Dealing with corrupt police officers in Ghana; Weird suggestions of a traditional ruler

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    Sep 13, 2012
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As I glanced through the various newspapers and news websites to acquaint myself with topical issues making headlines in Ghana on Monday, August 20, 2012, I could not believe my eyes when I chanced upon a caption “Swedru chief calls for mass transfer of Swedru police”.

The article, which was published by one of the state owned media houses in the country, gave graphic account on how the people of Swedru Township in the Central Region of Ghana, rallied behind the elders of the community to observe its annual ‘Akwambo’ festival, as custom and tradition demands.

In a brief description of what the festival entails; the people of Agona-Swedru in the Central Region celebrate the ‘Akwambo’ festival, to wit “path-clearing”.

During the period, youth groups weed footpaths leading to the streams or rivers, farms and other communal places, as well as paths which lead to shrines.

The second day sees the whole community assemble at the ancestral shrines and the chief pours libation to the ancestral spirits to thank them for their protection during the previous year and then request for more blessing, abundant rainfall and good harvest for the ensuing year.

At the stream or riverside where some of the sacrifices are offered, alligators and other species of fish come out to enjoy the mashed yams sprinkled on the water.

The said news item, however, quoted the Chief of the area, Nana Kobina Botwe II as alleging that he had ample evidence that lots of the police officers in the traditional area were aiding and abetting criminals to undertake nefarious activities, an act he said, was preventing investors and tourists from visiting the area.

Police officers and invited dignitaries who were present at the ceremony to ensure peaceful and colorful celebrations, according to the report, were completely stunned by the chief’s assertion.

As if that was not enough, the traditional ruler is reported to have urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to, in the name of national peace and cohesion, transfer all the police officers in the community to different locations, even though he failed to produce single evidence.

As a traditional watcher, I am compelled to ink my reservations about this rather unsavory and treacherous statement for the reason that the respected chief fell-short in convincing his audience, and more importantly Ghanaians because he could cite any instance.

It is indeed sad that a person of Nana's caliber chose to cast innuendos and aspersions on the police, whereas he could have directed his grievances to the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau (PIPS), a unit designed to receive and investigate complaints from the public about the conducts of police personnel.

It is obviously not practicable for the police to transfer all of its personnel in the Swedru community and its environs to elsewhere. Assuming without conceding, if these officers are dangerous as we are made to believe then which other town in the country could contain their modus operandi if they are not arrest and prosecuted. 

In my candid opinion, the chief's call was misplaced and indeed outrageous, although I acknowledge that there are some bad nuts in the service who are hampering the progress of the security agency. 

Without doubt, this traditional ruler would have been subjected to strict-proof his utterances or assist in investigations, if we were living in a developed country.

It is unfortunate that authorities have stood sheepishly and allowed the chief’s unguarded statement pass without interrogation.

Though chiefs or traditional rulers are not repository of wisdom, I believe that he could have done the society more good if he had stayed-off from that assertion.

To say the least it was a big time goof!

The Swedru chief must know that EVIDENCE is the rule of the game and it is imperative he align himself with that.

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