Often times, I sit by my Tv and radio sets and listen to political pundits and analysts making their projections based on opinion polls and trends just to make conclusions about who will win the elections come 7th December. I laugh a little bit.
They would take constituency by constituencies and digest them into details but they always forget one constituency that has the potential to decide who wins election 2016 particularly the presidentials, and that is the Police and other security services constituency. For us, we don’t really care who wins parliamentary seat or not, but we are very much concerned about who wins the presidentials because we have political expectations that need to be fulfilled just like all Ghanaians despite being security officers.
Just imagine that as a presidential candidate you got to know through some of these “political prophets” that the police and other security services will vote against you and for that matter convince them with your message to win their votes. What will be your message to them? Just as it has always been in every election year, this time round too no specific message for us to vote on.
Very recently in America, during the electioneering campaigns, the biggest police union in America gave their support to Donald J. Trump because they believed in his message to him. The man eventually won the presidentials and would soon be sworn in as the 45th president of America. This should tell you that some specific messages should be directed to the members of the security services based on their needs because they matter a lot in every elections and not to be taken for granted as it has always be in the case of Ghana. Members of the police service as well as other security services are key stakeholders in determining who becomes the president in Ghana and that is a fact.
Come 1 December 2016, all police officers as well as members of other security agencies will go and vote. We will vote to elect our parliamentarians and president though the police officer himself doesn’t have any permanent constituency apart from the police service which is his or her constituency as well as his or her electoral area. Even though the police are not actively involved in open politics, no one in this country can deny the fact that the police have political interests just like all Ghanaians. That reminds me of what Thomas Sankara, the slain Burkinabe leader once said,
” a soldier without a political ideology is a potential criminal”. Probably it is the same way that a police officer without a political ideology might be a criminal and we don’t want to be criminals contrary to our sworn oaths to the good people of Ghana so we will vote for certain parliamentary and presidential candidates but as to whether there is a right message for us police officers to vote on, I don’t think so. The fact that the president appoints the IGP should tell you that the politicians have interest in the police and the police also have interest in politicians.
Police service a is a whole constituency by itself with different political interests from the top to down. It’s a constituency which has no seat in parliament but has a member of parliament who is appointed by the president in consultation with the council of state based on Article 200(2) of the 1992 constitution. As to whether the appointed really represents the interest of the police in particular and that of the country in general as expected is a big question that will always remain unsolved until there is a form of independence in how the one who represents overall interest the police is appointed. Currently, most police officers believe that the president appointing the head of the police makes the police politically bias and tilted towards the politicians making a lot of “political sinners” going unpunished. There is always political power crisscrossing effectiveness of the police.
Currently, the biggest issue on table for some members in the police constituency is the full of Police Service Regulations 2012 popularly known as the C. I 76. It is overall lifetime insurance cover for every police and his or her immediate family. It is the solution to accommodatIon, provision of accoutrements and everything necessary that the police officer needs for efficient and effective policing. It is the the same document that the Doctors constantly referred to as “secret document” full of lucrative allowances being enjoyed by police officers and for that matter, took the whole country at ransom at the expense of precious lives being wasted in their bid for better conditions of service. On the other hand, we have seen forceful implementation of the punitive and some selected aspects of the C.I 76 to the detriment of the ordinary police officer. This is resulting in mass dismissal of many police officers whom scarce state resources were used to train to protect lives and properties and still widening the gap between police-civilian ratio instead of closing it to achieve the UN standards.
As to when the C. I 76 will be implemented fully to give the ordinary police officer a total life insurance cover, no one knows since we have been crippled by law not to embark on demonstrations though we have seen members of other essential services providers like the police holding placards with all sort of inscriptions on them going on demonstrations and strikes. Four years after the C.I 76 was passed as a policy and regulatory document, it is yet to receive full implementation. Now we are told that certain portions of the C.I 76 needs amendment so it is currently in the judicial mill. The issue of full implementation of the C.I 76 and other challenges confronting the police officer could just not attract the attention of any of the political parties in their manifestos and campaigns launch.
This year alone many police officers have died in diverse ways, all in attempt to fight crime in all forms. Policing particularly in the villages looks more of a curse than service to God and country. At times when one looks at the conditions under which one has to struggle to ensure that society is safe from crime leaves a lot to be desired. The type of buildings police officers who are serving mother Ghana sleep in and the kind of water some of them drink is just a problem. In the midst of all these woes, the police officer does not have peace at the workplace. When it’s time to promote him or her too, “wahala”. What really matters is duty ! duties!! duties !!! The very conditions that should cushion the police officer to be effective and efficient in performing duties, don’t really matter. The duties are important than the human performing them I guess.
In Ghana, the only thing that change about the police is the the dress which comes in different colours even though it’s supposed to be uniform. Since the year 2000, all the presidents and their appointed IGPs came with new police uniforms with different colours and left with them but the being in the police uniform, is just a suffering being without much change in his or her life.
If we are to vote on issues bothering me as police officer, then there is nobody to vote for and probably the very reason why I am still contemplating on whom to vote for. If am the only person that can earn a presidential candidate a win in the elections with the just plus one vote to avoid run off, then my total wish is the full implementation of the C. I 76 whether it’s being amended or not.
It’s my whole life as a police officer.
Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III
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