*The whole inside story
Story: Atta Kwaku BOADI
Contrary to reasons given by the military high command for withdrawing the security detail of the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, Today Newspaper can confirm that it was rather due to the refusal of Mr Bagbin to do the bidding of the ruling government in respect to the E-Levy’s approval.
The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in a letter dated January 11, 2022 and addressed to Mr Bagbin indicated the withdrawal of four military personnel attached to his office because they were assigned ‘without proper procedure’.
According to GAF, efforts were being made to regularise their attachment to the Speaker of Parliament.
The letter which was signed by the Chief of Staff of GAF, Major General Nicholas Peter Andoh said, the withdrawal was to take effect from Friday, January 14, 2022.
However, our sources at the Office of the Speaker of Parliament suspected political underpinning in the whole issue.
According to our investigations, two weeks ago five leading members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government had a meeting with the Speaker to apologise to him on behalf of the party and the Majority for certain comments which some members of NPP including some of their Members of Parliament (MPs) made against him and his his office following the fracas that ensued in parliament over the E-Levy approval.
But Mr Bagbin, our sources said, told the NPP’s delegation to go and use same platforms they used to attack him to apologise to him and Ghanaians.
“I’m not a Speaker for any political party not even my party, NDC. I am a Speaker for Ghana and that’s how it will be under my reign”, Mr Bagbin was reported to have told them.
He was also purported to have added: ” Those people did not only attack me but our democracy and one of the most important democratic institutions in the country which I represent”.
The NPP who prior to their meeting with the Speaker our sources at the corridors of power said, had vowed to deal with Mr Bagbin over his certain utterances was obviously not happy with the Speaker’s response to their apology.
It therefore did not come as a surprise to Mr Bagbin acccording to sources at his office as he (Mr Bagbin) knew all kinds of plots were being hatched against him.
Attempts by his office to reach the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, Today gathered proved futile as calls placed on all his mobile phone lines went unanswered.
This was after the said letter had been written to him to release the four military officers assigned.
Meanwhile, Mr Bagbin has described the move as an attempt to deny him of security protection.
Notwithstanding, his office in a statement had questioned the motive behind the withdrawal of the military attache’.
It also described the move as “bad precedent for the country’s democracy”.
According to the statement, the development set Mr Bagbin up for harm.
“In a country that takes pride in its democratic institutions and processes, the decision to reduce the number of security personnel assigned to the Speaker detracts from the political gains that Ghana has made, and it is a bad precedent”, the statement said.
According to the statement the unknown reason for such a move was puzzling, but the real motive should be obvious to all objective observers of the political scene in Ghana.
“If it is an attempt to gag the Speaker, this move will serve to only widen the gap between the legislature and other arms of government. It also hints at a possibility of a plot to place the safety and security of the Speaker in harm’s way”, the statement indicated.
But the government through the Ministry of National Security has denied the move is a scheme to strip of Mr Bagbin’s protection.
The ministry in a terse statement said,the withdrawal of the military personnel did not translate into downgrading of the security detail of the Speaker of Parlaiment.
The statement further said rationale behind the move had been misconstrued as a deliberate ploy by the Executive