Redefining National Security

There need not be fears about Election Day violence resulting from security mismanagement nor peace marches ahead of the December 7 polls. Five decades into our post-independence political history, elections should have, by now, been devoid of the reign of thugs and political mischief orchestrated and engineered in the corridors of power. It is despicable that we still fret when elections are around the corner, yet little or nothing has been done to eliminate this polls� time monster through appropriate policy. In the absence of such a policy, people will continue to wonder whether the country can come out of elections unscathed. We are light years from other countries where elections do not evoke fears but business as usual, with the President not having to go and re-commission vehicles for the Police or organizing durbars for troops. We are nowhere near a situation where there is no selective application of the law: Anthony Karbo is worth investigating but Yaw Boateng Gyan is not. With an efficient national security policy, the security services, especially the Police, would not be coerced into acting otherwise when there are cases to be dealt with. It was refreshing and relieving therefore that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo�s policy statement on the security services covered all such sore areas as in the preceding paragraphs. An efficient and appropriate national security policy would relegate to the background that phobia for elections, an exercise which, all things being equal, should not attract apprehension. The place of national security in protecting the citizenry in all spheres of national life cannot be over-emphasised. It is our position that a policy which would redefine the place of national security and ensure that this critical segment of state is depoliticized is achieved in our body-politic. This is the only way by which our police system, the military and other security agencies would be allowed the freedom to operate without the fear of being tagged party A or B. The mere mention of national security evokes a fear of possible assault by persons aligned to the ruling party who were drafted into the national security apparatus, with a view to protecting largely the interests of the party in power as opposed to the state�s. We recall with apprehension the recent exposition of the Yaw Boateng Gyan tape in which the National Organiser of the ruling party mentioned how ID cards of the national security apparatus were going to be issued to thugs to disturb the electoral process on December 7. Although the National Security Coordinator said he found nothing treasonable or law-breaching in the recording, which the National Organiser of the party admitted to being responsible for, the impression about the security coordination machinery took another dip, as did the Police. Ghana, without doubt, needs a total overhaul of what national security stands for. Many do not even know that the beyond-reach food prices and the uncontrollable influx of aliens from neighbouring countries including the inundation of retail trade by Chinese are national security challenges. By his address in Koforidua yesterday and as captured elsewhere in this issue, Nana Akufo Addo has blazed another trail whose application will change the monster-face and bias of security management in the country.