By Mohammed Bogobiri
For some time now, some people have made various statements on the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the Army Commander, Inspector General Police (IGP) and other Heads of Uniformed Security Agencies/Departments by the President. This has led to a school thought which indicated that the provisions in the 1992 Constitution for the appointment of the CDS, the IGP and others by the President was made to satisfy the then Chairman of the PNDC, under whose reign the 1992 Constitution was enacted/promulgated in 1992. This sound like an insult to the intelligence of those of us who contributed immensely in coming out with the best Constitution for Ghana based on the history of Ghana and that of other Countries or simply past wars, so the people of Ghana did come out with this Constitution to meet the whims and fancies of the then Chairman of the PNDC (now the late Flt Lt JJ Rawlings).
Hence, I am of the candid view that it will be irresponsible on my part to keep quite without submit a paper to support or explain the wisdom behind the affected provisions of the 1992 Constitution for us to maintain the situation like USA, Nigeria, India and other Countries or adopt the Kenya System.
First, I wish to indicate that the State Security Agencies in a Country are collectively known as the Uniformed Security Services and they are mostly armed hence they are technically termed as the Armed Forces. So the Armed Forces of Ghana include the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Police Forces now known as Ghana Police Services, the disbanded Ghana Border Guards Services now the Custom and Preventive Services etc. Hence Article 57 stipulates that the President among others is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana.
This is so because the proponents of the 1992 Constitution based this on several historical factors or causes (the spirit of the law) among these were;
- In line with some provisions of the previous Constitutions of Ghana especially the 1969 and 1979.
- The primary duty of the President is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, hence the same Constitution must designate him or her as the Supreme Commander, who all State Security personnel must regard as their superior officer and whose orders they must obey. Hence, it is logical that the President must appoint or sack if necessary their senior most leaders or the Heads of the Armed Forces or Security Agencies and thus elicit their strict obedience to enable him or her efficiently carry out his or her primary function of preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution, which they also swear to uphold, protect and defend.
- National Security is the responsibility of the three arms of Government (Executive, Parliament and Judiciary) but the Administration of a Country is executed by the President and his Cabinet and others or his nominees. The principal elements for an efficient National Security are the Security Agencies and they all fall within the Executive Branch for the President to employ them for the sustenance and or improvement of National Security. Hence Security Officers especially Armed Forces are Commissioned by the President with a parchment signed by the President for them to be aware that Presidents is the President who has delegated his authority (command and control) to the Service Commanders over their subordinates to come out with rules or Operational Orders, Standing Orders, Part One Orders or simply publications. Hence unlike civilian personnel, the Officers and Men of the Uniform cannot decide to stay at home because the Government has announced a day as a public holiday. He can only do so, if the holiday is confirmed or ordered by official publication from his Commander and not by simple announcement by the Minister of Interior, failing to obey his orders or acting without his orders will elicit a charge by him and a trial by of the accuse or the offence by him. Hence it implies that the President has granted some kind of ‘’Sovereign’ ’authority to the commander to enable him to possess all the three sovereign powers namely Executive powers enforcement of the rules, legislative powers (enactment of rules or by Part One Orders, Operational orders and Judicial powers (to empanel Disciplinary Hearing or Summary Court Martial and sit as the judge for the disposal of the case, or a Senior Officer with the power to convene a Special Court Martial or General Court Martial). Since a General Court Martial can deal with felony cases and has the power to award death punishment hence matters affecting the life of the personnel so elements of politic, the Regulation of the Uniformed Security Services or Code of Service Discipline provides that the President is the principal authority to convene a General Court Martial but normally delegates this power to the appropriate Military Commander to convene a General Court Martial as well. Hence the President must appoint the Security Chiefs. When I was on active service in the Ghana Army, I convened several Summary Court Martials (Disciplinary Hearings) and disposed of several cases, I served as a board member for a Court Martial with Senior Lawyer Anderson as the Defence Counsel for the accused Officer and the lastly as a Provost Marshal for ECOMOG Ground Forces in Liberia, so I appreciate very well the Diplomatic or Political undertone (feeling) of Senior Officers, hence Senior Officers must be bold, demonstrate Leadership and must read widely well as listen to global issues but must keep mute unless required by the President or the Service to do so by a Commission of Inquiry or a Court Martial.
- The wisdom of Chairman Mao Zedong of the People’s Republic of China that I quote “Our principle is that the elected Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the elected Party,”. In our situation, the elected Party, is the elected civilian leadership or Administration which is led by the President because by our Constitution we elect the President on his own merit. Hence the Armed Forces have the Civilian Leadership for policy direction, funding etc and Uniformed Leaders, the CDS, Service Commanders including the IGP and others for the operational and administrative duties of their services. The Uniformed Leaders are subordinates to the elected civilian Leadership. Hence the Power of the President to appoint or sack the CDS and the IGP is sacrosanct.
