- GUEST OF HONOUR AT THE OPENING OF THE MAIDEN GHANA SECURITY SECTOR GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT COURS ON MONDAY 19 JULY 04
HONOURABLE MINISTERS OF STATE, YOUR EXCELENCIES MEMEBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS, THE CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE STAFF, THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE, SERVICE COMMANDERS, COMMANDANT, SENIOR OFFICERS, COMMANDER BRITISH MILITARY ADVISORY AND TRAINING TEAM (BMATT), EMINENT RESOURCE PERSONS, DISTINGUISHED COURSE PARTICIPANTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
It is a pleasure for me to be here this morning to perform the opening of the maiden Ghana security sector governance and management course. I am informed that a few weeks age, aided by resource persons from the University of Ghana and Cranfield University, UK, this college ran a defence management course which was specifically packaged for middle level and junior officers of the security services.
Today's higher level course, targets you, senior management personnel, including senior officers from the National Security Council, the Civil Service, Parliament, the security services, civil society organizations, the Office of the President and the Office of the Head of Civil Service. It is obvious that the caliber and mix of participants assembled here for this course is very high. Let me take this opportunity therefore to welcome you all and to commend you on your selection to attend this important course, the first of its kind to be run by this college. I am confident that you will all come out of the course better endowed and equipped to be able to make more positive and appreciable contributions to support the process and pace of development in the country.
I have noted with great satisfaction the specific aims of the course which among others include the following:
1. To encourage parliamentarians, security officers, civil servants and civil society representatives to appreciate each other's roles in defence and security matters.
2. To introduce new idea and enhance the skills for the effective management of the security sector.
3. To build awareness of the structures and processes through which defence can be efficiently directed and managed so as to provide maximum support for government policy.
4. To place Ghanaian security sector reform initiatives in an appropriate national, regional and international context.
The overall objective of this course however, is not the mastery of particular techniques but it involves something much broader. It will seek to clarify our individual and collective thinking of what constitutes security in all its scope and manifestations, it will seek to generate consensus among you in terms of your understanding of appropriate security sector policies, it will also enhance your capacity to formulate and implement such policies. This course promises therefore to be a very useful initiative in our search for a truly effective and professional management of security.
Ladies and Gentlemen, efficient and effective security is needed to buttress good governance. The experience of third world countries, including Ghana, teaches us that there can be no economic progress or social cohesion in the absence of good governance, meaning the rule of law, respect for the rights of citizens, freedom of association and speech and consensus building. In this context, good governance means good government. The concept of good governance relates to the nature of the relationship between the government and the citizens for whom it is elected to serve and protect (security). Ladies and gentlemen, this last point in my view, encapsulates the purpose for which this course has been organized. Participants must use the opportunity to discuss the mechanism by which government can be made transparent, accessible, and responsive, while at the same time, ensuring economic prosperity and security for the citizens.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in a recent reports has identified eight major features of what constitutes good governance which I hope participants will find time to discuss:
1. Good governance must be participatory. 2. It must be accountable 3. It must be transparent 4. Efficient 5. Effective 6. Equitable 7. Inclusive 8. Must be compliant with the rule of law.
Ladies and Gentlemen, a perfect government does not exist any where in the world, but these are lofty principles which governments, particularly those in our part of the world, must strive to practice.
Ladies and Gentlemen, many of the serious problems confronting Africa today relate to lack of security. Africa epitomizes this tragic situation most vividly which is why it remains the poorest continent in the world. Africa currently has a large stock of illegally held small arms and light weapons which are readily available. Thanks to the merchants of death and criminals. It is this situation which has resulted in the continent being caught up in a web of wars within States. It explains cases of violent conflicts, including rebel activities with their attendant crimes against their nations and communities. Security, or lack of it, therefore can be said to be the most important single factor militating against peace, stability and progress on our continent.
