The leadership of the New Patriotic Party is extremely disturbed by negative political moves to smash the morale of the rank and file of the Police Service and criminalise police officers in an obvious desperate attempt to protect a deputy minister of state who allegedly broke the law.
That incident on Sunday involving Deputy Minister of Interior, Kobby Acheampong and police officers in their line of duty is the latest in a series of events testifying to the persisting, alarming levels of arrogance, abuse of power and lawlessness since President JEA Mills took office in 2009.
For a deputy minister, stopped for allegedly breaking the law, to be rude to and cause the arbitrary arrest and detention of eight police officers whose only "offence" was to seek to enforce the law on speed limit on our increasingly dangerous roads, sends a very wrong signal to the country.
According to the regional police, the deputy minister's vehicle was driving at 90km/hr in a 50km/hr zone. The Deputy Minister of Interior (in charge of law and order) chose to overtake other vehicles which were obediently observing the speed limit on that stretch of road. When his vehicle was ordered to stop for over-speeding, he chose to stop his vehicle right in the middle of the road, blocking all other road users, in an obvious exhibition of power with impunity. The deputy minister, who has, over the years, earned for himself a curious reputation of hurling insults even when not provoked, allegedly started throwing insults at the law enforcement officers.
We are now told that it is the uncomplimentary reaction of one such offended officer which called for that urgent high-handed armoured vehicle arrest and detention in Accra of all the officers on duty at that material time. This arbitrary use of power is reminiscent of the military regimes of the past. Also disturbing is the decision by the Inspector General of Police to instruct the PRO of the Service to act, effectively, as a publicist for Kobby Acheampong or the Executive, prejudging the police officers as guilty as alleged by Kobby Acheampong. This is demoralising for the men and women in black who are laying down their lives to keep as safe.
We are calling on the President to show some responsible leadership and sack Kobby Acheampong immediately.
We are also calling on the Inspector General of Police to stand up for his men and women on the beat, rather than on his political masters on behalf of a political master who apparently broke the law and added insults to that breach. Should the word of a notorious deputy minister necessitate such a shameful abuse of power against police officers?
It is very dangerous for our democracy when a minister with responsibility for law and order can so totally disregard the law and proceed to violate the human rights of law enforcement officers for merely doing the job. It is a big setback for law and order.
Our law enforcement agents need encouragement to enforce the law without fear or favour and not the suffering of victimisation and intimidation from their political bosses for doing what is right and just.
Let the President show leadership by sacking Kobby Acheampong and, hopefully, help restore the morale of our police officers.
Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie,
General Secretary, NPP