Editorial: Security for MPs: Are we creating a class society?
The Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, on Tuesday this week, told Parliament that as many as 200 police personnel would be deployed to protect Members of Parliament (MPs) till the end of the year. He indicated that these personnel would be attached to the MPs as bodyguards.
“What we have proposed to do is that between now and the end of the year we are going to provide an additional 200 police personnel to be part of the Parliamentary Protection Unit. They will be attached to MPs as bodyguards,” he said. This was after he had been summoned by the House to brief them about the security situation in the country, following the senseless killing of the Member of Parliament for Mfantseman, Ekow Quansah Hayford.
“Ideally, to get to where we want to get to, we should have 800 police added, so that each MP will also have security at home day and night. What I came to tell them is what we can do to the end the year, but ultimately, since security is also the right of MPs. We hope that the retooling that the President is pursuing will bring many more security personnel and will be able to provide for MPs,” Mr Dery told journalists.
Ordinarily, providing security for MPs should not raise any eyebrows, but the circumstances under which this provision is being made is the concern of the larger section of the population. The Interior Ministry has been compelled to take this quick decision because an MP had been killed by gunmen. Unfortunately, we are yet to hear or read about such decisions when the ordinary man is also shot and killed by highway robbers.
To hit the nail right on the head, a VIP passenger bus carrying travelers to from Accra to Kumasi was ambushed by armed robbers somewhere in the Eastern Region. The robbers opened fire on the vehicle and this resulted in serious injuries sustained by some of the passengers, including the driver of the bus. Regrettably, the MPs, who represent these passengers that were attacked, did not see the need to summon the Interior Minister to the House over the issue, but were quick to do so immediately one of their own was shot and killed supposedly by armed robbers.
The Chronicle is not seeking to downplay the seriousness about the killing of the MP, who is obviously the breadwinner of his family. Our concern is the seeming mute attitude of our MPs when the ordinary man also suffers the same fate. The 1992 Constitution does not place the life of one Ghanaian above others – we are all supposed to be equal before the law.
In our view, summoning the Interior Minster should not ruffle any feathers, but they should have used the opportunity to find out from the Minister how he was going to protect them (MPs) and the people they represent in Parliament, so that everybody can go about his or her duties without any fear in the country. It is wrong for the MPs to force the Minister to provide them with security when the people who voted for them have been left to the mercy of the marauding armed robbers.
What has even rankled us most is the hint by the Interior Minister that in the near future all the MPs would be provided with personal security both at home and wherever they go within the country. This means that the MPs will have the luxury of traveling around the country with bodyguards, and sleeping peacefully at night without any fear of being attacked by armed robbers, because they have police security around them.
We seem to be gradually creating a class society, and this is very dangerous. If armed robbers are threatening people and also killing MPs, the House has the responsibility of ensuring that every Ghanaian is protected. Thinking about only their safety, but silent on what happens to the totality of Ghanaians, is a perilous path the MPs are constructing.
Every human life matters in the circumstances we are discussing.