National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislator, Sam Nartey George, has called for a new approach to how the two main political parties in Ghana reward security-inclined party foot soldiers without recruiting them into the National Security.
According to him, while many in his party and in the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) will not admit that there is a long-established trend where both NPP and NDC illegally recruit non-professionals into the National Security apparatus when they are in power, recent events compel him to speak the truth.
“I believe that, as political parties, we can find a way of engaging and rewarding our political foot soldiers who work in security for the party to bring the party to power. I would never say we should turn a blind eye to them. You reward the political actors, not at the National Security level. There are other ways to reward these security operatives but not in National Security. There are a lot of agencies of the state,” the Ningo-Prampram Member of Parliament said.
He made the bold declaration on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, on Citi TV’s Point of View on the back of a clarion call for far-reaching reforms in the structure and operation of the National Security Council Secretariat.
The National Security Council has been in the news over the past two weeks for brutalities meted out to a journalist and a retired police commissioner, a raid on the offices of Citi FM and other isolated activities that many say flout the law.
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On May 11, 2021, National Security operatives severely manhandled a journalist of Citi FM/ Citi TV, Caleb Kudah, for filming abandoned vehicles parked at the precincts of the National Security headquarters. They allegedly slapped, kicked and punched the journalist many times during interrogation.
The operatives, later that day, stormed the premises of Citi FM/ Citi TV with heavily armed operatives to arrest yet another journalist, Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo, who they suspect had collaborated with Caleb in the filming of the vehicles. The journalist said he surreptitiously filmed the vehicles in his bid to highlight the culture of neglecting state vehicles by government agencies.
Again on that same day, armed persons who say they were working on the orders of the Acting National Security Coordinator, attempted to forcibly remove the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator, DCOP Ayesu Opare-Addo (rtd), from office.
The armed civilians, some of whom were once part of the NPP-affiliated vigilante group, Delta Force, allegedly manhandled DCOP Opare-Addo (rtd) for refusing to leave the office. The retired police commission refused to leave the office on grounds that only President Nana Akufo-Addo can order his removal.
The Acting National Security Coordinator, Major-General Francis Adu Amanfo (rtd), later confirmed that he ordered the forceful removal of DCOP Opare-Addo (rtd) because his tenure as Ashanti Regional Coordinator had expired.
These incidents rekindled a public debate about the notoriety of the operatives of the National Security stretching as far back as at least two decades ago.
When he appeared on Citi TV’s Point of View, Sam George stated that the President would not need to look far if he is committed to reforming the institution because the Emile Short Commission report that probed the brutalities against civilians during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, again by the National Security operatives, exhaustively spells out a reliable framework for such a reform.
“I will not play the ostrich. All political parties, especially [in] this Fourth Republic, have people they call ‘Table Top’ National Security personnel who don’t qualify to be National Security personnel…when it is time to do raids, they equip them with AK47, their gun ethic zero, and at the end of the month, they go and meet an officer who counts money over the tables [to pay them]. It is stark truth and in this country when people begin to speak the stark truth you have the system fight them…but it is the reality,” he said.
Sam George, who himself was a victim of the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election fracas, has vowed to sustain the campaign in support of the public outcry for reforms at the National Security Council Secretariat.