The Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, has assured Parliament that some 800 police personnel would be deployed to provide security for members at home at all times.
Another 200 police personnel would be deployed to the Parliamentary Protection Unit to serve as bodyguards for Members of Parliament (MPs) from October to the end of 2020.
He said just like other state officials who fell under Article 71, including judges, ministers of state, the Speaker and the leadership of Parliament, the 200 additional police officers would be added to the parliamentary police detail “to take care of Members of Parliament.”
“Subsequently, we should have 800 police added so that each Member of Parliament will also have security at home in the day and night,” he stated.
MPs without security
Currently, of the 275 MPs, 67 are ministers and deputy ministers and they, as well as the leadership made up of the Speaker, First and Second Deputy Speakers, the Majority Leader and other leadership of the House have police bodyguards. Two hundred are without police security.
MPs are exposed
At the briefing of Parliament which was held behind closed doors yesterday, Mr Dery explained that just as judges were exposed because they took decisions that could affect people adversely, the situation of MPs was even worse but they were constantly in the public light in the line of duty.
“When a Member of Parliament gets up to speak, his or her name is printed and we do know very serious decisions are taken in Parliament which have some ramifications for some people as they bring proposals that are either not accepted or they are reduced.
“Whatever it is, they know what each individual Member of Parliament says in the House.
“Secondly, we do know that in our politics we are still awakening to perfect our capacity for tolerance and therefore we can have situations where MPs are exposed,” he stated.
Prior to the briefing, the Speaker announced that the minister had requested a closed-door briefing, and he (Speaker) requested all non-members of the House to leave.
“It is my order that all non-members and spectators should please excuse us,” he ordered.
However, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, objected to a closed-door briefing since Ghanaians were interested in the matter but the Speaker overruled his objection.
Eventually, all media personnel and visitors excused the House and it took the Interior Minister two hours to brief members on measures he was instituting to protect them.
The Interior Minister’s briefing followed an invitation extended to him by the Speaker to come and brief members on safety measures he would put in place to protect them, following the murder of the MP for Mfantseman, Mr Ekow Quansah Hayford, who was allegedly shot by armed robbers in the early hours of last Friday as he returned from a campaign tour.
More police to protect MPs
Mr Dery, who is also the MP for Nandom, said since 1992, there had been a police established unit on the precinct of the Parliament to ensure the protection of MPs.
He, however, said the challenge was that when legislators left the premises of the legislative body they enjoyed no protection.
He added that the protection of MPs had been part of the general national security architecture which was being taken care of by a number of strategies that had been put in place such as “Enhanced operation calm life” to combat armed robbery and violent crime, as well as counter terrorism to protect the country’s borders.
“Within this, we have the protection of Members of Parliament; however, the truth on the ground is that so far the extent has been limited,” he said.
He pointed out that while there were insufficient security men in the past, today the retooling of the security agencies and with the support of President and Parliament “we have more security personnel available.”
The minster added that the Ghana Police Service had also directed that police personnel in the regions across the country should also provide protection to MPs and other parliamentary candidates just like the security offered to the citizenry.