According to Confucius, ‘When wealth is centralised, the people are dispersed. When wealth is distributed, the people are brought together.’ In a related vein, James Baldwin opines that, ‘We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the sentient which can change it’. In effect, these great minds are advocating that we extend helping hands to individuals and organisations where we have the means to do so.
However, worrying trend, a friend has drawn my attention to, in recent times is the increasing spate of donations to a security institution such as the Ghana Police Service. It is commonplace to read in the news donations made by individuals to this security setup.
This is a recent case in point as published on 5th July, 2016 by myjoyonline.com, an online news portal of the Multimedia Group Limited:
‘A businessman and transport operator has made history by single-handedly building a police station with a bungalow for the Asaam District Police Command, near Asante-Mampong. Chief Executive Officer of the Yesu Dea Transport, Yaw Amponsah Marfo, has also given the command a brand new Nissan Navara pick-up vehicle and two motorbikes. The police administration describes the gesture as unprecedented by an individual in the history of the Ghana Police Service’.
It is also reported recently that individuals who are constantly under armed robbery attacks in certain parts of the Greater Accra Region have donated a building so that police personnel could be stationed there to offer protection. Many of such self-help projects to offer security exists in most of the peri-urban areas in Ghana.
Do not get me wrong; these donations will go a long way to help offer adequate security and extend security protection to areas where there is none, due to logistical constraints.
I am not against philanthropic gestures to this institution. My worry is: has this any implications on the security of the country? How would the police deal with such philanthropist should they fall foul of the law? Will the Police have the moral authority to allow the laws of the land work when they have benefited from the philanthropy of these individuals?
We are told in the news report as carried by myjoyonline.com that Yaw Amponsah Marfo is a transport operator. He owns a transport company for that matter and will always come into brush with the Police from time to time. How will the Police handle him and other philanthropists who have extended philanthropic gestures to the Service should these donors fall at the wrong side of the law? Can these donations be construed as quid pro quos? What will the Police Service do should it turn out in the future that these donations are proceeds of illicit businesses?
Aside making the institution morally weak to deal with donors when they fall foul of the law, we live in an era of terrorism. Realising that the Ghana Police Service has open arms for donations, can terrorist organisations infiltrate the security service, in this case the Police Service, make donations to same, identify the weaknesses of the donated facilities and strike when we least expect?
I am no security person let alone expert. But issues that border on our safety should be brought to bare for analyses.
What’s the way forward? How can we put an end to the increasing spate of donations to the Ghana Police Service? We can effectively do this by adequately resourcing the Service to ensure that it continues to protect limb and property. We cannot afford to trade off security under the pretext of lack or inadequacy of funds.
I shall return!
Charles Lwanga Siewobr
+233 24 282 7039