield lasting results, he argued against the post-colonial myth, propounded with convenient ease by Africa's first generation of leaders, that multiparty democracy was allegedly a luxurious western concept alien to African society.
“The principles of democracy – freedom of speech, including the right to criticise and to make propaganda against the government; freedom of assembly and association, including the freedom to organise opposition parties and to propose alternative governments; freedom of the people to choose their governments at general elections and to change them peacefully; freedom of religion; freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment without trial; the rule of law; guarantees for human rights and civil liberties – all these principles of parliamentary government are universal. They can be adopted and applied by any nation that chooses to do so. They can be institutionalised in any culture.”
Chairperson, democracy is like a planted tree: it cannot take hold if it is not watered, nurtured and protected. Democracy cannot endure if the leaders and the people are not committed to it; if they do not understand it, or if they are not sincere to its principles. He believed that democracy should and must work in this country and it was for this reason that patriots such as himself, J.B. Danquah, Edward Akufo-Addo, William Ofori-Atta, Obetsebi-Lamptey, S.D. Dombo, Baffour Osei Akoto, Victor Owusu, R.R. Amponsah, S.G. Antoh, Modesto Apaloo and others risked their lives to fight against the asphyxiation of our freedom, and the incapacity of our parliamentary system to defend us from it.
That is why on December 10, 1957, Dr. Busia warned Dr. Nkrumah:
“Our problem is one of nation-building, and you do not do it by repressive legislation but by education and the growth of co-operation and by leaving parties and policies to the choice of the people.” [10 December 1957, 2R of Avoidance of Discrimination Bill].
Dr. Busia believed that democracy is consolidated when a majority of the people believes that democracy is the best form of government. He worked through the Centre for Civic Education to popularise the notion of democratic citizenship, to induce the citizenry to invest in nation-building, to believe in the rule of law and the propriety of acting properly in the national interest, to combat corruption and lawlessness, and to manifest pride in nationhood.
Democracy, free market, human resource development, human rights, rule of law and social justice have steadfastly remained our Party's creed since August 4, 1947, when the United Gold Coast Convention was launched. I am sure we all agree that these are the very values endorsed and desired by the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians. However, even though, opinion poll after opinion poll have shown that Ghanaians really appreciate the intrinsic values and benefits of liberal democracy, we cannot fail to be mindful of the things that the fact that individuals are not fulfilled if they are hungry, homeless, illiterate and destitute.
In committing the Progress Party, which he led to victory in 1969, to building a “Welfare State” in Ghana, the Progress Party's mantras were
1. to every Ghanaian a job
2. to every work security
3. to every family a decent meal and a decent home
4. to every person equal opportunity and social justice
5. to every individual the essential freedom of speech and expression, freedom of movement and association, freedom of conscience of worship, and
6. to all Ghanaians progress.
Ours is to pursue development with a freedom-centred approach that frees up the people to opportunities of participation. However, the value of Ghana's democracy must depend on what it does to the lives and freedoms of the people. In the two and a half years that he was in power, he set out to manifest the concept of development in freedom. And, he set out to do so by making rural development his priority with an enlarged programme for both social and physical infrastructure, especially in rural water supply, rural electrification and the construction of feeder roads and health posts.
While his opponents, especially those who held the reigns of power in the First Republic, were fearful of individual freedom as potentially an unbridled license for adversity and distraction, J.B. Danquah, K.A. Busia and their disciples viewed freedom as a great ally of progress. Dr. Busia believed strongly in the crucial role that the state can play to enhance the effective freedoms of individuals. As a leading light of our political tradition, Dr. Busia believed that individual freedoms were not just about the space and ability to speak freely, associate and assemble freely and to vote freely. As is amply evident, in the two periods that we have been in power (1969 and 2001), underpinning the value of individual freedom is the provision of free, affordable and quality education, healthcare, social safety nets, good macroeconomic policies, and in safeguarding business competition and ecological sustainability.
Rights & Duties, Liberty & Responsibility
Chairperson, the NPP believes that the foundation of all human rights is the inherent worth and dignity of the human being and that human rights are for everyone regardless of race, colour ancestry, ethnicity, place of origin, or social or economic status. In his masterpiece, “Africa in Search of Democracy”, published in 1962,
Dr. Busia said “Democracy is founded on respect for the human being, every human being.”
