This ACP Angwubutoge Awuni: Brave or Fast?
By I. K. Gyasi
“A rat sitting in the middle of the highway in broad daylight must be exceptionally brave or exceptionally fast.” – A Ghanaian proverb.
Mr. Angwubutoge Awuni, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit of the Ghana Police Service, must be an exceptionally brave person or someone with powerful godfathers in his corner.
In the just-ended biometric registration exercise, Mr. Awuni incurred the extreme displeasure of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
In fact, the Greater Accra Regional branch of the party, led by its chairman, Mr. Ade Coker, held a press conference and demanded Mr. Awuni’s dismissal or transfer from the region. They also threatened to stage protests until their demand was met. What was the crime of Mr. Awuni?
The story told was that Mr. Awuni had allegedly stopped Nii Armah Ashietey, the dismissed immediate past Regional Minister of the Greater Accra Region, from allegedly interfering with the biometric registration exercise.
It is said that Nii Armah Ashietey allegedly got angry, asked Mr. Awuni whether he knew who he (Nii Ashietey) was, and allegedly threatened to have Mr. Awuni sacked.
It is further alleged that Mr. Awuni took off his Police Service cap, pushed it towards Nii Ashietey, and dared him (Nii Ashietey) to have him ( Mr. Awuni) sacked.
From all accounts, the confrontation between the Assistant Commissioner of Police and the ex- Regional Minister was nasty.
Fortunately, the story seems to have had a happy ending. The Greater Accra Regional branch of the NDC appears to have stuck to the decision not to go ahead with their planned sustained protests.
Mr. Awuni reportedly, admitted to having probably overreacted and apologised to all concerned. But, it is true that he also stated that he would do again what he reportedly did if the circumstances called for it? In any case, there is no indication of Nii Ashietey carrying out his threat to have Mr. Awuni sacked.
I ask again: Is Mr. Awuni exceptionally brave or does he have godfathers sitting in his corner and helping him to escape the wrath of politicians?
I ask because, as one veteran journalist recalls, Mr. Awuni has been in “trouble” with the powers that be since the time of the administration of ex-President J. J. Rawlings.
The journalist recalls that during the Chereponi by-election, there was a kind of controversy as to the number of so-called trouble spots in the Northern Region.
Mr. Awuni reportedly disagreed with the then Regional Minister on the matter. Mr. Awuni was the Regional Commander at the time. Did the disagreement have something to do with Mr. Awuni’s transfer from Tamale to Nima as the District Commander? Or was it just a routine transfer?
ACP Awuni has come a long way from Kumasi to Tema to Tamale to Nima to MTTU. The first and only time I saw and met Mr. Awuni in person in Kumasi was many years ago, so many years ago that I confess I cannot even remember the date.
The meeting in his office took place at the Kumasi Regional Police Headquarters where he was then the Police Public Relations Officer. Yes, the man is a trained journalist.
I also confess I forget what took me there. Well, I know I was still a contributor to one or two newspapers. Perhaps we discussed matters of mutual interest.
What I recall is that the man I met could not be described as physically intimidating. I remember a slim young man sitting ramrod-straight and exuding confidence without displaying arrogance.
ACP Awuni is very matter-of-fact when he speaks, as if he could not care less whose ox was gored. The Ibos of Nigeria say that if a person says “Yes”, his chi (personal god) will also say “Yes”.
In other words, a person stands or falls according to the measure of this conviction. ACP Awuni seems to have self-confidence and a conviction of the rightness of his cause.
It is said that when he was transferred from Nima, many Nima residents were very sorry to see him leave, even though he did not handle affairs there with kid gloves.
When it comes to the Ghana Police Service, I want to believe that ACP Awuni is not unique, and that there must be other men and women of the Service who carry out their duties without fear or favour.
If, in the opinion of politicians, the Ghana Police Service has fallen short of expectations, it is rather these same politicians, especially the NDC and the NPP, which must take the lion’s share of the blame.
For example, in the just-ended biometric exercise, it was not just ACP Awuni who incurred the wrath of politicians. The NDC also accused Superintendent Kwasi Ofori of the Tafo-Pankrono Division in Kumasi of aligning himself with the NPP, and demanded punitive sanctions against him.
Not to be outdone, the NPP also complained about the James Town Police Commander, DSP Franklin Addai, for allegedly not taking action against the alleged perpetrators of mayhem on NPP members in Odododiodoo. The NPP even went further to demand the resignation of the Inspector-General of Police himself, Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye.
When both the NPP and the NDC strangely accuse the same Police Service of showing partiality for one side, how can they turn round and expect impartiality for and diligence on the part of the same Service?
The hard fact of the matter is that both parties are hypocrites. If it is the NDC that is in power, the party does not expect the police to move against any of its members, even when it is a clear case of a politically-unrelated crime. If it is the NPP that is in power, expect the same attitude. How then can the two parties, after hamstringing and handcuffing the police, expect the same Service to work?
The police know that it is better to tread softly when dealing with people whose party may be in power at any one moment. Not every police officer may put his neck on the block the way ACP Awuni appears to be doing.
I say to both the NPP and the NDC: Back off and let the Ghana Police Service do its work as it knows best. You cannot eat your cake and have it.
Meanwhile, I pray for ACP Awuni. May he end up eventually as the Inspector-General of Police.
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