Changes at National Security Set-up; Why not at the Ministries too?

Wed, 30 Apr 2014 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

My good friends, the news is that National Security Coordinator, Colonel Larry Gbevlo-Lartey (retired), has been removed from office by President Mahama and replaced with Yaw Donkor, former Director of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), effective May 12, 2014.

A statement signed by Information and Media Relations Minister, Mahama Ayariga said Col. Gbevlo-Lartey is to be re-assigned to a yet-to-be named designation.

It said President Mahama commended the out-going Security Coordinator for his "loyalty and dedicated service to the state".

(Source: http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2014/april-29th/gbevlo-lartey-removed-as-national-security-coordinator.php)


There is one particular aspect of the changes made by President Mahama that won't go down well with those who know what the pecking order is at the BNI. The appointment of Pious Awelinga as acting director of the BNI has already begun raising storm and creating a bad atmosphere.

My information is that Awelinga is lower on the pecking order than the two Deputies over whom he has been uplifted. There is talk that President Mahama is playing the ethnic card in this case, which won't bode well for the institution and the President's own image.

I don't know what credentials Awelinga has that the two Deputy Directors lack. In any case, if he is as is being said, then, President Mahama stands to lose out. The BNI is not the kind of institution with which to do "tribal" things. It is too sensitive an institution for such games.

If what I have been told is true, then, President Mahama needs to reappraise his move and do the right thing to ensure a congenial atmosphere at the BNI.

Now, to other issues.

Col. Gbevlo-Lartey has played his part as a dedicated and patriotic citizen and should be commended as such. Rising through the ranks to head the Forces Reserve Battalion (64 Infantry Brigade) under Rawlings only to be victimized by Kufuor and disposed of like a piece of trash on trumped-up allegations of orchestrating a coup d’état didn't take anything out of his accomplishments; hence, his reinstatement by the late President Mills and confirmation by President Mahama until now.

Of course, under his tenure, much happened to create the impression that his office was abusing the authority/power vested in it (I have in mind the demolition of the toll booths constructed by the University of Ghana and its consequences) and many others.

He did have firm grips on the security situation and weathered the storm generated by the so-called "excesses", especially the stentorian calls by the NPP functionaries for his outright removal from office. The dust has now settled and we know that come May 12, he will no more head the National Security Secretariat.

It doesn't mean that he is a spent horse and will be discarded. He will still be on board because he still has a lot to offer Ghana in ensuring national security and stability. Those who may be celebrating his removal may be doing so because they really don't know the stuff of which he is made. Those of us who know him will continue to admire him for all that he is!!

His replacement (Yaw Donkor) is a capable hand too; and I trust that he will use his expertise to ensure national security and stability. Political opponents who will be quick to associate him with happenings at the BNI (especially involving the arrest and interrogation/prosecution of certain personalities) may grumble that he is carrying a baggage along to the national security apparatus; but they can't do anything to demoralize him. He knows his job and will do it without blemish.

Putting everything together, then, I see the changes as consequential and wish that President Mahama will turn attention to other sectors and reshuffle his team.

How long hasn't it been since he began appraising his appointees at the Ministries? What has become of that assignment? Or is he not aware of the problems that most of those appointees cannot solve where they are?

If he can as well turn the situation around to inject some dynamism into his team, he should be seeing better performance than the mediocre one that is fast tarnishing his government's image and making it come across as incompetent and, therefore, not readying itself for a second term.

The country's under-development problems are still terrifying the citizens as their living conditions worsen. Can President Mahama not act expeditiously to reshuffle his team?

The kind of piecemeal changes that he is making won't solve any problem. He must stop cherry picking and act decisively to galvanize his team and the citizens to take action toward solving national problems.

When will President Mahama remove the deadwood hampering his own efforts at solving national problems? Obviously, 2016 is not far off.

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.