Quite evidently, however, the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms goes in tandem with the carriage and observance of corresponding duties or obligations. In order for a society to function fairly, rights are usually balanced by duties and responsibilities. Perhaps, not since John Stuart Mill has any academic-cum-politician articulated the modern concept that with freedom comes responsibility, as did Kofi Abrefa Busia. He had a strong conviction that if people understood their human and political rights they would want to defend them. Thus, in preparing the nation for the return of liberal democracy in 1969, Dr Busia used the Centre for Civic Education, which he chaired, to educate the citizenry on democracy.
An NPP Government led by me, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will place considerable premium on the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms in our land through the enhancement of the resources and logistics of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in order to improve its capacity to saturate every corner of Ghanaian society with a human rights consciousness, and to cultivate a citizenry that is prepared and willing to defend them. So that, no citizen of this country will feel excluded from the enjoyment of any class of human rights, nor will any one feel unable to access the institutions of justice for the defence or protection of their rights. For democracy flourishes, and society advances, when human rights blossom.
We build a free, modern society on the strength of institutions. The next NPP government will encourage and support appropriate state institutions, including the relevant ministries, departments and agencies, as well as civil society groups, to place pronounced emphasis on the promotion of civic duties and responsibilities of the citizen. Most notably, the next NPP government will give even greater support to the CHRAJ, the National Commission for Civic Education and the Ghana Education Service as is appropriate to promote civic awareness, particularly about the duties and responsibilities of citizens, in a free and democratic society governed by the rule of law. Such education must embrace everyone, from kindergarten to academia.
Some of the important issues that will always face our society, like any other, are crime, crime control and criminal punishment. The research findings are that many countries that have experienced recent democratic reforms have also experienced increasing crime rates. This is especially true for the emerging democracies in Africa, which have crime rates that are significantly higher than the global average. We should see ourselves as an emerging democracy, and as you all know, emerging democracies are also known for their fragility.
If democratically elected governments in Ghana are to govern effectively and with efficiency, then we must be vigilant in maintaining a certain level of trust in political institutions and in maintaining the security of the general populace. As educational opportunities expand alongside a growing middle-class, we cannot also lose sight of the fact that rising levels of crime might also affect the level of tolerance of democratic norms. A typical example is the mob justice culture, a popular phenomenon in the 1980s that has been revived with some ferocity.
Liberal democracy has an inbuilt tension which necessarily calls for a conflicting but stable balance between liberty and order. Widespread economic inequality, social exclusion or insecurity threaten the stability of this balance. Thus law and order are crucial to the promotion of liberty and equality. This takes us back to Dr. Busia's insistence on the promotion of civic culture. The liberty of the majority can only be secured and promoted when there are formal and stable mechanisms of social control formed to help reduce crime rates and to punish the few who breach the rules and norms of civic engagement.
There is a deep and profound yearning for a greater sense of personal and public safety and security among Ghanaians – for safety and security anchored in freedom from violent, predatory crimes and freedom from the devastating effects of the worldwide drug menace against which our security services continue courageously to wage a relentless war. There is a yearning for an enhanced sense of security from lawless and reckless road users who cause the many motor accidents that maim and kill many innocent people.
There is a yearning for a faster, more effective and efficient criminal justice system which delivers on its promises to prevent crime, efficiently administer stern punishments to offenders in accordance with law, maintain safe custody of convicts, and effectively rehabilitate convicted criminals. Undoubtedly, meeting these yearnings for greater safety and security under law constitutes one of the most compelling challenges of our time.
Our criminal justice system must be re-tooled to prevent crimes through a comprehensive system of education, deterrence and rehabilitation. It must be given a new face that is confident, firm and humane; it must deal fairly and promptly, but also lawfully, with every class of criminal, particularly armed robbers, rapists and drug dealers.
To tackle crime we must take a deliberate look at the situation of social exclusion and operate from facts, not presumptions. We need to focus our attention on the organisational or institutional structures that serve to include or exclude.
Fortunately for us, Ghana is not a society where people are born into an excluded group. However, some have become excluded either due to changes in circumstances (such as migration and bad social policies) or to chronic processes (such as long-term unemployment). There are close links between social exclusion and conflict and insecurity, both in terms of causes and consequences. There are now convincing arguments that some forms of social exclusion generate the conditions in which conflict can arise.
