Gov't Has Withdrawn Bagbin's Military Protection; So What? - Kwesi Pratt Fumes

Seasoned journalist, Kwesi Pratt has expressed resentments over the ongoing debate regarding the withdrawal of the Military protection for Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin.

He has also slammed government for bending over backwards to accommodate the Speaker’s request for military personnel in the first place, when the said appeal was improper and not backed by law.

Four soldiers guarding the Speaker, according to a letter signed by Chief of Staff, Major General Nicholas Peter Andoh, have been recalled to base.

The letter read they were "attached to the Office of the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament without the proper procedure."

“It is humbly requested that the personnel are withdrawn with effect from 14 January 2022 while efforts are made to regularise their attachment,” it further said.

This has raised eyebrows as the Majority and Minority argue to either justify or condemn the action.

With the Minority, the government's action is politically motivated but the Majority share varied opinion.

Minority argument

''The Minority in Parliament is saddened and strongly denounce the withdrawal by President Akufo-Addo’s government of the military detail attached to the office of the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Alban Bagbin with effect from the 14th January, 2022....

If the action of the military high command is in good faith, the irregularity in relation to the attachment could be rectified without necessarily having to withdraw the personnel...the minority is certain that the action of the military high command relative to the withdrawal of Mr Speaker’s security detail is politically motivated and calculated to diminish his confidence in his bid to impartially and independently steer the affairs of the legislative arm of government.''

Majority Statement

“The statement from the Speaker's office emphasises that the withdrawal of the military personnel is an attempt to gag Mr. Bagbin. It is difficult to comprehend the meaning of this. Speakers are supposed to be neutral umpires or referees in Parliament. They are supposed to listen to Members in silence and not participate in debates.

“They make rulings when called upon to do so by Members. The rulings must conform to the Rules of Procedure of the House otherwise referred to as Standing Orders. In that regard the Speakers lose their persona whilst presiding. Therefore, what voice does the Speaker have that is being muted or gagged?” 

Pratt's Take

Sharing his thoughts, the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper who felt the issue is of trivial essence and would prefer it doesn't dominate discussions, decried the tendency by government to acquiescence to certain individuals privileges just to curry favour with them.

He also cautioned that giving premium to the withdrawal of the soldiers is ''like we are insulting the Police''.

''What at all can a soldier bodyguard do that the Police cannot do? Is it the notion that Police don't play number (to wit don't perform professionally)? Is that the reason for going in for the soldiers?'', he questioned, stressing ''this is not good. What's happening isn't good. We have to repose confidence in the Police that they can work effectively and so equip them with the requisite resources to work''.

He called for absolute respect to be given to the Police as the removal of the soldiers doesn't mean the Speaker is exposed to danger because he already has Police protection.

''Let's respect the Police!'', he shouted.

He made these comments on Peace FM's ''Kokrokoo'' with Nana Yaw Kesseh as the host of the programme.