I have not had such a quiet moment, peaceful and serene atmosphere to watch for some time now in Accra but I experienced that on Easter Thursday morning as I sat on my veranda in Twenedurase up on the Kwahu scarp. I had left Accra on Wednesday to my hometown to prepare to receive some visitors and therefore I was alone as other siblings and relations who normally join the family celebrations had not arrived. As I drove up on the snaky mountain road taking turns carefully to Twenedurase, I started sweating because the weather was too warm contrary to my expectations even though there had been some rains prior to my arrival. Luckily, the good LORD blessed us with a heavy downpour of rain on Wednesday evening and the weather on Thursday morning especially, the cold breeze, the fog, the sounds of early morning birds and other earthly creatures was so beautiful.
In that quiet moment my mind drifted to the history of the crucifixion of our LORD JESUS CHIRST and reflecting on the humiliation, insults, beating, false accusations etc. he suffered at the hands of the very people he came to save, it became very clear that to be a leader and for that matter a GOOD LEADER, the suffering of our LORD JESUS CHRIST should serve as a great reminder. In my last piece on “Independence without selfless leadership” my former boss General Edwin Sam, called me and said “Joe, that was a good piece but I have never known you to be a preacher”. Yes, I have never preached in the pulpit before but poor leadership, the bane of the suffering of our people has made me a “preacher”.
Then I started wondering why some little minds hate NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO ADDO with such a passion that they have been trying desperately to criminalise or bastardise the name no matter how crudely they execute that mischief. They have accused him of so many bad things and all have fallen flat. Clutching onto straws, they are desperately saying that “the man is violent'' and this will also not work. The mention of the name simply sends shock waves through their spinal cords which affect their mental faculties leading to failure of their destructive plans because they lack intelligence, foresight and professionalism. The accusation that Nana is DESPERATELY bent on becoming the President of Ghana is so infantile and akin to “the kettle calling the pot black”. The deliberations at the Supreme Court trial on 2012 elections revealed who desperately hung on to the Presidency by rigging the polls. Prof Wole Soyinka said “I despise that species of humanity whose stock-in-trade is to concoct lies simply to score a point, win an argument, puff up his or her own ego, denigrate or attempt to destroy a fellow being. However, even within such deplorable species, a special pit of universal opprobrium is surely reserved for those who even lack the courage of their own lies, but must foist them on others”.
The arrest, detention, prosecution and deportation of the three South African ex-Police Officers for endangering the national security demonstrated how naïve and jittery some people are concerning matters of national security. National Security has become a contentious issue in the country of late because of recent terrorist attacks in some neighbouring countries, and of course, the “compassion” forced on us to smuggle two known terrorists from the US in mysterious circumstances as “special guests” to this country. The handling of National security issues in developed countries is so professional that it is devoid of trivialities, mediocrity, propaganda and politics. Unfortunately in Ghana the arena is dominated by “experts” whose credentials and experiences are difficult to establish. The three main reasons undermining the management of national security are that firstly, every issue is politicised. Secondly, understanding of the concept of national security is misplaced and thirdly, the myopic view of national security as exclusive preserve of the state security apparatus of Ghana Armed Forces, BNI, Police, Immigration and Fire Service and consequently the solutions to problems of national security is approached and executed militarily with trepidation in Gestapo style.
National security is a concept that a government, along with its parliaments or legislative bodies, protects the state and its citizens against all kinds of “national” crises through a variety of power projections, such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might, and so on. The concept developed mostly in the United States after World War II. Initially focusing on military might, it now encompasses a broad range of facets, all of which impinge on the non-military or economic security of the nation and the values espoused by the national society. Accordingly, in order to possess national security, a nation needs to possess economic security, energy security, environmental security, etc. Security threats involve not only conventional foes such as other nation-states but also non-state actors such as violent non-state actors, narcotic cartels, multinational corporations and non-governmental organisations. Some authorities include natural disasters and events causing severe environmental damage in this category.
Measures taken to ensure national security therefore include the use of diplomacy to rally allies and isolate threats, development of economic power to facilitate or compel cooperation, maintenance of effective armed forces, development of energy security, establishment of emergency preparedness measures (including anti-terrorism legislation), ensure the resilience of critical infrastructure, use intelligence services to detect and defeat or avoid threats and espionage, and to protect classified information using counter intelligence services to protect the nation from internal threats. When modern social scientists talk of the concept, they generally mean the ability of a nation to protect its internal values from external threats.
Ghana's national security threats therefore include massive unemployment, morale degeneration of the youth, illiteracy, corruption, “DUMSOR”, proliferation of small arms, government's excessive borrowing, narcotic trade, collapse of the national health insurance scheme, unavailability of national identification cards, poverty, migration of our educated youth to foreign lands etc. The IMF's announcement that Ghana is BROKE is a very serious THREAT to our national security. From these, it should be obvious to the ordinary Ghanaian that solutions to national security are so complex and go beyond the arrest and detention of innocent people on flimsy charges. In developed countries when activities of citizens and other nationals are suspected to undermine the national security, they are monitored, investigated secretly and then arrests are made when the suspicions are confirmed to avoid embarrassments as we have experienced recently.
The charge of the three ex-South African Police officers under the pretext of endangering our national security and their subsequent deportation were very embarrassing and a dent on our democratic credentials. The trial was not allowed to continue for two reasons among others. Firstly, the secrets of STL operations which involved the collation and rigging of 2012 elections for the NDC could have been exposed badly to the embarrassment of the Government. Secondly, the repercussions from South Africa belatedly dawned on the authorities and they developed cold feet to prosecute the South Africans. If the Government had a case, the South Africans should have been prosecuted and not deported.
In Ghana most of the issues we refer to as threats to national security are purely Police responsibilities and examples are the investigations into JB's murder, the arrests of the three South Africans, Pakistanis and recently the Managing Director of Granite and Marbles. National security matters are not panic driven and recent actions are nothing short of harassment and intimidation of innocent citizens and as usual Ghanaians are looking on.
The arrest of the South Africans was politically hyped because it involved the training of security personnel of Nana Addo and his Vice and therefore enough to classify it as a threat to national security. Some of the so called experts jumped into the fray to accuse NPP of wrong doing overlooking the fact that other Security Companies in this country do import professionals from other countries to train their personnel. If Ghanaians can be forced to live with known international terrorists, why can't we live with our brothers from South Africa?
Recent events in our country do suggest a deliberate attempt to divert attention from serious national issues such as the review of the Voter Register, national strikes by state institutions, the empty coffers of the State, unemployment, excessive taxation and many others. The politicisation of national security issues and the unprofessional manner in which some matters are being handled must be the concern of all Ghanaians. The security institutions must not be politicised but must be encouraged to work independently, guard their mandates jealously and resist usurpation of their responsibilities by other security institutions who seem to be under the spell of “greedy bastards”. “The world suffers a lot not because of the VIOLENCE of bad people but because of the SILENCE of good people” (Napoleon).
By Brig-Gen J. Odei