“As A Nation, We Need To Depoliticize Our Security Agencies” - Rt. Rev. S. K. Osabutey (Videos+Pics)
The Methodist Bishop of the Accra Diocese of the Methodist Church, Ghana, and the Chairman of the Greater Accra Regional Peace Council, Rt. Rev. Samuel K. Osabutey is calling on the government to ensure the various security agencies in the country are depoliticized.
According to him, depoliticization of the various security agencies will give the citizenry enough confidence in whoever is put in charge of their safety at the local level, the regional level, and also the national level.
Speaking exclusively to Thinknewsonline.com on countering post-2020 election violence & building consensus for greater political tolerance in Ghana, the Diocesan Methodist Bishop for Accra said "One of the challenges that we face as a nation is the politicization of our security services and this came out very, clearly because those of them on the ground know some of the security personnel and so when they speak, they speak with authority and confidence that they know the allegiances of some of the security personnel. As a nation, we need to depoliticize our security agencies, and here, I mean all the security agencies. We need to politicize them and make sure that the citizenry are confident about whoever put in charge of the security at the local level, the regional level, and also the national level"
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He also added "Once that is that we have just done on security issues that there can never be national security without local security, there can never be national security without local security because a lot of promise would become national emanate from these various localities, and so we need to really depoliticize this"
Rt. Rev. Samuel K. Osabutey further challenged the leadership of the various securities agencies to be truthful, transparent, and fair when recruiting new people.
"How do we recruit people into the Armed Forces? How do we recruit people into the Police Service? How do recruit people into the Immigration Service? How do we get people into the Fire Service and all the other allied security agencies is something that as a country we need to sit down and look at because it is also what was also identified as a source of challenge in these areas in such a way that sometimes when political crimes are being committed, the incumbent government that has its people on the ground are not unable to deal with infractions that are caused by their own perceived party members"
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Touching on adequate resources for the various security agencies, he said "I think that our security agencies it's not a question about resourcing. I think about the willingness to enforce the law because in very recent times you all have been witnesses to see the effort that governments upon governments, at least every government in living reality in the last 10 years have tried the best to, increase the logistics that the police need but the issue is about the willingness to enforce the law"
The Methodist Bishop of the Accra Diocese, however, lambasted the various security agencies over some lackadaisical attitudes stressing that they should not alone act swiftly when it involves their own but also non-security-personnel.
"Anytime there's a crime and it got to do with one of their own, they quickly move in but sometimes when it involves non-security persons, they give the excuse that they are not able to fish out the perpetrators. This to me is a dilemma because you have the resources, and you are able to fish out when a crime is committed against the police"
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The Chairman of the Peace Council further admitted that although Ghana has not reached the United Nation's requirement of police to man ratio, he believes that the reinforcement of community police can help solve some of the issues in the country.
"It is true the police to man ratio in terms of the United Nations requirement, we have not yet gotten there but at least with the little that we have, I think that one of the things we need to do as a country is to begin to reinforce what we call community police, where people in the community can be trained by the security personnel to assume security responsibilities and the first work of security is not to arrest, but rather to prevent a crime"
Speaking on the need to nurture kids with decent languages, he said "Every community has a way it brings up its people, the cultures also differ and one of the challenges that were the major part of the discussion, was the upbringing and nurturing of children, with civil language. Unfortunately, is not the best, It's not only for the Ododdiodio Constituency but in every community, we need to take the nurturing of our children very seriously because a nation is built and committed not just on community, but on families and all of us from the list to the highest person in the country comes from a family, and we are losing that family value because in the past, whenever something happens in the community, they ask which house do you come from. Today, we are losing that and we are rather asking institutions to handle those things instead of handling them at the community level"
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Rt. Rev. Samuel K. Osabutey also mentioned that if the use of abusive words is not dealt with, it will continue to have a negative effect on the citizenry and country. "The chief is an embodiment of it because everybody is able to take that so we need to get back to the cultural roots to find out how we are bringing up our children, the use of language and unfortunately, this is finding itself into the highest, highest places of our political discourse, where you see the younger persons in the society insulting Ministers, where did they learn it from? So there's a work we have to do, as you know, in nurturing our families"
Rt. Rev. Osabutey hinted that the workshop organized by the National Peace Council will help the various political parties to know where they went wrong, correct their mistakes, and prepare them for much peaceful, free, and fair elections.
