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27.02.2009 General News

Policemen to sign contract - Interior Minister hints

By myjoyonline

Police officers at the national, regional, divisional and district headquarters are to be given performance contracts by the Ministry of the Interior in a new effort to inject professionalism and competence into the Police Service.

When this is done, officers who are found to be non-performing will be replaced after an annual assessment of their work.

The Interior Minister, Mr Cletus Avoka, announced this while addressing heads of security agencies and the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Tamale last Wednesday.

He did not indicate whether contracts would be introduced but hinted that he had asked the directors at the ministry to begin working out the details, saying that they would be introduced as soon as they were ready.

He explained that if chief directors and other heads of state-owned organisations were made to sign performance contracts, it was also in order that security chiefs also signed such contracts, by which they would be assessed,

Mr. Avoka was speaking after a tour of some trouble spots in Tamale by a high-powered government delegation to assess the security situation there after violent clashes which resulted in the death of one person, Abdul Rashid, and the burning down of several houses.

The delegation included the Defence Minister, Lt. Gen. J. H. Smith (retd), the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mrs Elizabeth Mills-Robertson, the NADMO boss, Mr Kofi Portuphy, the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department, DCOP Frank Adu-Poku, and others from National Security and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).

Mr Avoka said one thing that emerged from the tour and his interactions with the people was that there were a lot of question marks over the work of the security personnel, stressing that "the whole town is dissatisfied with your work."

"We went round and you all heard the people. If you cannot prosecute a single person who misbehaved in the past, how do you expect the public to have trust in you?" he asked.

He noted that if the people lost confidence in the security services due to inaction and partisanship, "then the country is doomed because the people will take the law into their own hands".

The minister challenged the security personnel to be proactive, neutral and professional in their work, saying that any acts of partisanship would only perpetuate the conflict.

He said the government was committed to letting justice prevail in the country and that anybody found .disturbing the peace would be treated as a criminal and made to face the full rigors of the law.

He said there was the need for all to eschew favouritism and nepotism and help chart a new path of development to erase the negative impression that the north had held the entire country to ransom for many years.

Mr Avoka said there was no need to repeat the wrongs of the past, especially when "we were not happy with those wrong things that were perpetrated in the past".

He made it clear that a wrong always remained the same, no matter how one turned it, and urged all to emulate the humility of President John Evans Atta Mills and Vice-President John Mahama and work for national unity.

The Interior Minister said the government would chart a new path of conflict resolution and empower the Eminent Chiefs and the National Peace Council with the necessary tools to ensure that there was peace, unity and national cohesion.

He said persons who hid under the cover of party or chieftaincy affiliation to commit violence would be smoked out.

Mr Avoka reminded the people that maintaining peace in the region had been an expensive venture for the government, stressing that it was time the youth in the area stopped the violent confrontations that had been associated with the region.

The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Sumani Nayina, said the money and the energy expended on solving conflicts in the north could have been used in finding ways of developing the area.

The Defence Minister, Lt Gen Smith, urged the people in the region to rally behind the regional minister because he had good plans for them.

He said there was a lot of work to be done in the north and reminded the people that any delay in the 21st century would leave them behind the rest of the world.

One person, Abdul Rashid, believed to a sympathisers of the NDC was killed and 12 others sustained various degrees of injury in the recent clashes between supporters of the ruling NDC and the opposition NPP in the area on February 17 and 22, 2009.

In all, 18 houses were burnt down, II of them on February 17 and seven others on February 22, 2009.

Two NPP sheds at Kukuo and Nyohini were also burnt down, while an NPP office at Lamashegu was vandalised.

Several items, including furniture, bedding, clothing, cooking utensils, foodstuffs, among others, were also burnt.

Credit: Daily Graphic