The folly of Ghana’s National Security outfit will soon unfold with a string of film producers, many with little hope of making any serious waves with their releases, picking controversial titles in the hope of milking this new wave of fear and panic seizures and arrests.
The names of movies we are likely to expect may range from ‘Atta and the Magic Ring” to ‘Stop that Yutong Bus Driver!”
Our National security organisation, like all others across the world, was set up to coordinate the activities of the various security agencies to assure the nation at all times of its security. Among others, it oversees all aspects of a country’s security and ensures citizens of the country are protected from any threats to their safety, be it foreign or domestic.
However, just as President Mills and the NDC government, the National Security setup has lost focus and direction in carrying out its core functions. The Presidency has a National Security Adviser whose needless regular comments on radio may be mistaken as views from the ill-informed man on the Kaneshie tro-tro.
A press release by the National Security Agency dated March 24th, 2009 stated the duties of the Agency as,” focused on ensuring the well-being and safety of every individual currently inhabited in Ghana, particularly those who conduct themselves in accordance of the law”.
But what do we find the National Security doing: protecting the safety of Ghanaians by the foot soldier-styled seizures of video CDs of a low budget movie bearing the title “Atta the Mortuary Man”. Is this how petty, intolerant and ready-to-please that democratic Ghana’s national security has been reduced to? And, are we really been led by a law professor? It would have been reduced to a mere exuberance of an eager-to-please national security agent had we all not heard the Presidential Aide in charge of Operations, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye and Deputy Minister of Information, Baba Jamal, both jumping to the defence of the security agents who undertook the unlawful action of confiscating a film that had been approved by the body mandated by law to so do.
Many were the onlookers that fateful Sunday afternoon who, perhaps, thought the number of security operatives hauled to the offices of Kofi Asamoah, the film’s director, was to conduct a major security operation which would result in the prevention of an unlawful act.
To their surprise, here were National Security operatives busily carting away 13,000 copies of “Atta the Mortuary Man” a low budget movie exploiting a comical depiction of a man by former President Rawlings that some thought was a satirical attack on the President. Indeed, in telling the story of his long time friend, Atta the Mortuary Man, to NDC delegates in Tamale in early 2010, Mr Rawlings said that Atta, wrapped in white sheet had some soldiers mistaking him for a ghost and started running away from him. Not knowing from whom the soldiers were running, Atta also began to ran behind them and on and on the ghost chase went. The sad highhandedness of soldiers, National Security agents and police officers, inspired b y misplaced fear and panic, is precisely what the former President mocked: chasing ghosts and shadows.
They would have wondered what security threat this movie posed to the security and stability of the State and Ghanaians alike. What can be more humiliating to the President than the widespread incompetence, confusion and indecision that mark his attempts at leadership. What can be more humiliating than a man who promised to care for all and has recklessly seen more and more Ghanaians becoming poorer and poorer.
Instead of finding ways to arrest the scourge in the growing number of violent highway robberies in the country, operatives of the National Security are busily parading the streets of Accra chasing after missing dogs, seizing video cds, items they see as a threat to the security of the ordinary Ghanaian.
In 2009, Ghanaians were all witnesses to the Hollywood-styled seizure of cars in the streets of Accra, repossessing office buildings, monitoring the arrival of opposition flagbearers at airports, submitting a clean bill report upon investigating expensive ‘chinchinga’ and pampers purchases, issuing disturbing press releases and invading and occupying traditional palaces.
Probably, the occupants of the cars they seized unceremoniously were suspected suicide bombers just as the said office buildings was probably the headquarters of a crime syndicate. Maybe, just maybe, the Gbese Mantse was hiding Al-Qaeda operatives in his palace. Who knows? After all, the National Security Agency’s activities are to safeguard the safety of Ghanaians.
The growing level of intolerance being vividly displayed by the Mills administration is a testament to how the NDC was formed, on the back of a military dictatorship which will nip in the bud anything it deems sensitive and offensive to government.
Gradually the level of freedom Ghanaians enjoyed under the era of the New Patriotic Party is being eroded under the “Asomdwehene”. President Mills and the operatives of National Security are behaving as though Ghana was under military dictatorship.
Ghanaians have began to witness, under the NDC, the return of ‘compulsory’ invitations by security agents, arrest of drivers associated with former MP’s under trumped up charges, issuance of prejudiced press releases towards former presidents, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if once again, former presidents are lined up and shot all in the name of security.
In 2009, when President Obama visited Ghana and addressed parliament, he was quick to state that “Repression takes many forms, and too many nations are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty”.
We pray the Ghanaian is not fast-tracked on the road to poverty by this increasingly intolerant and repressive NDC regime.