First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to commiserate with the family of Constable Frank William Blankson, who met his untimely death in the line of duty in a suburb of Kumasi on the dawn of Monday, 20th September, 2010.May the Good-Lord keep his soul.
I also admire the speed with which the IGP zoomed to Kumasi following this unfortunate incident and I would admonish him to exhibit the same kind of concern when innocent and ordinary people of this nation suffer rape, death and constant attacks by armed robbers when the police fail to be up and doing.
Now, “the recent increases in salaries of police personnel will not automatically lead to improved security in the country. Security will only be enhanced if apart from the increased renumerations, police personnel are given all the necessary accoutrements and equipment to be able to combat crime effectively and also to maintain peace and order”. Professor Ken Agyemang-Attafuah, a renowned criminologist and lawyer, (Daily Guide, Monday 16th August, 2010.pg. 10)
But, this obvious fact from Professor Attafuah was completely lost on the professional-radar of Superintendent Kwesi Ofori.His only excitement was about ‘single-spine’ and was therefore junketing from one media house to the other, singing the praises of Atta-Mills government, for the implementation of single spine salary structure (SSSS) policy. He said something to the effect that, the policy will motivate the police to give off their best, and also, completely ‘wipe-out’ the notorious corruptible image of the service (6p.m.Joy-Fm, 27/8/10).
Now, who told this man that salary increase has ever been a panacea to wiping-out corruption? Does he want to tell us that it is only poorly paid employees who engage in corrupt practices? And by the way, when has Kwesi Ofori ever admitted that some personnel within his outfit are corrupt due to poor remunerations? Jackie Selebi, the former head of Interpol and Chief of South African Police Force has been handed a 15-year jail-term for accepting bribe. Now, how many police officers would not be thrown into jail if such diligence were to be applied here in Ghana?
I have keenly observed the behaviour of our police service and I am not surprise as to why personnel of this institution are sometimes referred to as ‘zombies’. This word is loosely used to describe an individual who lacks the capacity to reason on his/her own and therefore depends on a remote source to be able to, even, realize that he/she needs to attend a nature’s call.
The police institution, no doubt, has some very learned and decent people within its ranks. This quality of human resource, under normal circumstance, should have been brought to bear on the quality of decisions taken by the police as an institution. But sadly, the behaviour of the police, as an institution, over the years, has always painted a clear picture of total cowardice in the face of political officialdom.
A personal experience is a case I reported to the police somewhere in 2007.The facts of the case are that; I wanted to relocate to a new place here in Accra and I paid some money to the prospective land-lord for an accommodation in North Kaneshie (around the saint Theresa’s area).When I was ready to occupy the said accommodation, I realized that the landlord had engaged in an act of gazumping by renting out the accommodation in question to someone else.
This act of the landlord was purely fraudulent because I had then not even entered a tenancy agreement with him, at the time he rented out the said accommodation to another person. Now, after the landlord rented out the place to another person; he failed to refund the money I had already paid to him. It was at this point that I realized the man had defrauded me and I reported him to the Kaneshie police.
We were at this landlord’s house with personnel from the Kaneshie police station on three occasions and on each of these occasions, I had to provide the officers with the means of transportation by way of hiring a taxi for them. We finally managed to get this man to the police station where he was made to write some ‘bogus’ undertaking that never saw the light of day.
I therefore reported the case to the Regional Police Headquarters thinking that I was going to be given a fair deal. At the Regional Headquarters, I was made to write a statement after which the landlord was invited through a phone-call which he failed to honour.It therefore became necessary to go to the man’s house to invite him to the police headquarters. And here too, I had to bear the cost of transporting the police officers from the headquarters to North-Kaneshie and back.
We made about three of such visits of which the costs were all borne by me. In all those visits, we failed to locate the man. I was therefore asked by the police to personally investigate and locate the man and come and tell them so that they (police) could go and arrest him.
I therefore approached a friend who has knowledge in such matters to assist me. And through the efforts of this friend of mine, we were able to locate the hiding place of this man and brought him to the police, only, for the police to let him loose into the thin air once again. And till date, the whereabouts of this man who defrauded me cannot be traced.
The last time I called the police headquarters to check on the latest development on my case, I was told the officer handling it has been transferred to the Kpeshie Divisional Headquarters. And in the Ghanaian police parlance, when there is a transfer of an officer handling a case, then the case in question is surely destined to suffer a ‘still-birth’.
Here, my question to the IGP is simply this; would the police service have treated my complaint with such a careless abandonment if I were the General Secretary of a ruling political party?
Now, I decided to take my readers down this personal experience detour so that you can appreciate how shabby the police always handle cases brought to them by ordinary citizens. In my case, because I am not a ‘guru’ in any political party who is in the position to influence the activities of the police service, a genuine case of fraud perpetrated against me has been allowed to die a natural death.
Here, someone might be tempted to say I should then support STX-GoG housing deal because of such dubious activities by some Landlords. And answering such people; I will only ask them to also make sure Atta-Mills establishes animal husbandry, as well, to provide goats, sheep, dogs, chickens, grass-cutter, snails, rabbits and so on, for every citizen, in order to assuage our misery whenever our animals get stolen by thieves.Fair deal, isn’t it?
About the Nana Darkwa-Baafi saga, for example; the same argument Rose Atinga-Bio advanced for arresting and charging him should have been used to charge her too, when she stood at the precincts of the blazing ministry of foreign affairs building and declared that the incident was the handiwork of arsonists, when she had no shred of evidence to that effect.
Ato Kwamena Dadzie (Joy-Fm) and Enimil Ashon (The Ghanaian Times) have also been charged under this law but Rose Atinga-Bio has not been charged till date. Was the police service not aware of this ‘fear and panic’ law when nation-wreckers as Samuel Okudzato-Ablakwa, James Agyenim-Boateng, Kwesi Pratt, Tony Aidoo and Raymond Archer were virtually calling for civil-war, from the studios of Radio Gold during the 2008 general elections?
These nation wreckers sat in the studios of Radio Gold and called on NDC supporters to besiege the electoral commission with all sorts of murder weapons. The whole of EC area was completely overtaken and barricaded by these party thugs. The question is; did this law on ‘fear and panic’ exist in our statutes at the time? And was the police aware of its existence? If yes, then why did the police fail to act at the time?
Is it because the government in power at the time was not in the business of interfering with the workings of the security services? If yes, then that certainly was a case of taking Kufuor’s leniency to be his weakness (apologies to Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong), a former Head of State of the Republic of Ghana, murdered by the architects of June 4th pseudo-revolution. These are the same people who are claiming today, that they have been the sole ‘apostles’ championing the course of our security services since the days of the legendary Don Diego d’Azambuja.
Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei
E-mail: justnoff@yahoo. com