National Security Minister-designate Albert Kan-Dapaah has said “anywhere you have seen soldiers having to protect a particular individual, it is because, in our assessment and assessment of security experts, there is the need for such support to be given to that particular person.”
At his vetting by Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Wednesday, 10 February 2021, Mr Kan-Dapaah said such a decision is “normally taken by the security agencies”.
For instance, he illustrated, “when we have a report that a particular individual has a problem and people are after his life, and we think there is a danger, we come in to provide support.”
“I do know of a journalist that we continue to provide security cover and security support to,” he revealed.
In his view, the Ghana Police Service does not have the resources available to the armed forces, to carry out such duties, thus, the resort to the military.
“Clearly, the Ghana Police Service and the other security agencies, in terms of equipment, in terms of men; they have never had the full complement of what it takes to provide the most effective policing.”
Just recently, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said it was “despicable” that soldiers have been reduced to ‘bag carriers’ of public officials and called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to end that practice forthwith.
“We find it very despicable that men and women in uniform, particularly in the Ghana Armed Forces, will now be reduced to holding bags of key public officials”, Mr Iddrisu told the media on Tuesday, 9 February 2021.
“We want him [President Akufo-Addo] to restore the dignity and honour of the Ghana Armed Forces”.
“We are with him in maintaining law and order at all sides but it is becoming a side nuisance”, he asserted.
“That is not right, so, we are urging him as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, we are calling for necessary reforms of the Ghana Police Service to strengthen them.”
A few days ago, investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni said for allowing the Ghana Armed Forces to use armed soldiers as bodyguards for Electoral Commission Chair Jean Mensa, President Nana Akufo-Addo has, effectively, demeaned the military.
Mrs Mensa’s office, home and personal security have seen up-scaling on several occasions, leading to social media commentary about the necessity for it.
In her defence, the President’s cousin, Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko wrote on social media: “This woman, the returning officer for the presidential election, has had her life threatened multiple times from all manner of corners, her character insulted, her integrity denigrated and the threats to her life heightened to the highest dangerous point that any public servant should endure, for the security services to consider it appropriate to offer her the highest form of protection they could”.
“Her security at home, office and around her 24-7, is made up of a combination of soldiers and police”, he noted.
“I am not sure she enjoys the security attention”, the President’s cousin said, adding: “But she understands she has to endure it”.
“And, some of us have a problem with that?” he asked.
In Mr Azure Awuni’s opinion, however, the military need not have come into the picture.
He wrote on social media: “The Ghana Police Service can fight armed robbers and terrorists but someone thinks our police cannot provide security for the Electoral Commission Chairperson. So, you find armed soldiers following her to court”.
“How will the armies of civilised countries look at our army?” he wondered.
“By allowing this to happen”, Mr Awuni noted, “the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is not only undermining the police, but he’s also reducing the Ghana Armed Forces to a laughing stock”.
Soldiers, he insisted, “should not be reduced to errand boys for private, party-affiliated lawyers and protectors of illegal mining sites inhabited by Chinese”.
“This is shameful and it must stop”, he asserted.