- The President is the only one empower by the Constitutions of Ghana to declare war or state of emergency, to execute this responsibility he must have all the armed forces in the Country under his obedience as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, hence the 1992 Constitution provides the Head of State (herein the President) as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana, so he must appoint the Heads of the Security Services. The technical interpretation of the Armed Forces of Ghana is the elements of the Ghana Armed Forces, the Police Service, and CEPs etc which are armed by the State.
- Lessons from the below situations;
- From the serious disagreement in 1861 between President Abraham Lincoln of USA and General Michelle, on how the General pursued the American Civil War (the biggest rebellion in US History), involving the use of the Union or Federal Armed Forces against the armies of some Confederate secessionists (Armies of some attempted to break away states of USA).
- General Douglas Macarthur’s conduct in the Koreans War of 1951 that resulted in his dismissal by President Harry Truman of USA. He exhibited some disloyalty to President Truman through a disagreement and also disclosed vital information about the war to some members of the Republican Party against the President directive to keep the information secret. President Truman was a President from the Democratic Party.
We also later (in 1996) had the lesson from or a taste of the constitutional crisis in 1996 due to a misunderstanding between President JJ Rawlings and the then Vice-President Ekow Nkensen Arkaah, which resulted in the prompt amendment of Article 201, Article 206 and Article 211 of the 1992 Constitution in 1996 under certificate of emergency to make the President as the authority to appoint the Chairperson for the Police Council, Prison Council and the Defence Council to guide us. Also the alleged acts of disloyalty lesson from a National Security Coordinator during President Kofour‘s era and the recent alleged acts of disloyalty by the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator.
All the above lessons or examples speaks volume that loyalty to the Commander-in-Chief is key for National Security. Hence the President must be given the free hand to appoint the IGP and the Service Commanders.
To reiterate, Elected Civilian control of the Security Services is a precondition feature for a stable democratic system. Hence for democracy to flourish, it is strongly recommended that the members of the Security Services must subordinate themselves to elected Civilian Control (elected authority control). This is in line with a doctrine of political science that places ultimate responsibility for the making of a country’s strategic decision in the hands of the civilian political leadership and the butt stops at the President.
A lack of the elected civilian control over Armed Forces that is the Military and the Police Forces will result in a state within a state or two Captains steering a boat. Imagine an IGP refuses to act on the orders of the President or an Army Commander refuses the order of the C-in-C to send troops to combat activities in a Region allegedly against the State for reasons best known to him like what General Michelle did to President Abraham Lincoln of USA in 1865 America Civil War. Or what Field Marshal Douglas Macarthur did to President Harry Truman of UA in the war between North and South Korea in 1951. Hence the President must have the absolute power to appoint or disappoint by firing or sacking the IGP and the Army Commander.
They say security is commonsense therefore commonsense dictates that the loyalty of the Security Services Commanders to the President must not be questionable. Hence to ensure the Elected Civilian control of the gun, the President is the authority (he signs in person the parchment) for the Commissioning of Officers of the Ghana Armed Forces, therefore members of the Military must be very loyal to the Head of State (President) for him to carry out his responsibility of National Security. So it is not strange that the proponents of the 1992 Constitution made the President as the appointing authority for the IGP and Service Commanders.
It is claimed that Kenya has a better arrangement for appointing the CDS, IGP and others than Ghana’s but I beg to differ because the value is the same, since the President of Kenya appoints the IGP out of three qualified persons and submit his nominee to Parliament for approval and as we know sycophancy or our DNA, resulting rubber stamp nature of our Parliaments without question or reading the bill or agreement before them makes the whole thing a nonsense or waste of time and funds. A very interesting issue is that the IGP in Kenya is appointed for a single four-year term, and is not eligible for re-appointment. He can be sacked for incompetence or misconduct or other just cause by the President, may virtually make him to be very loyal to the President till his tenure of office ends hence the value is the same, so this is not a good example to emulate.
In Ghana Promotion of Military Officers above the rank of Major and Police Officers above Chief Superintendent of Police to the rank Commissioners is done by the President this depends on a lot of factors amongst them are good confidential report with details of hard work, exposure in tough terrains, battle hardiness, leadership qualities, consistent performances in courses or courses attended and appointments, proper military bearings, social etiquettes, troop popularity, , leadership qualities, and obedience to the code of service discipline and social etiquettes so sometime your wife or husband may have say.