This could range from civil unrest to violent armed conflict and terrorist activity. Severely disadvantaged groups with shared characteristics (such as ethnicity or religion) may resort to violent conflict in order to claim their rights and redress inequalities. Group differences are not enough in themselves to cause conflict, but social exclusion and horizontal inequalities provide fertile ground for violent mobilisation. Social exclusion can also occur as a result of conflicts, such as the Kokomba-Nanumba conflict, which led to an increase in Kayayei.
REFORMING OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Any society that is determined to succeed must be prepared to invest in the area of law and order. The Police Service, other law enforcement agencies, the Attorney-General's Department, and the Judiciary will be financed to assist them protect society better. A key platform of the Nana Akufo-Addo Presidency, when it is installed in January 2009, would be the vigorous pursuit of a thoughtful, engaging, well-articulated and contemporary agenda for justice – both criminal and civil – for this country. Central to that agenda would be the vigorous implementation of a Law and Justice Policy to better address the challenges of policing the menace of armed robbery and drug trafficking in contemporary Ghana. The Law and Justice Policy will comprise the following triple-E elements of:
1. Elevating the morale of police service personnel through a systematic and graduated incentives scheme, with such components as:
a. Improved remuneration, accommodation and better working conditions
b. Enhanced training and provision of appropriate professional development opportunities
c. Strategic expansion of the size of the Ghana Police Service
through the recruitment and training of an additional 25,000
suitably qualified persons over a period of four years
d. Recruitment and training of 7,000 youths into the Community Police scheme over two years
e. Re-engagement of 200 exceptionally competent but retired police officers on a limited engagement basis
f. Provision of relevant specialized training;
2. Enlisting, through the Police Service, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and other cognate institutions and civil society, the full support of the citizenry behind the police for a sustained community policing programme; and
3. Expanding and expediting access to justice for women, the poor and vulnerable in society, through the increased use of court-connected alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, and the modernization of customary arbitration, mediation and conciliation practices by our traditional authorities.
If our police men and women on the streets are better motivated and equipped, then the fight against violent crime and drugs are half-won.
a. We shall decentralise the police command to enhance efficiency and accountability.
b. We shall also render vital support for the invigoration of Highway Patrols to combat highway robberies, reduce motor accidents on highways and roads, check indiscipline on roads, arrest offenders (without extorting illegal tolls from them), and ensure public safety.
c. We shall provide resources to support the staging of joint police-military swoops on hide-outs of suspected criminals.
d. We shall provide bullet-proof vests to offer better protection to Police officers in crime combat operations.
e. We shall provide to the Ghana Police Service suitable and adequate logistics in the form of patrol vehicles, radios, computers and other information and communication technology (ICT) facilities. The Ghana Police Service will, as a matter of urgency, be provided with smaller, easily manoeuvrable vehicles that contain basic safety features, riot control gear and minimum fire power (for use in cases of anti-terrorism).
o Every police patrol vehicle will be fitted with internet and communications equipment
o Under my Presidency every police officer will possess a walkie-talkie
o A policy of active 24-hour police patrols in communities will be enforced
Our Criminal Justice System will be reformed to serve society better, by, among other measures:-
1. Implementing well-considered gun control measures
2. fast-tracking the trial of suspected armed robbers and illicit drug dealers through the establishment of specialised Fast Track Courts exclusively devoted to these crimes
3. introducing community services, probation, and suspended sentences as alternative to prisons for some petty offenders
4. imposing stiffer prison sentences for serious offenders, such as drug traffickers, rapists, child molesters and armed robbers
5. imposing stiffer penalties for public officials convicted of drugs, law enforcement officers convicted of drug offences
6. maintaining a national register on paedophiles to track their movements and protect our children
7. enhancing the capacity of the Prisons Service to fulfill its mandate
8. meeting the educational and vocational needs of prisoners
9. focusing on the victims of crime
10. ensuring direct reparation to victims
11. increasing victim involvement in the criminal justice process
12. promoting citizen responsibility for creating safer communities
13. fostering better police-community relations, and improve the role of citizens in crime prevention
14. enlisting the support of the NCCE, the CHRAJ, and the plethora of civil society organisations interested in safety and security, law and order and social development to take up the challenge of educating the public on the duties and responsibilities of the citizen in combating crime and promoting public safety and order
15. cultivating a citizenry that is alert to its civic responsibilities by serving as the eyes and ears of the police in the community
Police: Population Ratio
Chairperson, let me focus on one basic area of policing: which has been neglected for the best part of 180 years. According to the records, since 1844, when the British established the 120-member Gold Coast Militia and Police, this country had mostly been plagued by an unacceptable police to population ratio.
