While providing leadership, Nana must also crack the whip
I have always believed in the sitting President’s ability to deliver. I have followed Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo all the way from his role as the General Secretary of the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice, the civil society group set up in the 1970s to fight the obnoxious Union Government concept, which stopped the Supreme Military Council of Gen Kutu Acheampong from using the concept to perpetuate military rule in this country.
At the weekend, President Addo-Dankwa gave more tangible reasons for me to believe in his leadership even more. With the nonsensical rubbish of a few group of little minds deciding to take this nation by ransom in the name of a non-existent Western Togoland, the President made a very profound declaration.
He asked the nationals to sleep well because there are institutions in place to deal with the separatists and that, as leader of this nation, he is on top of his brief.
Read the lips of the head of state: “I have to be calm because institutions are in place. The security agencies are doing their work. They have started already and all see results. If I panic, the country panics.”
Likening the scenario to the way the nation handled the Covid-19 pandemic under his watch, the Head of State said if he had panicked, fear would have gripped all of us. “But I know the work God appointed me to do. If I panic the entire nation will also panic. That is not the purpose of leadership. I’m supposed to assure the people that our country will work,” he said.
Read the Presidential lips further: “What is happening in the Volta Region in the hands of these handful – It’s just a handful of people… These secessionists we will deal with it. I have no doubt about it. I trust the security agencies. I trust the Armed Forces, I trust the police. I trust their leadership…the intelligence agencies… I know the intelligence agencies are working very hard to make sure that this matter is dealt with as quickly as possible.”
That is re-assuring. Leadership is about ensuring that the people are safe. And that is one more reason why I bank on Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to retain the Presidency with a handsome majority after the December polls. He has demonstrated his leadership mantle in addition to providing for the reasonable comfort of the people.
There is no doubt that Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is an able companion complementing the New Patriotic Party ticket. Last week, the Vice-President waded in on the Western Togoland secessionist rubbish by assuring Ghanaians that the government would never negotiate with that small group of trouble shooters.
Commenting on the crime of burning down a State Transport bus at the Ho Terminal of the transport company on a radio programme, Dr. Bawumia was emphatic. It would be senseless on the part of the government to engage the bandits.
“Negotiate with who, and on what basis?” he quizzed in rhetorical answer to a question put to him. “It does not make sense. If so, then, we will be open to many things. Tomorrow, you’ll go somewhere and some group will get up and say the Northern Territory has to also be somewhere else. What we need is intelligence, and we’ll deal with it.”
It is such assurances from the leadership that would galvanise support for the security forces to go after these bandits. I am absolutely confident that under the leadership of the President and his Vice, this country will defeat these rebels without a cause.
I must be honest, I was alarmed by the utterances of Mr. Kosi Kedem, one-time Member of Parliament for Hohoe South. He must be called to answer for his effusion that Ghana, as a state, does not exist. From January 7, 1993 until January 6, 2001, Mr. Kedem sat in the House of Parliament in Accra, representing the good people of Hohoe South Constituency.
During the eight years that he sat nodding and shouting ‘yeah, yeah’ to any pronouncement from the party born out of the 1981 military insurgency, Mr. Kedem collected huge wages and allowances.
During all that period did he not know that Ghana, as a country, did not exist? If the country did not exist as a legal entity, then the wages and allowances he collected were illegally amassed. Will he be gentlemanly enough to return the loot then?
I was reminded while writing this piece that in 2004, Mr. Kosi Kedem contested the Chairmanship of the Volta Regional branch of the National Democratic Congress. At what point in time, while filing his papers, did Mr. Kosi Kedem realise that what he was doing was illegal?
The interesting thing about that contest is that Mr. Kedem got a lone vote. I do not know whether or not that vote came from himself. But insiders believe Mr. Kosi Kedem might have voted for himself. At that point in time, the former Member of Parliament was already the Vice-President of the NDC in the Volta Region, and that qualified him to vote. Apparently, his colleagues on the Volta Regional NDC voted to get rid of him as a leader.
Reading his submission of late, I get the feeling that Mr. Kosi Kedem deserves the big snub. His call for a federal state in Ghana defeats his own assertion that Ghana does not exist legally. How could a nation that does not exist become a federal state?
I am not a security expert, but I think I have a fair idea about what constitutes destabilisation of a society. I am under no illusion at all that Mr. Kosi Kedem’s pronouncements have the tendency of goading little minds on to exploit these unguarded statements to foment trouble.
There are a number of people out there who ought to be interrogated over this Western Togoland nonsense.
I have heard in the grapevine that the leadership of the security agencies are unhappy with an article I wrote earlier, suggesting that the security services were sleeping on their jobs, when that small group of miscreants attempted to seize the Kpong Hydro-Electric power station, after collecting police weapons at various locations in the Volta Region on the night of September 23, 2020.
I thought it was a matter of seriousness that a group of bandits could cause so much mayhem, with our security services failing to react for a very long time. Since that incident, I have had the benefit of reading the full statement issued by the Battor Traditional Council, which suggests, in all fairness, that the Council had reported a number of insurgencies by rebels in the area to the lawful authority without action.
Read this paragraph for instance. “The Battor Traditional Council was reliably informed that in 2019, a group of people, numbering about 200, had assembled in a forest near Nyatikpor-Battor, where they were alleged to have tried to set up a training camp in the area.”
According to the statement, the Council informed the District Chief Executive, who is the Chairperson of the District Security Council. Instead of arresting the insurgents, the DCE and the Bureau of National Investigation officer in the district held a meeting with the rebels in the presence of chiefs in the area, and warned the trouble shooters to desist from their unlawful activities.
According to the chiefs, the rebels were said to have disengaged for a while. On September 7, this year, the Chief of Nyatikpor-Battor received a distress call from the Assembly Member of the area, reporting of insurgencies from rebels in the area. An official report was made to the BNI official in the district, who sent the chief a picture, asking the chief to identify any of the rebels in the photo.
In effect, not much was done from the security point of view until the rebels struck on the night of September 23, 2020. The chiefs are not happy that the response to the attack rather resulted in the random arrests of innocent ‘Okada’ riders in the community.
According to the chiefs, the knee-jerk reaction to the activities of the rebels had rather created fear and panic in the community, instead of the need to go after the rebels.
Obviously, not all is well with the fight to eliminate the rebels. That is why state security should sit up and complement the efforts of the President and his Vice. No state can develop in an atmosphere of fear and panic.
I am calling for a thorough examination of what happened on the night of Thursday, September 23. I am inclined to believe that in spite of all the assurances from state security that all is well, there are lapses that need to be identified and dealt with.
What happened on that black Thursday night might be the work of a few miscreants bent on fomenting trouble, but their activities need to be curtailed. I understand that these bandits were raising concerns even during the administration of the first President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and his Convention People’s Party.
My information is that the bandits tried to strike during the regime of Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, and since then, have continued to create problems for this society, every now and then. I am sure this society is capable of erasing the ground that provides succor for these terrorists.
I urge President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to continue to provide the leadership that would eventually rid this society of these bandits. I would like to believe though, that a few officials have demonstrated the need to lose their jobs over the laxity of security leading to the show of impunity on behalf of these bandits last week.
Lest I forget, Kosi Kedem has a number of questions to answer as well
I shall return!
Ebo Quansah in Accra