Press Freedom: Nat’l Security SWAT Unit undemocratic; dissolve it – Toobu to Gov’t

MP for Wa West, Peter Lanchene Toobu, has resurrected calls for the dissolution of the SWAT Unit at the National Security Ministry.

Calls for the dissolution of the SWAT Unit erupted after the Awayaso West Wougon by-election attacks.

Next was the assault on Citi News’ Caleb Kudah and the subsequent invasion of the premises of Citi FM/Citi TV in a bid to arrest another journalist, Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo.

Speaking to Francis Abban on the Morning Starr over Ghana’s low ranking in the World Press Freedom Index, the MP said “the government should be bold enough to dissolve the SWAT Unit at the National Security Ministry.

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“It was a recommendation of the Emile Short Commission and it remains a recommendation even though the government has just ignored it. But I tell you as a matter of fact that many things that happen within the security circles, you hear National Security and you see them wearing Police uniform, you see them in Military uniform, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is not aware of them, the Chief of Defense Starr (CDS) not aware of them. They are working with civilians, National Security Minister, National Security Coordinator,” he disclosed.

According to him, the National Security should be able to coordinate intelligence and provide action points and direct those action points even if it is police related matters.

“If it’s a Military related matter you direct them to the CDS. If it is an intelligent related matter you direct them to the NIB. But if National Security becomes another agent with the prime duty like the Police and Military without coming under the Command and Control of the IGP or the Chief of Defense Staff we are creating a problem. We are creating a Command challenge and that is how many of these people go and do these things and you ask the IGP he will not talk because he doesn’t know them.

“We were sitting in the Office when Ayawaso West Wougon was going on. It was like a movie where the IGP doesn’t know anything about it and the Chief of Defense Staff doesn’t know anything about it. It is the politician, the civilian,” he disclosed.

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He said democracy is about free speech and when it turns to blow for blow then the nation is heading to a bad stage.

“Can you imagine that Burkina Faso is doing better than Ghana with World Press Freedom Index.”

Ghana dropped 30 places from 2021 to rank 60th on World Press Freedom Index 2022 with a score of 67.43.

Ghana has also dropped significantly on the continental ranking for the safety of journalists.

African countries ahead of Ghana include Namibia, South Africa, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Niger.

“Although the country is considered a regional leader in democratic stability, journalists have experienced growing pressures in recent years. To protect their jobs and their security, they increasingly resort to self-censorship, as the government shows itself intolerant of criticism,” the World Press Freedom indicated in its latest ranking released May 3, 2022.

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