The Minority caucus in parliament has stated that the decision by the military high command to withdraw soldiers providing security services to the Office of the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, is politically motivated.
According to the caucus, the Akufo-Addo government would be held responsible should anything untoward befall the Speaker.
The caucus in a statement signed by its leader, Haruna Iddrissu, said it is saddened and strongly denounces the development.
It said it believes that the soldiers’ attachment to the Office of the Speaker of Parliament could have been regularized without withdrawing them assuming the claim that it did not follow due procedure was true.
“The Minority in Parliament is saddened and strongly denounce the withdrawal by President Akufo-Addo’s government of the military detail attached to the office of the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Alban Bagbin with effect from the 14th January, 2022… If the action of the military high command is in good faith, the irregularity in relation to the attachment could be rectified without necessarily having to withdraw the personnel,” it said.
“The minority is certain that the action of the military high command relative to the withdrawal of Mr Speaker’s security detail is politically motivated… The minority shall hold the government of President Akufo Addo responsible should the security of Rt. Hon Alban Bagbin , the Speaker of Parliament be compromised in any way,” it added.
A recent letter from the Chief of Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, NP Andoh to the Speaker said the four officers were attached ‘without proper procedure.’
The officers, WO1 Jafaru Bunwura, WOII Apugiba Awine David, S/Sgt Agbley Prosper and Sgt. Bonney Prince have been serving Bagbin’s office since he became Speaker in January 2021.
“It is humbly requested that the personnel are withdrawn with effect from 14 January 2022 while efforts are made to regularize their attachment,” the letter stated.
The news has been received with shock with the Office of the Speaker of Parliament questioning the motive behind the withdrawal of the soldiers.
The office described the move as an attempt to strip the Speaker of protection and believes such is untenable and sets a bad precedent.
The Ministry of National Security has also said despite the withdrawal, Alban Bagbin still has security protection and soldiers are deployed to provide such services on need basis.
But the minority is against the move.
It expressed surprise at the development given that the Clerk to Parliament had written formally to request the personnel and the officers were duly deployed to be attached to the Office of the Speaker of Parliament, serving the office since January 2021.
Read the minority’s full statement below:
STATEMENT BY THE PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS OF THE NDC ON THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE MILITARY SECURITY DETAIL OF THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT, RT. HON ALBAN BAGBIN BY THE NANA AKUFO ADDO LED GOVERNMENT.
The Minority in Parliament is saddened and strongly denounce the withdrawal by President Akufo-Addo’s government of the military detail attached to the office of the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Alban Bagbin with effect from the 14th January, 2022. It is pertinent to note that the only reason given for the shameful withdrawal of Mr Speaker’s security detail is that the attachment was done without following the proper procedure. Curiously, the government fails and/ or omits to spell out the procedure for the attachment of military personnel to high profile personalities such as the speaker of Parliament.
If the action of the military high command is in good faith, the irregularity in relation to the attachment could be rectified without necessarily having to withdraw the personnel.
The only logical conclusion a reasonable mind would draw with respect to the failure of government to indicate the nature of the procedure supposedly breached by Mr Speaker’s outfit is that proper procedure was followed for which reason the military high command had no difficulty attaching the military personnel in question to his office. Indeed, the Clerk to Parliament on the 21st January, 2021 did write to the chief of staff of the Armed Forces and duly requested the attachment of the military personnel in question. At this point, the chief of staff did not detect any procedural irregularities in relation to Mr Speaker’s request. However, one year on the same chief of staff who on behalf of the military high command granted the request now wants Ghanaians to believe that he acted in error in the first instance? The posturing of the chief of staff in this regard is to say the least preposterous.
The minority states further without any equivocation that the attachment of military personnel to the office of the speaker is not an isolated incident at all. For instance, members of the executive branch of government other than the president and Vice President who are below the speaker of Parliament in terms of status and rank as provided for in the constitution have at various times had soldiers attached to their offices. A notable example is the current Attorney General and Minister for Justice who, even as deputy Attorney General had a soldier for his bodyguard.
Another example of a state official below the speaker in terms of status and rank who roams town with military protection is the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, madam Jean Mensah.
Flowing from the above, the minority is certain that the action of the military high command relative to the withdrawal of Mr Speaker’s security detail is politically motivated and calculated to diminish his confidence in his bid to impartially and independently steer the affairs of the legislative arm of government.
In the circumstances, the minority shall hold the government of President Akufo Addo responsible should the security of Rt. Hon Alban Bagbin , the speaker of Parliament be compromised in any way.
We further call for the immediate withdrawal of the letter with ref no: GH/ 1002/ 01/ COS written on behalf of the armed forces by the chief of staff and purporting to withdraw the military personnel attached to Mr Speaker’s office.
Signed: Minority leader, Hon Haruna Iddrissu.