The UN has a standard of 1 police officer for every 500 citizens (www.uneca.org), according to the 2007 United Nations Economic Commission for Africa report on Law and Order. Ghana urgently requires 25,000 more police officers who are well-trained, well-resourced and well-motivated.
In his instructive work of April 2006, “An Overview of the Ghana Police Service”, a well-known security expert, Emmanuel Kwesi Anning, gave a graphic picture of the country's perennial under-policing. (See Table below)
Growth and Expansion of Force Personnel from Colonial to 2001
1 2 3 4 5
Year Force Strength Population of Ghana Police/Population
In thousands In Millions
1947 2,700 circa 4.01 1:1483
1952 3,480 circa 4.06 1:1490
1957 6,000 6 1:1000
1971 19,410 8.5 1:437
1992 15,484 16 1:1033
1999 16,212 25,000 18.5 1:1400
2001 14,412 37,000 circa 18.5 1:1421
Source: 2(a) represents the actual strength of the Ghana Police force at present, while 3(b) represents what ought to have been the projected growth of the force in relation to the population
The Archer Report of 1997, which looked at reforming the police, projected a service of 25,000 by December 1998. Yet, by 1999, the police force was 16,212, representing a ration of 1:1400 for an estimated national population of 18.5 million then. By 2001, according to Anning's report, Ghana should have had 37,000 police officers. Yet, the actual number was 14,412 for an estimated national population of 18.5 million, representing a police-population ratio of 1:1421.
According to records available from the Ghana Police Service, the NPP has in the last seven years increased police numbers to 25,000. This constitutes a police-population ratio of 1:935 at a population estimate of 23,382,848. Thus for the first time in more than two decades, the police to population ratio is now under a thousand to one.
My call to increase the police: population ratio to 1:467 by doubling police staff strength to 50,000 has been met with some cynicism. Indeed, it must be recalled that the only time since the 1844 Bond that our country achieved the recommended police to population ratio was under a Danquah-Busia tradition, the Progress Party.
At Independence in 1957, Ghana had a police force of 6,000 for a population of 6 million, representing a ratio of 1:1000. President Kwame Nkrumah reduced the size of the police force from 13,247 in 1964 to 10,709 in 1965. Under Prime Minister Busia's government, with Edward Akufo-Addo as President, Ghana, with a population of 8.5 million in 1971, had a police staff strength of 19,410, before it was gradually reduced to 15,484 in 1992, when the population had nearly doubled to 16 million.
To maintain security in peaceful countries, the proper ratio of policemen to population is somewhere between 1 and 5 officers per 1,000 citizens, with cities needing higher levels than other areas. The United States has approximately 2.3 police officers per 1,000 residents. Nigeria has a police: population ratio of 1:371, with a Police force of 371,500 personnel to a population of 138,000,000 people. Singapore has 1 police officer per 119.4 residents, representing a Police force of 38,587 personnel to a population of 4,608,167 people.
The police: population ratio in the world's biggest democracy, India, stands at 1:728. India has a Police force of 157,692 personnel to a population of 1.1 billion people. South Africa has a police: population ratio of 1:348, which has 137,175 police personnel to a population of nearly 48 million people. Pakistan has a police: population ratio 1: 625, of 268,419 police personnel to a population of 167,762,040 people. Malaysia, the country that for obvious historical reasons, we like or hate to compare ourselves to, has a Police force of 101,502 personnel to a population of 25,274,133 people, representing a police: population ratio of 1:249.
Crime-ridden cities like New York, with 45,000 police personnel, has a ratio of 1:197, London with 24,000 police personnel has a ratio of 1:285. Berlin has a police: population ratio of 1:124.
