Opinion | Feb 20, 2019

Akufo-Addo Is Likely to Act on Recommendations of Short Commission

The fact that the John Agyekum-Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) allegedly failed to implement the recommendations of the Wuaku Commission that investigated the causes and circumstances both surrounding and leading up to the barbaric decapitation of the then-Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Naa Yakubu Andani, II, in 2002, or thereabouts, does not automatically imply that President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will tread the same unproductive path with the findings and recommendations of the recently established Short Commission, which is charged with investigating the circumstances that led to the violent clashes between operatives of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and agents of the National Security Establishment (See “No Gov’t Has Implemented Recommendations of Commissions of Inquiry” Modernghana.com 2/9/19).

It ought to be clear to security experts and consultants like Col. Festus Aboagye that Nana Akufo-Addo is a cut or two above the proverbial pack of postcolonial Ghanaian leaders. We have just witnessed the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice definitively and heroically apply the tenets of the Dagbon Peace Roadmap to conclusively bring the hitherto protracted Yendi Chieftaincy Crisis to a glorious end, some 17 years after the same was drafted by Justice INK Wuaku and his associates and staff of the commission chaired and named after him. I am also inclined to suspect that Col. Festus Aboagye may be the once Lieutenant or Captain Aboagye who lived at Kumasi-Denyame with my recently deceased maternal uncle, the Rev. EBB Sintim-Brown, then Deputy Padre or Chaplain of the 4th Battalion of Infantry of the Ghana Armed Forces. My uncle would later become Director of Religious Affairs or Chaplain-General of the Ghana Armed Forces.

But what I am most interested in here is that aspect of the Wuaku Commission’s recommendations which, according to Col. Aboagye, enjoined the complete extirpation or abolition of vigilante groups and organizations in the country. The preceding, of course, can be done, but it would initially meet with some difficulties, as some rigid guidelines may have to be laid down to handle the legitimate activities of private security agencies and companies already operating in the country. These business- and personal-protection agencies may have to be clearly differentiated from such politically oriented armed vigilante groups as the National Democratic Congress-sponsored Azorka Boys and, most recently, the NDC-sponsored Hawks vigilante group; as well as, of course, the New Patriotic Party-affiliated Invincible Forces and Delta Forces vigilante groups. I suppose the best approach to effectively disbanding these vigilante groups will entail the hosting of parliament-sponsored townhall meetings and extensive public hearings across the country, in order to establish a modicum of public and common understanding vis-à-vis why these very violent vigilante groups, the very first of which came into existence under the reign-of-terror of Chairman Jerry John Rawlings and his junta of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) some 40 years ago, need to be promptly proscribed and completely banned from Ghanaian society altogether.

What this means is that the professional quality and size of the membership of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) will need to be significantly upgraded and increased. Which also means that the budgetary resources of the ministries of Defense and the Interior, in particular, will need to be significantly boosted. We simply cannot have too much or even just enough security; we need to go the whole hog, or the whole nine yards, as Americans are wont to say, if the pre-AFRC and the pre-PNDC level of national security is to be realized in our time. In place of the present-day vigilante groups would have to be established a GPS-supervised Community-Policing System, to ensure a drastic reduction in the current unbearably high spate of crime across the country. This Auxiliary or Para-Police Force or Service could be either partially or even completely voluntary and could become a ready pool for recruitment into both the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF). And this could be a plus or an added bonus for the significant upgrading of these major national security agencies, because the new recruits could eventually join either the GPS or the GAF with an appreciable level of the requisite discipline and work ethic.

Recruits for the Community-Policing System will be issued uniforms and be paid nominal amounts of stipends. But, of course, we also recognize the glaring fact that the best formula for significantly reducing the current high crime rate in the country is to create more jobs at livable wages and salaries, which the Akufo-Addo Administration already appears to be doing. As well, recruiting a remarkable percentage of our youths into the Community-Policing System would enhance the sense of non-partisan civic responsibility and patriotism among our youths.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
February 9, 2019
E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

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