Chieftaincy conflicts in many parts of the country account for 65 per cent of domestic security challenges in Ghana, the Minister for National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, has said.
Apart from unresolved chieftaincy issues, he listed the other domestic security challenges facing the country that make up the remaining 35 per cent as armed robbery, farmer-herdsmen conflicts, cyber crime and the recent secession issue in the Volta Region.
The minister made this known during the opening of a sensitisation workshop on the National Security Strategy (NSS) for the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and the Interior in Accra yesterday.
The workshop, organised by the Ministry of National Security, is part of a series of activities to educate the public on the National Security document which was launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in June 2021.
The NSS document, the first of its kind in the history of the country, has the overarching vision of maintaining Ghana as an open, tolerant, socially cohesive, peace-loving, people-centred, secure, united and prosperous constitutional democracy that upholds the rule of law.
It contains Ghana’s strategy to prevent, preempt, protect and, if necessary, respond to security threats.
The document has currently been tabled before Parliament for parliamentary approval and adoption, while the ministry is currently considering the cost of the implementation of the various strategies captured by the document.
Mr Kan-Dapaah, who did not give the exact number of chieftaincy-related cases before the ministry, however, said “there is currently a chieftaincy issue in the northern part of the country”.
He said Ghana had, over the years, been a relatively peaceful country, even in the absence of a national security document, “but security challenges keep changing”.
He expressed worry over the increasing rate of cyber crime in especially the banking sector, saying it had gradually become a major security threat.
Additionally, he said, the secession incident recorded in the Volta Region must not be treated as an isolated incident.
“It is a new threat and we cannot take it for granted because it is possible it can rear its ugly head in other regions where people are also worried that they are being marginalised and not being given the opportunity to feel they are part of the country,” he said.
Mr Kan-Dapaah said terrorism and piracy in the Gulf region was also a security threat in the West African region, to which Ghana was not immune.
He said it was the multiple nature of the security challenge that led to the development of the NSS document, which profiles the security challenges and issues of concern and captures the approach that could be adopted to tackle them.
The best way to manage the security system, he said, was to adopt a multi-agency approach, with government agencies, non-governmental agencies, civil society organisations (CSOs), the media and other institutions working together to ensure that Ghana’s stability and security were maintained.
“In the past, there had been similar policy documents that had been developed in this country, such as Vision 2020, but most of those documents did not stand the test of time due to change of government and other reasons,” he indicated.
To make the NSS document stand the test of time, he said, the ministry deliberately involved relevant bodies and individuals, such as security experts in the various political parties, representatives of organised labour and CSOs, to contribute to the development of the policy.
Framework for security
The Vice-Chair of the committee, Mrs Ophelia Mensah Hayford, said the sensitisation would help members of the committee acquire the needed knowledge that would help them consider the document and write a good report that would facilitate debate on the document by all Members of Parliament (MPs).
The Ranking Member of the committee, Mr James Agalga, said Ghana was the first country in the West African sub-region to launch such a strategy document and commended the ministry for the inclusive approach adopted during the development of the document.
“The document reflects the aspirations and thinking of all Ghanaians and it is a framework that can ensure that security is effectively dealt with,” he said.
He said the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, had referred the document to the committee after it was laid before Parliament two months ago by the Minister for National Security.
“So we are hoping that this important document, after it has been adopted, will be fully implemented, and that the committee will still have a role to play so far as its implementation is concerned,” he said.