Throughout the world an adequate police force is seen as central to the maintenance of law and order and the protection of populations. Ghana should not be an exception.
Combating the Illicit Drug Trade
Chairperson, drugs are undermining the very fabric of our society. They are destroying our young people, misleading many about easy and fast money while sullying our reputation in the international community. This problem has been with us for a long time. They are not an NPP problem. They are not an NDC problem. They are a national problem. In fact, the scourge of narcotic drugs is a multi-billion dollar global problem.
Over the past two decades, the impact of the world-wide drug menace has been a source of grave concern for all law-abiding citizens of this country. The nation has been sorely embarrassed by disclosures that have implicated a number of high level state officials in the illicit drug trade. Undoubtedly, narcotics drug trafficking and the menace associated with it are strongly enabled by corrupt and inept systems of prevention and control.
An Akufo-Addo Government will firmly and courageously implement a number of well-considered measures to embolden the capacity of the nation to effectively combat the drug menace.
The key highlights of the policy will include:
i. Review of relevant laws with a view to enhancing their capacity to deter public officials from engaging in narcotic offences
ii. Turning the Narcotics Control Board into an agency, to give it an overarching responsibility, across departments and agencies, in all cases to deal with drugs
iii. Creating the position of a 'Drug Czar', by elevating the position of the head of NACOB to Cabinet status.
We don't produce cocaine in Africa and yet West Africa has seen the biggest growth in illegal drug movements than anywhere else in the world. Geography favours the drug traffickers. Ghana's geography does not favour us. West Africa is just 4,000-miles away, across the Atlantic, from the coca fields of South America.
It is also closer to Western Europe. In Europe cocaine seizures have quadrupled over the past decade and prices for the drug are now double those in America as consumption has grown by up to four fold. Compared to 1.8 percent 10 years ago, Spain, where much of the cocaine through West Africa is destined, 3 percent of the Spanish population now uses cocaine. The demand has made Europe a far more lucrative drug market than America: apparently one kilogramme of uncut cocaine can fetch twice in Europe, what it can in the US, according to UN figures. Intelligence reports say to elude European airport security and coastal patrols more easily, smugglers ship drugs in bulk to Africa's western seaboard, where they are parceled out to hundreds of individual smugglers who use fishing vessels, sailboats and their own bodies to sneak it north into Europe.
Why is Africa, particularly West Africa growing in importance as a transit area for cocaine trafficking between Latin American countries and Europe? Records show that between 1998 and 2003, the annual cocaine seizures on the entire continent averaged about 0.6 metric tonnes – a very minor proportion of global seizures of cocaine. However, since 2004, African seizures have been above 2.5 metric tonnes, almost five times more than before.
The UN's Office on Drugs and Crime says the world's total supply of cocaine is around 1 million kilogrammes a year. Interpol says 200,000 to 300,000 kilogrammes of the drug enters Europe via West Africa. The United States Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) at the Department of State compiles an annual 'Major List' of countries considered to be posing the biggest global threat in the drug trade. On September 14, 2007, U.S. President George Bush approved and sent to Congress the Majors List for 2008.
The 20 countries on the list were: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. Ghana is nowhere on that list. But, we need to do a lot more. We cannot afford to be complacent.
The New Patriotic Party believes that a robust comprehensive drug control policy can achieve measurable progress in curbing the supply and abuse of drugs and blocking the trafficking of drugs through our shores to consuming nations. Evidence from elsewhere and from our own experience tells that illicit drug trade corrodes social order; bolsters crime and corruption; undermines effective governance; facilitates the illicit transfer of weapons; and compromises national security and law enforcement.
The legal framework provided by the Narcotic Drugs Control Enforcement and Sanctions Law 1990, PNDCL 236, as amended, and other legislation provides some of the tools needed to crack down on the availability of drugs and reduce the misery they cause. But enforcement alone will never be enough.
We need to ensure that young people have all the information they need to make informed decisions about drugs – which means resisting peer-pressure and the lure of fast cars associated with the illicit drug trade and that we follow up tough words with indiscriminate decisive action. To make drug smuggling a no-go area as a career option for our young ones calls for partnership between citizens and law enforcement officers.
