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19.07.2004 General News

Spare no efforts in defending democracy - Minister

By GNA

Accra, July 19, GNA- Defence Minister Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor on Monday stated that it was in the interest of Ghanaians to spare no efforts to sustain democracy.

"Democratic governance, with all its imperfections, is the best form of government", he said.

He said several African countries which have experienced civil wars were gradually moving towards democracy and good governance, and it was a sure bet to create a peaceful and enabling environment for its growth and development on the continent.

Dr Addo-Kufuor was speaking at the opening of a three-week Ghana Security Sector Governance and Management Course for the various security agencies and civil organizations at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) at Teshie near Accra.

The course is being funded by the Defence Advisory Team of the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom in collaboration with the Ghana Government, Cranfield University UK, University of Ghana, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, African Security Dialogue and Research and the Ghana Armed Forces.

Participating agencies include Ghana Immigration Service, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Ghana Police Service, Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Ministries of Defence, the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Information. The others are the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and the Interior, Ghana Armed Forces, Office of the Head of Civil Service (OHCS) and Africa Women Lawyers Association.

Dr Kufuor said the changes in the political, economic and social climate resulting from the new democratic dispensation called for an appropriate response from the security sector and reform its initiatives.

He said this should be in education and training of personnel from the security institutions and provide maximum support to ensure stability of the government.

He said it was important to build structures that would ensure the evolution of a national consensus involving the appropriate agencies in managing the security sector.

He said; " Civil control of the agencies of the security of the state is a cardinal principle of democracy and there is no doubt that this is going to be one of the major determinant of the success of our infant democracy".

Dr Kufuor told the participants that as senior officers, the course would enhance their capacity to carry out their various responsibilities in a manner consistent with both the rule of law and accountability to the people.

"The days when security was seen as the sole preserve of the military and to some extent the police are long gone. Today, security issues are issues of the entire society because all of us wish to live under conditions of peace and stability.

He described security as multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral in nature, adding that its effectiveness would depend on the coordination between the various national agencies in both the public and the private sectors.

Dr Addo-Kufuor called for cooperation in all spheres of security endeavours including combating and overcoming the activities of terrorists, rebels and petty criminals operating within countries and across international borders.

He urged the participants to devise mechanisms by which government could be made transparent, accessible and responsive, while at the same time ensuring economic prosperity and security for all the citizens.

"A perfect government does not exist anywhere in the world but there are lofty principles which governments, particularly those in our parts of the world must strive to practice", he said.

Major General Nii Carl Coleman, Commandant of GAFCSC noted that the notion of security, which was based on ideological hegemony and political exclusion as propounded by authoritarian regimes, consider opposing ideological groups or political parties as "enemy within," was past.

He said all organs of the administrative machinery of the state must be fully activated and directed to the supremacy of national interest both within and without.

Maj. Gen. Coleman said that in an infant democratic system like that of Ghana, only a high level of mutual understanding between all organs of the state could bring about internal security, development, diplomacy and defence.

"I need not remind you all that security and democracy are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary security guarantees the room for debate and dissent, which are the propellant or driving force of all democracies so that differences of opinions are not also risk to one's personal security".

He said transparency should not be seen only in actions but must be combined with efficiency in order to eliminate waste in the entire system of governance, especially if all the organs of the state work together.

Present were the Deputy Minister of the Interior, Mr. Thomas Broni, The Chief Justice, Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ms Gloria Akuffo, the Head of Civil Service, Dr. Alex Glover-Quartey, Director of Immigration, Ms Elizabeth Adjei, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen Seth Obeng and the Deputy Inspector General of Police (D/IGP) in charge of Administration, Mrs. Elizabeth Mills-Robertson.

The course for about 40 participants is to afford them the opportunity to understand some of the major political economic organizational and behavioural phenomena, relevant to national security decision-making at the national, regional and international levels. It is aimed at addressing the need for effective planning, coordination and management of the security sector. Participants are expected to suggest appropriate structures and reforms to enhance the performance of the security sector.

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