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Akufo-Addo’s security ministers: The lows and highs

President Nana Akufo-Addo has maintained his current contingent of ‘national security’ ministers due to what he may describe as satisfactory performance.

Albert Kan Dapaah, Ambrose Dery and Dominic Nitiwul were all named in the list of 46 ministers for President Nana Akufo-Addo’s second term.

Ambrose Dery

Mr Ambrose Dery was maintained as Ministry for the Interior which focuses on homeland security and works closely with relevant agencies in promoting internal security.

He retained his seat as the MP for Nandom repelling the challenge from the NDC’s Dr Richard Kuuire.

Mr Dery had to apologise in March 2019 for assault on three Ghanaian Times journalists by a group of police officers in Accra.

The two journalists, Malik Sulemana and Raissa Sambou together with their driver were assaulted by a Policeman with the help of 10 other men in uniform.

Seven young men, including five natives of Asawase, a Zongo community in Kumasi, were reportedly shot to death by armed policemen.

The police insisted that the men were on their way to rob a mining site near Manso-Nkwanta.

However, MP for Asawase, the families and the people of Asawas maintained that the victims were innocent.

After an investigation, an independent committee found the victims to be innocent.

The government offered a compensation package totalling GH¢1,750,000 to be paid to the families of the victims.

Albert Kan Dapaah

Albert Kan Dapaah continues as the Minister of National Security with responsibilities to initiate and formulate policies to enhance the efficiency of the security and intelligence sector.

He succeeded in restructuring the national security set-up after President Akufo-Addo set-up the ministry for the first time in the country’s history.

Under his tenure, the Bureau of National Intelligence (BNI) was transformed into the National Intelligence Bureau (BNI) with a renewed mandate.

His tenure was not a smooth ride as he was hit by many controversies.

Notable was a video in which he was captured modelling in his pyjamas for a lady he was video-chatting.

In the amorous chit-chat, the national security chief appeared to have let down his guard and was totally under the control of the voice of the seductive woman.

Critics called for his resignation after the video became public on January 15, 2020.

He also came under fire after violence erupted in at La-Bawaleshie during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

Though there was no death recorded there were casualties after soety455me armed men dressed in brown khaki uniform stormed the area in a SWAT vehicle. Prampram MP Sam George was assaulted and 18 people were wounded.

The national security was heavily criticised after an editor of the Modern Ghana online news portal was arrested and accused of hacking. The editor, however, maintained his innocence and explained that he had only published an article relating to the Minister.

The editor accused the Ministry of National Security officers of torture after being held in custody for days.

Dominic Nitiwul

President Akufo-Addo reposed his faith in Dominic Nitiwul as Minister of Defence.

The MP for Bimbilla keeps his position for his efforts in enhancing Ghana’s peacekeeping operations abroad.

He is also credited for maintaining Ghana’s territorial integrity despite the volatile political atmosphere in Ghana’s neighbouring countries.

Burkina Faso suffered at least 15 deaths at the hands of jihadists in May 2020 while other terrorists launched an assault on Côte d’Ivoire killing 10 soldiers about a month later.

But Ghana was shielded from such deadly attacks.

Nitiwul’s tenure also suffered some blotted moment.

Ahead of the new voter registration exercise, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) deployed soldiers to border towns drawing the anger of the people and chiefs of the Volta Region especially.

However, the minister said it was for counter-terrorism and protection of the borders to prevent COVID-19 carriers from entering the country after the borders were shut for months.

He was also accused of being complacent in the raging tribal conflict between Konkombas and Chokosis in the North East Region.

Some of the locals accused Mr Nitiwul of bias towards the Chokosis since he belonged to the Kokomba tribe.

They also accused him of giving the Kokombas military backing.

He, however, denied the allegations.

“Because I am a Kokomba, I am guilty by accusation. I am a Kokomba and therefore I must be guilty and nothing else. The man is guilty because he is a Kokomba man. So, when the Ashantis are fighting, Napo (Minister for Energy-designate and MP for Manhyia South) must be the one fueling it? Maybe when the Akyim’s are fighting, then it should be the President. That kind of thinking doesn’t make any meaning to me,” he fumed.

The most recent of the criticism was the invasion of Parliament by the military to offer protection during the chaos that marred the election of a Speaker of Parliament on January 7.

The opposition party accused Mr Nitiwul of giving the orders but the MP denied giving out any instructions of that sort.

Some achievements

But the achievements of the three security ministers cannot be swept under the carpet.

The country’s credentials as a stable country were upheld as the 2020 elections were carried out successfully without the chaos witnessed in other countries like the Central African Republic (CAR).

The action of three separatist groups in the Volta Region was quelled, and suspects are facing prosecutions but the Ministry of National Security received some flak for failing to obtain intelligence and clampdown their activities earlier.

What appears to have ensured a seamless synergy among the three ministries is the strengthening of joint security operations among the various security agencies.

Logistical and motivational support from the government over the past four years has played a key role in the performance of the sector.

Over 100 vehicles were given to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in 2019.

President Akufo-Addo also rolled out a barracks regeneration programme and a $100-million military housing project which included the reconstruction of the Ghana Military Academy and Training School, the construction of 192 two-bedroom flats, 640 units of two-bedroom half compound houses, and a 240-unit self-contained military hostel.

The police were not excluded as the President revealed, “despite budgetary constraints, the Akufo-Addo government has, in two and half years in office, provided 568 vehicles, including 15 operational buses to the Service, a feat unprecedented in the history of the Service.”

Additionally, the government indicated that 320 housing units are being constructed at the National Police Training School to reduce the accommodation deficits of the Service.

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