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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mr. President please find some work for BNI to do

Mr. President I hope you agree with me that at the moment the Bureau of National Investigation has lost it focus and has nothing to do for the nation's internal security despite the millions of dollars that is being spent on its personnel and operations. And you also agree with me that the idle hands of members of the BNI have forced them to engage in activities that can only be described as unconstitutional. I strongly believe that because the BNI has nothing more important to do that is why its operatives have resorted to harassment, arrests, detentions and engaging in activities that are prerogative of our police force.

I am no security expert but I do know that the work of BNI should not be snatching of cars or getting involved in matters that are the prerogative of the office of state protocol. I think the BNI as an internal security Service is responsible for protecting Ghanaians against organised crime syndicates. I also believe the work of the BNI is to provide intelligence to counter threats to our national security as well as provide information on the current major threats facing Ghana such as armed robbery and drug trafficking. I also think the BNI is responsible for providing security and expert security advice designed to help businesses and organisations protect themselves against rogue persons and institutions operating from within and outside the country. I believe BNI was established as an intelligence gathering institution and not to engage in investigations of petty crimes.

Mr. President let your security team inform you on the work and operations of M15 and other major intelligence organisations and compare it with what BNI is doing to see whether car snatching and seizure of passports are what BNI should be doing. Look at the Act that created the BNI carefully and see if it is acting in accordance with the powers and functions that the Act sets out.

Again lets us carefully read President Obama's speech over again and see if the recent actions by BNI are in line with the issues President Obama spoke about. Just consider this comment, "history offers a clear verdict: governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable, and more successful than governments that do not". I do not believe the will of many Ghanaians is to see opponents of NDC harassed, arrested and detained. That is not the wish of Ghanaians, that is the wish of a few individuals in the ruling government who are hell bent on using the BNI to cause mayhem to members of the opposition.Is the actions of BNI not more likely to cause political stalemate in the country which I believe the people and our economy do not want? How successful will your government be if it continues on the path of arrests and detentions?

President Obama praised Ghana and said: "Time and again, Ghanaians have chosen Constitutional rule over autocracy, and shown a democratic spirit that allows the energy of your people to break through. We see that in leaders who accept defeat graciously, and victors who resist calls to wield power against the opposition". The above statements by Obama are true except the part that talks about victors. Mr. President you and your party are the victors Obama was referring to. But just be sincere to yourself, is it true that you have resisted calls to wield power against members of the opposition? Ex-President Kufoour, Wereko Brobey, Mr. Asamoah Boateng, Mrs. Asamoah Boateng, Dr. Ken Attafuah, Col Damoah, Mpiani, Kwasi Osei-Adjei are these the people you have resisted calls to wield power against? Why are they in court then, why do they report to the BNI almost on a daily basis and why have you terminated their appointments despite the fact that they were capable of what they were doing unlike some characters in your government that Ex-President Rawlings described as mediocre? http://ghanapundit.blogspot.com/2009/07/ghana-finance-minister-arrested.html

Again Obama said: "Repression takes many forms". Do you agree with me that the actions of BNI against some citizens of our nation fit perfectly in what Obama calls repression? Obama said the repressions are "not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end". Will you end it?

Is the BNI not behaving as if we are under an autocracy as former President Kuffour said in his recent interview with the BBC? http://ghanapundit.blogspot.com/2009/07/kufuor-laments-over-poor-govt-treatment.html

I want you to seek some opinion from the Diplomatic Community in Ghana about what the BNI is doing. Let us ask ourselves whether our development partners are happy with the treatment of former president John Kuffour and ex-ministers of state by your government and the BNI. In the interest of our young democracy let us ask ourselves if there is any legitimacy in the claim by Kuffour that he is being disrespected and mistreated by your government and agents of the state. And let us ask ourselves whether arresting former ministers and denying them lawyers during questioning can help us to build the prosperous nation that Obama spoke about.

Mr. President, even if the BNI has a role to play in the ongoing issues involving former ministers, I do not think the scale and magnitude of their alleged crimes warrant the involvement and heavy handedness of the BNI.

We know how drug barons, traffickers and peddlers are using the country as a hub for their illegal activities. Our ports and harbours have become den of drug barons and traffickers. It is an indisputable fact that drug barons pose more security threat to our democracy, economic and political cohesion of our nation than Mrs. Asabea Boateng and her children. Just yesterday 24/07/2009 the Appeal Court freed two convicted drug barons and we know the threat organised drug syndicates pose to our dear nation. Wouldn't it be right Mr. President, to devote resources to the BNI and direct them to fight the ticking time bomb that is waiting to explode which has already claimed casualties in places like Guinea Bissau?

We know how the problem of armed robbery is seriously eroding the confidence the business community have in Ghana. It is without question that armed robbers pose unimaginable security threat to the economic foundation of our dear nation than former ministers, their wives and children.

I am suggesting to you that if you cannot find anything better for the BNI to do other than snatching cars, then please do the honourable thing by dissolving that unit and let us not waste tax payers’ money on it. At least that money can better be used to provide clean drinking water for the people in Cape Coast whom you campaigned to save from poverty and hunger but who are yet to receive any help from your administration.

Mr. President you must know how sensitive it is to use State Security agencies like BNI to arrest and detain former officials, more so when we claim to be a democratic nation that advocates for rule of law, protection of human rights and human dignity.Besides, what at all is the BNI doing at the moment regarding the financial investigations that our Justice Ministry cannot do? Doesn't the Ministry of Justice have enough men and resources to conduct the investigations that BNI is conducting?

I want you to find time to read all the messages you delivered during your election campaign and marry what you said at the time with what you and your men are doing. Do not be blinded by power and remember that just seven months ago the NPP was in power.

We cannot build a prosperous nation based on witch hunting, harassment, confiscations, threats of imprisonment, revenge and mistreatments. Those belong to the AFRC and PNDC era but you know that it is past and gone. So anytime you send your attack dogs to the camp of your opponents remember Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Gunea, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia and Central Africa Republic for they were all once peaceful nations.

I would like to end here but the next time I write you I will find out what percentage of our exports is high tech. I will find out the number of young entrepreneurs your government has helped to start their own businesses. I will find out about the number of jobs you have created and whether illiteracy has fallen. I will find out whether Accra, Cape Coast, Takoradi, Sunyani, Ho, Koforidua and Kumasi have been connected with fast electric trains. I will find out how many Ghanaians will earn $ 20,000 annually and whether child malnourishment and mortality have fallen.

I hope your government will spend the rest of its remaining in time in office to make the nation more secure, more peaceful, more united and more prosperous than ever before, for this is the sole reason why you were elected and it continues to remain your sole duty as government.Think about these and compare it with BNI harassments and see which of them will advance the cause of peace for Ghana and make Ghana and Ghanaians better off.

By Lord Aikins Adusei
Activist and Anti corruption Campaigner.

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