There is no doubt that a stable Africa is crucial if there should be growth and development on the Continent. In recent times there have been concerted efforts among several African countries to find lasting solutions to the problem of recurrent conflicts on the continent. Several countries which have experienced civil wars are now gradually moving towards democracy and good governance, it is the hope of many in our part of the world that this would create a peaceful and enabling environment for growth and development.
The changes in the political economic and social climate resulting from the new democratic dispensation, good governance and the rule of law naturally call for an appropriate response from the security sector, hence the need for security sector reform initiatives to include the education and training of personnel from our security institutions to provide maximum support to ensure the stability of government. It is a welcome development that the course content and objectives include such critical issues as the building of structures that would ensure the evolution of a national consensus involving appropriate agencies of our society in managing security sector.
I am also aware that the important issue of civil control of the military, and indeed, the security services will be one of the issues to be considered on the course. Civil control of the agencies of the security state is a cardinal principle of democracy and there is no doubt that this is going to be one of the major determinants of the success of our infant democracy.
It is my hope that the objectives of the course will enhance your capacity as senior officers to carry out your various responsibilities in a manner consistent with both the rule of law and accountability to the governed.
Our society is changing very fast. A few years ago, one could not have imagined a gathering here in Ghana of senior security personnel and public servants, as we have here today, assembled for a course in security sector governance and management. 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. Security must therefore be seen as a precursor of the African Renaissance.
The people of Ghana should spare no effort to sustain and protect democratic governance, for with all its imperfections, it is the best form of government.
Security is multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral in nature. Its effectiveness depends on the coordination that is built between the various national agencies in both the public and private sectors. The experience of the United States illustrates my point most vividly.
In the recent United States congressional inquiry into the September 11 events, it was alleged that powerful, credible and professional institutions such as the CIA and FBI were not coordinating or cooperating sufficiently and effectively. They reportedly operated as separate institutions rather than, as institutions having a common mission and objective. Their failure to cooperate resulted in their inability to correctly analyse and interpret vital information and predict trends. This is an indication that notwithstanding the vast resources available to them and their sophistication, their lack of coordination and cooperation and could impede their effectiveness, with tragic consequences.
Ladies and Gentleman, I urge you to use this forum to carefully appreciate each other's roles and responsibilities in order to advise your superiors on more appropriate policy frameworks. You must be prepared to accept change and manage change effectively particularly in this globalised world. You must remember also that Ghana, like other countries, will be faced with and involved in peace support operations, disaster relief and other humanitarian operations within the country and externally. Our country, sub region, and indeed the whole world must be prepared to confront and overcome the activities of terrorist, rebels and petty criminals operating within countries and across international borders. Threats to security need new thinking, critical analysis and pragmatic approaches. Those of you who have acquired some practical knowledge and experience from events in and outside Ghana should willingly share them with other participants and seek constantly to improve upon them in the light of changing circumstances and the kind of critical reflection which we expect to take place in this forum.
At the end of the 3 weeks, we look forward to receiving useful and workable policy initiatives that will enhance security management and good governance.
Colleague Ministers of State, Colleague MP's, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude by once again acknowledging on behalf of the Government and the Ghana Armed Forces the generosity of the United Kingdom whose sponsorship through the British Military Advisory and Training Team has made this course possible. The Governments of UK and Ghana have a long established relationship, especially in terms of training assistance, courses such as this one will help nurture our infant democracy and support our efforts to attain rapid economic development.
I would also like to express the government's appreciation to the resource personnel from the University of Ghana, Cranfield University, African Security Dialogue Research (ASDR), and GIMPA for their support. Your joint support will produce the synergy required to make this course a success and is highly appreciated. Let me also congratulate the Commandant and his staff for the valuable time spent to package this course and for providing this facility.
To the participants. I wish to urge you to take advantage of the opportunity offered you on this course and make sure that you make the best of it.
I wish you all a fruitful time together. Make new friends, share ideas and enjoy the friendly environment.
I now declare the maiden Ghana Security Sector Governance and Management Course duly opened.
Thank you for your attention.