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"As we are speaking now, we are within the Odododiodio Constituency where we have brought together artists, NCCE and Regional Peace Council, and also the leadership of the various political parties to dialogue on how we can reduce tensions and post-election conflicts. The issues that have come up in numerous. But these can be summed up as one they have identified that part of the issues that need to be dealt with is the issue of unemployment and unemployment in the sense that many of the young people become prey to political leaders, especially during the political season and so they use them for all sorts of violence" he averred.
He also revealed that lack of mistrust contributes to election violence.
"Second is what we call adequate education, but adequate education. Many of them are not taking advantage of the educational system that right to be able to become literate enough to be able to discern what political leaders will be telling them and so they become vulnerable and everybody comes and says, we have also raised an issue of mistrust amongst themselves, mistrust amongst the various political parties who try to do our duty. And this mistrust arises as a result of this information. For example, an example was given that when there are elections and the results are being announced, each of their parties tries to claim that they are winning and so when they are doing that, it begins to create a lot of problems for the others. Instead of waiting for the electoral commission to announce the results, then it backs off a lot of violence within the group is another issue that was also raised, which is very, very, very critical, is the mistrust of the security system in the sense that they think that at any time that a crime is committed, like, let's say, politically related crimes, the incumbent is unable to deal with the issue, especially if it has to do with some people who are perceived to be their own members, and then the cycle is repeated, when another political party also goes, they tend to become, you know, the governing team for the country, and these inconsistencies had made it difficult for political-related crimes to be dealt with and dealt with"
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In a session moderated by the Deputy Director, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the National Peace Council, Nana Kojo Impraim, it emerged that for politicians to win the votes of electorates in the Odododiodio Constituency, some had no option than to bail persons who had been arrested for deviant behaviors.
Thinknewsonline.com also gathered that persons purported to be political party vigilantes were non-card-bearing members of both, NDC and NPP.
They further explained that persons who misbehave, cause violence, or deal with others during and after elections do that out of the love they have for their various.
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Both leaders from the NPP and NDC noted that due to mistrust on the part of party sympathizers, it is difficult for them to even have dialogues among themselves adding that they are not enemies but one family.
The media has however not spared as they were also blamed for some of the violence which occurs in some constituencies.
It also emerged that there is a trust deficit between the NPP, NDC, Electoral Commission, and Police adding that there is also dishonesty on the party of the political leaders.
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"When you drive around, you see lots of problems but the political parties are happy because they will make politics out of it in 2024. So they are happy seeing the problems" Nana Kojo Impraim highlighted.
On her part, the Greater Accra Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education, Lucille Hewlett Annan said "Let us allow the laws to deal with those who commit crimes and not go and bail them"
She expressed disappointment in some political actors stressing that bailing criminals or offenders will help in developing a community or a nation.
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"Truth is very important in everything we do. It must reflect in all aspects. It's like installing the Ga Mantse, as you sit here, you know who is heir to the throne and for the sake of peace, we must not play around with truth"
She also appealed to the political leaders of both NPP and NDC in the Odododiodio Constituency set an exemplary standard ahead of the 2024 elections.
Madam Hewlett Annan says she is confident that with a change in attitude and behavior, Ghana's elections moving forward will be free and fair.
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Board Member of the National Peace Council, Numo Blafo Akotia Omaetu III said "What can we do as a community? We have a school which will benefit our kids. We should not wait for the political actors to come and build it for us. What can we do to attract the attention of the Government to realize the educational needs of the children in the constituency is important. Just imagine where these kids attend school. It's very bad"
He further charged the political actors in the constituency to constantly do follow-ups on their own solutions adding it will not only help shape their political ambitions but the community and constituents.
"If we just give out solutions and we don't follow up on them, it will yield no results. Political Vigilantism is real. No one can tell me, there is no such thing in existence"
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He appealed to the constituencies to walk the talk for a better Odododiodio Constituency.
The political party representatives outlined some solutions which they believe will help curb election violence among other social vices.
Below are some videos:
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith