Quantson Tackles National Security

The one-time Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) last Tuesday differentiated regime security from national security in a bid to demystify the latter, which according to him, was a critical institution mandated to safeguard the total wellbeing of individuals within a country. By the time Kofi Bentum Quantson finished his address on the topic, “Beyond the Borders of National Security” at a roundtable discussion that was organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra, it was not difficult to understand why many people mistook regime security for national security. “National security would be useless if it does not serve the interest of the people,” he said. He explained that for national security to be relevant, the department should ensure the survival, safety, wellbeing and contentment of the citizenry. “While national security is concerned with the total wellbeing of the individuals, regime security seeks to ensure the interest of the regime in power. I want to draw a line between the two areas,” he emphasized. Mr. Quantson noted that in the course of ensuring regime security certain negative tendencies such as arrogance and impunity emerge. Governments, he added, are beset with the rather difficult challenge of managing national and regime interests. He noted that economic instability and bad governance were threats to national security, adding that some politicians go into politics to make money. Such an objective, he said, is an insult to the intelligence of the people. He revealed that globalisation poses as a threat to national security, pointing out that “such factors like the existence of failed states in the sub-region are potential sources of trouble.” Other factors which can disturb national security, he added, include ethnicity, inter and intra-party wrangling. In view of modern global trends, he called for a re-think about the role of the Ghana Armed Forces, adding that there is the need for Ghanaians to exorcise the coup mentality. Half-baked analysis, he noted, have the tendency to lead to people to make unsavoury statements, indicating that “when there is good governance there would be cause for unwarranted military interventions.” Mr. Quanston said the Ghana Armed Forces has never organized a coup, explaining the various interventions were undertaken by a section the institution. “Politicians are often responsible for inciting the military to undertake coups. A typical case was the General Acheampong intervention but with the exception of the June 4 coup, all military interventions in the country had the hand of politicians,” he stated. Turning the heat on the media, he charged personnel to be circumspect, saying that the trend had worsened over the years. “Where lies the importance of the media as the fourth estate of the realm,” he asked. The chairman of the event, Frank Adu-Poku who is also the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, posed two questions in his acceptance speech which was answered by Mr. Quantson. “National security and individual security which supersedes the other? Should national security be people-centered or people-sensitive?” he noted. Some people told Daily Guide that the one-time security chief did not offer much by way of solutions to the security challenges in the country. The programme was graced the National Security Adviser to the President, Brig Nunoo-Mensah (Rtd) and a cross section of politicians.