After a long period of silence, Jerry John Rawlings, the Founder of the largest opposition political party in the country, National Democratic Congress, has resurfaced with another 'boom' speech that sought to castigate the ruling New Patriotic Party Government headed by President John Agyekum Kufuor.
At a press conference held in his Ridge residence yesterday - which coincided with the 48th Anniversary of Ghana's Republic Day celebration - Rawlings said that if the Government in power had a high sense of responsibility, integrity, and accountable, there would be no need for a large police force.
He pointed out that with such a leadership in place, "we'll then conduct ourselves in such a manner that does not require a huge police force".
When asked to comment on the statements made by a former President of this country, Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, told The Statesman , "I had decided to treat Jerry's incoherent and contradictory statements with the contempt they deserve; but I would like to comment on his pronouncements about the numerical strength of the Police Service".
Nana Ohene Ntow stressed that Ghanaians need the police to ensure public safety. "Jerry doesn't understand the need for a secure public. To him, the people should be left unprotected. What Rawlings must understand is that in a liberal society such as ours, unscrupulous people can do all things with intent to breach the peace we are all enjoying and so the police must be strengthened to protect the law-abiding citizens".
According to the NPP General Secretary, it is still the vision of the Party to continue working towards people's safety. "We will continue to improve and equip the police for public safety", he underscored.
Turning his attention on the cocaine trade, Nana Ohene Ntow made it clear that the illicit business did not originate under the NPP Administration. He maintained that "the police are now better equipped and trained to combat the cocaine trade, and that is the more reason why the general public is now aware of the numerous arrests by the police".
The NPP Chief Scribe was very emphatic that government, under Nana Akufo-Addo - the Party's current Presidential Candidate - would continue to resource the police to enable them perform their professional duties.
Regarding Rawlings' posturing, a political analyst and top figure of the NDC subsequently posited that he thought the former had been tamed by the party, but his vitriolic and subversive statements had proved contrary. "The man has not changed and this is an embarrassment to us all", he intimated.
He also saw the claim by the Flag bearer of the NDC, John Evans Atta Mills, that he is his own man and that he was piloting a "new NDC", as a sheer hoax. The analyst, who did not want his name mentioned, buttressed his observation with the announcement by Mills that he was not going to receive the award President Kufuor had nominated him (Mills) for today.
"I am very disappointed indeed. This is the same man who had earlier expressed his gratefulness to the President for nominating him for the award; and said he would not refuse it, despite some internal pressures on him. It is unfortunate that our Flag bearer has now made a 'U-turn'. I think he is following the footsteps of Jerry Rawlings and Kojo Tsikata who have refused the awards", the NDC guru lamented.
Rawlings, during the media briefing, also said that the murder of the Ya Na was an attempt by the Government to emasculate the spirit of the nation and a plot to eliminate him (Rawlings), adding that the assassination of Issa Mobila, an NDC operative fronting as the Northern regional chairman of the Convention Peoples Party, had not yet been investigated for justice to be done. "They talk about the rule of law. Where is the rule of law when there is no justice?", he queried.
Obviously worried about Jerry's frequent references to the murder of the Ya Na, the political analyst quipped, "I wonder why our man is always trying to make political capital out of this matter. There is calm at Dagbon and the people are going about their legitimate businesses without any fear. My piece of advice to the people in the area is that they should see Rawlings for what he is. He's not for them", he noted
Research conducted by The Statesman indicated that Ghana currently has police staff strength of 25,000 officers to 23,382,848 people (June estimate, CIA Fact book). This constitutes a police: population ratio of 1:935. A police: population ratio of 1:467 is expected if the police staff strength is increased to 50,000.
To maintain security in peaceful countries, the proper ratio of policemen to population is somewhere between 1 and 4 officers per 1,000 citizens, with cities needing higher levels than other areas.
The US has approximately 2-3 police officers per 1,000 residents; Singapore has 1 police officer per 119.4 residents. (Police force of 38,587 personnel to a population of 4,608,167 people); South Africa - 1:348 (Police force of 137,175 personnel to 47,848,800 people); Pakistan has a police: population ratio of 1:625 and London, with 24,000 police personnel, has 1:285.