Jun 28, 2012 at 11:06am
Need For Security Agencies To Be Proactive
COMMENTARY ON THE NEED FOR THE POLICE AND OTHER SECURITY AGENCIES TO BE PROACTIVE IN INTELLIGENCE GATHERING IN ORDER TO PREVENT CONFLICTS AS WE APPROACH ELECTION 2012
Two weeks ago, the busy and bustling Hohoe Municipality in the Volta Region made national and international headlines for a reason not many towns would want to be in the limelight for.
The unfortunate clashes between the Muslim Community and the indigenes of the area have left in its wake loss of lives, destruction of property and the stalling of business activities in this town of the Volta Region.
As a nation gearing for a keen election, violent conflicts such as the one witnessed in Hohoe do not portend well for our desire to consolidate the democratic gains we have made since returning to multi-party democracy exactly two decades ago.
What is even worrying is that the Hohoe incident was not an isolated case.
It began in the Northern Region, climbed to the Upper West Region where there was an assassination attempt on the Chief of Wa, moved across to the Upper East Region before descending to the Central Region.
For now, the Hohoe conflict was only the climax of a slide show of events that claimed at least fourteen lives and led to irreparable destruction of property worth many thousands, or perhaps, millions of Ghana Cedis.
When Vice President John Dramani Mahama visited Hohoe to assess the extent of damage and also help calm flaring tempers, he hinted the setting up of a committee to investigate the unfortunate incident.
But before another committee comes up with a report that may not be acted on, the Paramount Chief of the Gbi Traditional Council, whose house was not spared vandalisation in the Hohoe clashes, is reported to have blamed the police for not acting on earlier intelligence given to them to prevent the violence that rocked the municipality.
Without a comprehensive analysis and independent enquiry into the clashes, it may not be appropriate to place the blame on the police.
But anyone who is well abreast of how the Hohoe incident started and how it reached its tragic peak, will definitely expect the police to have stepped in earlier before things got out of hand.
The build-up to the clashes took almost a week of rising tensions and the failure of the security agencies to foil it, is worrying especially when we have a history of such failures and their deadly consequences to guide us.
Today, the murder of the Ya-Na and the Dagbon crisis is still an albatross that haunts us because of what many blame on the inaction of the security agencies at the time.
It is for this reason that the police, BNI and National Security must be up and doing as we approach election 2012.
The Institute of Economic Affairs, a leading public policy think tank, recently organised workshop for all security agencies to assess their role in ensuring peace and order in the upcoming election.
In that workshop, it emerged that the clashes in the 2008 and other subsequent election related violence could have been prevented if the security agencies were proactive enough.
A security expert and former director of the BNI, Mr Kofi Bentum Quantson, said what actually contributed to the calamity that nearly befell the nation in 2008 was the failure of the security enforcement mechanisms.
He noted that conflicts and violence have what he termed as “a gestation period”.
According to him, the security agencies must develop capacity and monitor trends in order to forestall unwanted occurrences if we are to score another clean sheet in the 2012 elections.
While we cannot entirely blame the security agencies for the violence we have experienced so far and may encounter as we head for the crucial elections, we can call on them to be more proactive.
We cannot wish away the miscreants and those who are bent on rewinding the tape of progress by destabilising the country's most cherished national asset, which is peace.
Such individuals are pervasive, and like birds, we cannot stop them from flying over us.
We can however stop them from making nests on our heads.
In the era of the internet, criminals and those responsible for nefarious activities that threaten peace, have become more sophisticated in their activities.
They have become like the proverbial birds that fly without perching, and our security forces must learn to be proactive in shooting without missing if we are to cripple activities of such individuals in the 2012 elections.
BY: MANASSEH AZURE AWUNI, A JOURNALI