A Focus on Young People
Crucial to our fight against drugs is the development and implementation of programmes that prevent illicit drug use, offer no refuge for drug pushers in our neighborhoods and provide a safe and secure environment for every Ghanaian in every corner of our land. We do so by reclaiming every inch of space from criminal gangs. Linked to our fight against drug abuse must be a comprehensive preventive measure aimed at protecting our children from a life of crime.
• Ghanaian families have a difficult but necessary task to teach young people to avoid using drugs. What is required is a structured anti-drug education policy for our schools.
• We must be bold but sensitive in confronting young offenders with the negative effects of their behaviour on their victims in novel and compelling ways.
• We must provide purposeful and engaging activities for the youth, especially those in real or potential conflict with the law.
• We must continue to increase access to education from pre-school to the tertiary level
• We must expand childcare facilities in urban and rural areas
• Education on the dangers of illicit drugs is key. There should be an increased awareness of the dangers of drugs. A more proactive parental involvement, education, and community action are key to protecting our youth from the menace of illicit drug – as users, couriers or pushers.
• Evidence elsewhere has shown that we can use the power of media to make the use of drugs a very, very unattractive option for our young people. My government will invest in a long-term media campaign aimed at increasing perceptions of the harm of drug use and of social disapproval.
We must secure the future of our children by:-
• Building stronger neighborhoods
• building stronger families as bulwarks against juvenile delinquency and criminality
• improving parental competence and teaching self-control and street smarts
• helping young people resist drug misuse in order to achieve their full potential in society
• reducing the harm caused by drugs in the community
• protecting our communities from related violent crimes, such as aggravated street mugging
• improving the quality of life
• implementing specialized social welfare programmes to address problems of youth alienation and despondency, and to assist youths to withstand peer pressures to experiment with drugs
• implementing a youth-oriented education campaign to assist youth in resisting the temptations presented to them by the criminal underworld, particularly in armed robbery, drug-trafficking, prostitution
• enhancing police-community relations and promoting community policing
• dismantling the criminal gangs that traffic in drugs
Securing our borders
Drug trafficking is linked to cross-border violence and money laundering. We make meaningful headway against drug trafficking only by treating it not as a merely Ghanaian problem. Through partnership with other sovereign nations in our region and beyond, we can combat all of these serious threats to border security. West Africa is drawing up a plan to fight drug trafficking, in particular of Latin American cocaine and Asian heroin being smuggled to lucrative markets in Europe. Going forward, we must have a transnational strategy that aggressively polices our seas to ensure increased disruption of cocaine flow and continued disruption of trafficker means, methods and modes.
We shall focus on a strategic review of international drugs activity - with a clear overall commitment of all the law enforcement, intelligence and diplomatic agencies in the West African region, especially, to reduce the flow of illicit drugs, to and through our shores.
Expanding the level of cooperation with partner nations across the transit zone will deny traffickers the freedom of movement they enjoy within the territorial waters of nations, such as ours, that are struggling with the means to interdict them.
Abdullahi Shehu, Director-General of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (GIABA) in West Africa, who heads West Africa's programme against money laundering, received an additional mandate in August 2007 from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to fight drugs cartels. We need to continue on this regional front. We shall also explore, with our neighbours, the possibility of a joint ECOWAS coastguard unit, involving our respective naval units.
I believe the creation of an overall Drug Czar, with the requisite powers, will go a long way in our fight against illicit drugs. With this, I am proposing an equivalent of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, a Cabinet level component of the Executive Office of the Presidency, to be established by law and headed by a Drug Czar. The Drug Czar, with enhanced powers, will also combine the powers of the Chairman and the Executive Director of NACOB under a new reformed structure. My government will re-designate NACOB as an Agency, which will give the new body a greater overall mandate over and control of the drug situation, and harmonise its collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and Ministries.
An Akufo-Addo presidency will also pay special attention to the classification of narcotic drugs and review the penalties for drug-related offences, with particular attention to increasing the prison terms of those convicted for the supply or possession of drugs with intent to supply. The object would be to ensure that Ghana becomes “a no-go country” for drug dealers, both domestic and international.
We aim to tackle drug supply at every opportunity: internationally, nationally, regionally and locally, to focus on all points in the supply and demand chain. The fight against drugs should be part of a wider range of policies to regenerate our communities, expand access to education, skills training and jobs. The more we intensify our efforts in providing opportunities for all and in apprehending the criminals, the less attractive the illicit drug trade becomes.
