The Head of Research at the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Training Centre, Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning says there is a dangerous increasing sense of insecurity in the country.

That, he said was because “there is a systemic failure somewhere and that systemic failure is beginning to be so widespread that people just don’t respect the law anymore because the security system has broken down basically”.

He said Ghana’s security system was “not responsive, not preventive enough and is basically an archaic institution”.

Dr Aning, who was speaking on the increasing reports of violent confrontations and in some cases murder, (two die in Amasaman), (47 arrested over murder of chief), told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Wednesday, hosted by Evans Mensah, that the moribund nature of the security services was leading to the lowering of the threshold of tolerance regarding criminality, violence, access to guns “so that in our [subconscious mind] now, if I own a piece of land it is legitimate to actually hire land guards to protect that land for me”.

“Because those who are at the front-lines are badly trained, the recruitment is poor, is looked at through the political lens, their ability even to analyse and then suggest responses is also looked at through the political lens and because there is an ulterior motive in securitising problems in Ghana that does not look at these problems through the Ghana lens, the response mechanisms are always very narrow, focused on attaining particular narrow needs and is not put in a more holistic response strategy,” he said.

“This narrowness and this parochial approach at understanding security and responding to the challenges that arise,” he argued, “is what is leading to the breakdown” and lack of confidence in the state’s ability to adequately protect the citizenry.

He expressed concern that the cost of protecting investments had unnecessarily increased – constituting about the third or fourth highest component of investing in Ghana – because businesses had to make special provisions to protect their investments – something the state security is failing to do.

He said that “the ability and capability of our security system to prevent, to gather [intelligence] data, to analyse it and present suggestions for response is almost non-existent”.

The security expert observed quite curiously that while the country’s police service had a numerical strength of about 37,000 in 1991, that number had dwindled to about 19,000 in 2010, juxtaposed with increasing population.

What is even worse, this reduction in the number of police personnel also came with a sustained debilitating reduction in budgetary allocation to the police, he said, and wondered why a depleted police service – in men and money and possibly morale – could be expected to properly police the nation’s security.

He said he was willing to bear the consequences of his outspokenness on the issues because action needed to be taken by the authorities to reverse the trend. “Next time I’m travelling through Accra, NACOB [Narcotics Control Board] will search me, Immigration and Customs [Excise and Preventive Service] will search me, and they will do it very rudely because of what I’m saying but that is their problem, not mine. The system just does not work.”

Dr Aning stressed the need for the authorities to pursue a paradigm shift in the manner in which the security services are treated, reminding the president that the buck stop with him, so he must make sure the police in particular are properly funded, resourced and trained so as to help them maintain the country’s peace and security.

The Executive Secretary of the West Africa Network for Peace (WANEP), Mr Emmanuel Bombande who was also a discussant on the subject agreed largely with Dr Aning.

He stressed the need for the security systems in the country to be restructured so they shed their colonial mentality.

“It has now become obvious that police can no longer maintain law and order based on the arrangement around which it was oriented and around which it was created,” he said.

Mr Bombande believes that about 90 per cent of conflicts in the country have political undertones and wants a rededication on the part of the political elite helping to keep the country peaceful.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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