Parliamentary Candidate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Wa West Constituency, Supt Peter Toobu (Rtd)

During the regime of one of the finest Police Chiefs in Ghana, I witnessed how he handled protocol recruitments into the Service. On one occasion he received 9 names ‘from above’ for consideration. The names were immediately forwarded to the Human Resource Section and within 48 hours the candidates were invited and taken through the mill.

Four of them were found fit for purpose and were therefore recruited. The source of the list was notified of the results and the rest had to try their luck elsewhere. This is what we knew as protocol recruitment at the time. That one must first qualify in principle to enjoy the undue advantage over other qualified applicants or competitors.

At the time also, there was an unwritten convention within the Service that protocol recruitment should never exceed 10% of the number earmarked for enlistment in a particular year. Apparently it was believed that ten protocol recruits, out of every one hundred general total, who are qualified and found to be fit for purpose was somewhat tolorable, althought not best practice.

Unfortunately the system has deteriorated over the years to the point where;

  1. Candidates outside the “qualified bracket” are recruited, thus crowding out the most qualified and most suitable candidates.
  2. Some institutions can even recruit with 90% protocol. You may only see the advert for vacancies which is just to deceive the public as vacancies are already filled behind the scene with candidates that no serious organisation would want to engage. This is definitely not the way to build institutions.

This is the unfortunate practice by various administrations over the years that has led to the incredible politicisation and consequential weakening of many if not all state institutions in Ghana. The weak institutions we have to make do with today have their roots in the past two decades or so. Any serious and dispassionate trend analysis would most probably reveal that the future is indeed a sad spectacle as things appear to be getting out of hand.

Worryingly, the Security Sector is bearing the brunt of this anti-developmental and counterproductive practice. Let’s remember that we cannot have development without security. Therefore treating the Security Services like a damping ground is, to put it most charitably, an unwise practice; it is an unhealthy development.

The Human Resource Management incompetence, ineffectiveness and inefficiencies in this country are self-inflicted and have gotten to bizzare proportions where the certificate required to qualify for a job is one’s political party card and not skills set and academic or professional qualification.

It’s no longer even about who you know, but who knows you. It’s therefore not for nothing that even Junior High School graduates have become so partisan as they’ve seen that meritocracy is un-Ghanaian and party affiliation guarantees a better security than academic laurels.
We cannot continue on this trajectory as a nation. Let’s be honest to consider some reforms.