I am determined to tackle the drugs problem. But the fight is not just for the Government or law enforcement agents. It is for mothers, fathers, siblings, teachers, pastors, imams, chiefs, community groups, and Ghanaians who cares about the future of our society. The problem does not simply go away by politicians adopting a pre-occupational attitude of merely, constantly telling the general public that Ghana has a drug smuggling problem. We owe it to our children's future to come up with truly imaginative solutions. Drugs are a very serious problem in Ghana, in West Africa, in Africa, in Europe, in America, in Asia and everywhere – it is a global problem from which our geographical location has not been spared. No one has any illusions about that. Drugs are a threat to health, a threat to a productive future, a threat to our personal security, a threat to our communities, a national security threat. Let us approach it with the kind of responsibility Ghanaians demand of their political leaders.
In the end, it must be noted that security is not a commodity the state buys and the Police imposes on the populace. It is the result of the entire citizenry working together to respect the laws, to ensure social justice, to take care of the economically weak and vulnerable, and to support law enforcement agencies with credible information. Security comes about when citizens do the right thing in accordance with law.
My vision for Ghana is to create a free, healthy, confident, educated and prosperous modern society. I believe we can do so and still avoid the side-effects of modernisation – the harm caused by growing misuse of drugs - that is common with western societies.
Chairperson, I have discussed with you the soaring vision that Dr Busia had for our party and our country and how his time at the helm of our nation was all too brief.
We have discussed the important link between democracy, security and the rule of law, for the state, communities and individuals as they go about their lawful activities.
I have pledged to double the strength of our Police Force from 25,000 to 50,000. I have also committed to modernising the police force, with better training and resources, together with higher standards of accountability that will make the force, in the eyes of all, the friendly and professional protectors of the public.
I have pledged to appropriate the necessary resources to strengthen the relevant institutions that will be in the vanguard of preventing and fighting crime.
Today, I have challenged every citizen to take a stand in the fight against crime, indiscipline on our roads and drug trafficking and to see themselves as part of a “citizens army” working together to protect ourselves and make our country safe.
As I have indicated, my presidency will increase educational opportunities for our young people, coupled with jobs that pay living wages when they are working to strengthen their families and to make crime and indiscipline unattractive to them.
Together, let us strengthen one another, our families and our national family by protecting and believing in ourselves, our future and IN GHANA! In order to achieve in any human endeavour, YOU MUST FIRST BELIEVE!
We may be five years short of celebrating Dr. Busia's centenary; yet, we are long in celebrating the return of the hope he held so dear for Ghana. This year marks the 51st anniversary of our country's independence. It also marks the 15th anniversary of the Fourth Republic. That we can say today that this fourth attempt at democracy for our Republic has been the longest enduring is in itself a remarkable achievement. The First Republic lasted six years. The Second Republic lasted two and a half years. The Third Republic lasted the same brief period. So what has been the secret to the success so far of the Fourth Republic? One can think of a combination of factors but what quickly comes to mind is a slogan that Ghanaians collectively were compelled to adopt in the 1990s and has since been the guiding and guarding principle for our society.
That slogan, Chairperson, is: “NEVER AGAIN!”
Never again will Ghana go back to one-man rule, military dictatorship, state-sponsored human rights violations, wanton confiscation of assets, and criminalisation of entrepreneurship and a culture of torturing silence. Ghana is a country that is moving forward to its manifest destiny – a future of confident, educated, healthy and competitive people, free to create, optimise and benefit from economic opportunities in a society that operates on the principles of democratic accountability, rule of law, social justice and human rights.
Dr. Busia dreamt of a nation at peace, prosperous and generous, a beacon of hope to Africa and the world, a proud African lion, striding into the future with confidence, secure in the knowledge that here on this continent, we are the nation of destiny, an example, not just for our age but for ages.
Let us move forward!
Won Ya Wor Hie!
The 2008 Busia Foundation Annual Lectures
Democracy, security, and the rule of law delivered Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, MP, 2008 presidential candidate, New Patriotic Party
Monday, July 14, 2008
Holiday Inn, Airport City, Accra