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Opinions Fri, 7 Oct 2016

A lawless IGP?

The notion that this country is descending into what seems to be irrecoverable state, is not in doubt; leadership has lost focus and direction can be seen even when there is dumsor.

And that the future of this beautiful nation is predictably gloomy under the blinded leadership today is incontrovertible, and that indiscipline and open violations of the laws of this country, situations which can only be seen in failed states and war ravaged countries, have taken over the nation is also known to all.

The hope of most of us in this country is that, as long as we have functioning, or so it seems, security agencies in the country, we shall overcome one day, the challenges notwithstanding.

Inspector General of Police of one era to the other have pledged to shape the Ghana Police Service in a manner that the Service itself will see more discipline among the personnel, weed out rogues and outright criminals who, courtesy political machinations, have found themselves in the Service and restore the dignity and integrity of the Service.

Truth be told, the moral of the personnel of the Service at any given point in time is also dependent on the commitment of any government to the Service. There are governments that ensure that the basic needs of the Service are met in reasonable measure to ensure some efficiency.

In some cases, even uniforms and shoes for the personnel become a problem. When such situations occur, the morals of the personnel are lowered and the citizenry with penchant to act lawlessly, have a field day.

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Ghana today is confronted with lawlessness in the road and transport sector such that the number of people who lose their lives on a daily basis in this country far exceeds the deadly and fearful HIV Aids and other diseases on the continent of Africa.

It is very well known that there are bodies in this country very much concerned about road safety and other regulations and rules governing the road transport sector. They play advocacy roles to ensure safe driving and observance of road traffic regulations.

One major area of the Ghana Police Service to help deal with road accidents is the regular checks of Drivers' License on the road, defective vehicles and related matters all in the overall safety of both the motoring and travelling public. These are codified in laws of the country and enforced by the Motor Traffic Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service.

The laws were passed by various Parliaments and Governments of the Republic of Ghana for the Service to enforce. It is strange that the Inspector General of Police of the Ghana Police Service can unilaterally set aside the laws of this country for whatever reasons in the performance of his duties. There is nowhere in the Fourth Republican Constitution of 1992 that empowers the Inspector General of Police to temporary set aside the laws of this country at will for whatever reason and occasion.

If it becomes necessary for any law or laws in this country to be temporary set aside for the safety and security of this country, it behooves the President of the country to declare a State of Emergency with Parliamentary approval for such 'suspension' of laws, no matter how temporary they might be. It does not lie in the bosom of the IGP from a bad dream to suspend the laws of this country.

I am very surprised at the penchant of the current IGP to take the law into his own hands at any time to decide which freedoms or otherwise Ghanaians must or must not enjoy.

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The last time, he was going to shut down the social media because of the coming general elections. Today he is giving free rein to lawless citizens to ply their trade, cause havoc and mayhem on our streets for what reason?

Crimes are being committed on a daily basis by people driving unlicensed motorbikes, snatching bags, hitting and killing people; occupants of such bikes predominantly do not use helmets as enjoined by law and have no regard for traffic regulations. They jump red lights with glee and licensed impunity in the full glare of police personnel who themselves do not have motorbikes to pursue such lawbreakers and bring them to book to serve as a deterrent to others.

Today, the IGP is further encouraging these hoodlums in our midst by offering them a blank cheque to ply their trade as if laws do not exist in this country. Which legal regime empowers the IGP to set aside the laws of this country for unstated reasons?

So far the only reason that has been assigned by the IGP is that the Service is going to focus more on checking arms and ammunitions in this election season. Is the IGP telling us that unless an activity or a section of legitimate work of the Service is drowned, other equally legitimate activities cannot be done? I can't think far.

Has the IGP averted his mind to the crimes that his open license to motorist can engender and create more insecurity, worsen the arms and ammunitions headache? The responsibility of the IGP, 'subject to the provisions of this article and to the control and direction of the Police Council' does not include the willful suspension of the laws of this country. The IGP is being lawless and should not be allowed to have his way.

If his policy is to allow some criminals to use unlicensed motorbikes and vehicles to intimidate political opponents of the ruling NDC government, then he the IGP has a lot of work to do. The other political parties are not going to sit down for any group of people under whichever guise to treat the rest of us as second class citizens of this country.

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Those preaching peace must be told that there can never ever be peace when there is blatant unfairness and injustice in the society. Ghanaians are capable of doing what others have done to instill sense in the minds of those who think wielding power in whatever form means using those powers to suppress the legitimate will of the people. A word to the IGP ensures safety and security.

Mr. IGP, your personnel at the lower rungs of the Service ladder are not happy with you and some of your policies. That is, your decision to recruit graduates into the Service as freshers while some of your personnel with first degrees and had served for up to 15 years and more are still at the levels of Corporals and Sergeants.

I heard your Public Relations outfit asking these men and women who have upgraded themselves in the cause of their careers can only be admitted to the degree status when they resign and reapply with their new qualifications.

I find this policy a strange and abnormal one which has the tendency to demoralize staff and create despondency in this all important security service. And indeed there are thousands who are so dispirited, disappointed, disenchanted, demoralized, desolate, depressed, despondent and hopeless and helpless.

In every civilized and serious institution, staff are encouraged to upgrade themselves either on individual basis or as institutional and corporate imperative.

In modern institutional human resource management, when there are vacancies within an organization, such vacancies are first advertised internally for staff with such qualifications to apply. It is only when no one fits into the position, that the organization looks externally.

Is there anything wrong for personnel who entered the Service with a WASSCE background but over time have studied to obtain a BA degree after years of service to be upgraded when the vacancies avail themselves?

The IGP is recruiting first degree holders who begin from the rank of Chief Inspector to give instructions to other personnel with same or higher qualifications now, but entered with lower qualifications and are junior officers but with 15 years of experience in the Service.

How does the IGP expect efficient and committed attitudes towards work from his personnel who are in my opinion, being treated unfairly?

If despondency grows within the Ghana Police Service, this country is doomed further and if that should happen under the current IGP, then I wish him well.

Daavi give me three tots.

Columnist: Daily Guide