The confidential report is kept by the Army or Air force or Navy Secretary and he or she submits the confidential reports supported with personal files of potential personnel for promotions and appointments within a Service to a Number Two Selection Board normally convened by the Service Commander. Or in the case for the Ghana Armed Forces a whole, Number One Selection Board with Service Commanders and their secretary as members are constituted by the CDS with Confidential Reports from the Military Secretary supported with personal files. After which the various recommendations from the two boards are compiled by the Military Secretary which is signed by the CDS or the Military Secretary and the CDS presents same to Defence Council chaired by the Vice President to check and ensure fairness and within budget and also send their recommendation to the President.
In the case of the Police Service, the Secretary to the IGP keeps the files or the confidential reports for the Police Management Board Chaired by the IGP to consider personnel for promotion and appointments. Hence the secretary to the IGP or the CDS and his subordinates or staff in his Office must be patriotic, honest, loyal, disciplined, fear of God, diligent with no political party allegiance or association behind the scene or otherwise your file will get missing or the likelihood of the deletion of the name of qualified person and insertion of an unqualified person cannot be ruled out.
It is universally acknowledged that a member of a society must obey the code of discipline or practice of the society at all times. So State Security Officers are abide by code of service discipline and above all have taken an oath or are required to uphold, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Ghana as well as to obey the orders of their Superiors, hence the Commander-in-Chief, who is the President and other civilian authorities, at all times
So it will sound disloyal or a breach of the Constitution of Ghana for an active or serving Military Officer or Police Officer to speak in any forum including academic platform in the name of freedom of speech, in public about matters on the Police or the Armed Forces especially about promotion and appointments by the President as required by the Constitution of Ghana, to which the Officer has sworn his or her allegiance to uphold, preserve, protect and defend. Hence an act contrary to this is unpardonable offence and will surely reflect in the confidential report of the affected person. Of course the President has the power of mercy but it has serious consequences in the security system.
The acrimony and rancor in our Country especially in the body politics is in our DNA since the colonial era, hence in 1977 the late General Acheampong’s introduced the idea of UNIGOV just to reduce it. Otherwise we need to accept our Constitution especially the provisions in Articles 201, Article 202 on the Police Council and appointment of the IGP and Commissioners of Police respectively and Article 211 and Article 212 on the Defence Council and the appointment of the CDS and Service Commanders respectively. The Senior Officers in the Military and Police were commissioned or enlisted during the PNDC and NDC 1 and NDC2 and they are the personnel the current NPP is comfortably working with. Hence Security personnel work with the Government the day .
The 1992 constitution is silent on the reasons for removal of the IGP maybe because the need for unflinching loyalty which the IGP is fully aware makes it superfluous to give stated grounds for his removal. Note as stated, in the Kenya Constitution, the IGP etc can only be removed for incompetency or misconduct or just cause amongst others gives room for the President to sack a disloyal IGP on any of these three grounds hence the proponents of the 1992 constitution may be right to be silent on the grounds for the removal of the IGP.
The service regulations states that tenure of office of the IGP and Service Commanders hence per our Constitutional arrangement or election cycle, it must be coterminous or same with the particular appointing authority, hence the President of an administration, but since the President may be re-elected for another 4 years I do not agree that the Service Commanders should stay in Office after their first 4 year, they should leave office after four years like a Commanding Officer of a Battalion is not allowed to serve more than 4 years in a Unit, this in my view is to ensure that there will be smooth promotion in the services to promote morale and efficiency. The Military suffers a problem of poor promotion and logistics a lot during the Military Regimes especially the PNDC era when the CDS, Service Commanders were members of the PNDC (main) and but the Police were ok because the IGP was not a member of the PNDC (main).
The issue of Police Council and the Prison Council with the appointment of the Chairman for each of them by the President and for that of the Military Council, the President maybe the Chairman or his nominee as required in the 1996 amendment of Article 201, 206 and 211 of the 1992 Constitution for Police Council, the Prison Council and the Military Council respectively, emanated from a report from the Colonial Administration by Commissioner of Police in London termed the Young Report of 1951 on the Gold Coast Police which recommended for the formation of the Police Council.
It also emanated from the Captain Haupenbauer, 1979 Report into the riot or rot in the Police Service (arrest of some Senior Police Officers by some Junior Officers of the Ghana Police Force) as submitted by Captain Haupenbauer as ordered by the AFRC to deal with problems in the then Police Force or Police Administration. Amongst others were nepotism, tribalism, favouritism in the recruitment, promotions and appointment and misuse of resources. There were reports of some Police personnel in the habit of removing the good confidential reports from files or destroying or hiding the files of well qualified Police personnel for promotions or operations or appointments or report of deletion of names of qualified Police personnel from the promotion list and criminal insertion of the names of unqualified persons for promotion in a very tactical way. Also the Files were deliberately arranged in disorganized manner making it difficult to retrieve or locate some files. This led to the appointment of square pegs in round hole at some posts including Staff Officers