This International Incident Must Be InvestigatedBy Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
4/30/2012 12:27:35 PM -
On Saturday, April 28, 2012, four Ghanaian police officers, all male, were reportedly arrested by Togolese security forces, after allegedly straying into territory belonging to Ghana's Francophone eastern neighbor (See “Four Ghanaian Policemen Arrested in Togo” PeacefmOnline 4/29/12).
What raises eyebrows over this international affair, is the apparent refusal of the authorities concerned to level up with the Ghanaian public vis-à-vis exactly what had transpired. For instance, the Volta Regional Police Commander, Mr. Alex Bebie, who is also a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP), was reported to have confirmed the occurrence of the incident, even while also flatly refusing to provide the media with any substantive details.
But what makes the matter worthy of more than casual, or passing, public attention regards the part allegedly played by Mr. Isaac Kotobisa, the Ho Municipal Chief Executive. The latter is alleged to have entered Togolese territory and successfully secured the release of the arrestees. The problem here, though, is that while Mr. Kotobisa is clearly not a security agent, albeit the chief administrator of the Volta regional capital, the man appears to have deeply involved himself in the aforementioned incident, particularly in that aspect pertaining to the release of the arrestees. But that Mr. Kotobisa vehemently denies any active involvement in the incident is what makes the situation even more suspicious.
Quizzed by a media operative about his involvement in this international incident, this is what Mr. Kotobisa is quoted to have said: “That is not true. I have not intervened in any case; I only went on monitoring. I went on patrol around those areas because it is a border line.” Needless to say, short of any high security alert or the provocation of any incident between the two otherwise cordial neighbors, it is not clear precisely why Mr. Kotobisa would embark on a border patrol, as Ho is not exactly known as a border town, the way Aflao is widely known for the same. And unless the routine job description of the Ho Municipal Chief Executive clearly involves the duties of a border guard or a border patrol officer, I see absolutely no reason why any well-meaning and responsible Ghanaian citizen ought to buy into Mr. Kotobisa's rather lame alibi.
Needless to say, this is a general election year in which the police, among a host of other security personnel, have been forcefully driving home the necessity for discipline and the rule of law. We also have long known of flagrant incidents of illegal voter influx across the eastern border of the country and cannot readily rule out the possibility of an NDC appointee like Mr. Kotobisa being in cahoots with the Volta border-patrol agents to pull a fast and “peaceful” one over the eyes of unsuspecting Ghanaians come December 7, 2012, particularly when we are also being alerted by a media operative on the scene that “the place [where the four Ghanaian policemen were arrested by the Togolese security guards] is a remote area and there is no demarcation. So it is difficult to tell whether you are in Togo or Ghana; and that might have accounted for this incident.”
Maybe it is difficult to tell whether you are in Togo or Ghana when you are not a professionally trained security personnel. But when you are a trained and salaried security agent with jurisdictional duties in an area of whose very demarcations one has absolutely no working knowledge, then the entire country risks more serious incidents, including the grim possibility of cross-border clashes, or even a shooting war in the foreseeable future.
We are fully convinced that the Mills-Mahama government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is trying to hide something from the Ghanaian people. And we urge the New Patriotic Party's parliamentary minority leader, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, to order an immediate inquiry into this shady incident before matters, regretfully, get out of hand.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Danquah v. Nkrumah: In the Words of Mahoney.” E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.