MP Raps Gbevlo
MEMBER OF Parliament for Effia-Kwesimitim, Joe Baidoe-Ansah, says the National Security Coordinator, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, was speaking like a primary school child when he asked mobile phone service providers in the country to register all new SIM card subscribers by Christmas this year.
The MP described the order from National Security as “one of the many signs that Ghana is at the threshold of an authoritarian regime”, and said the eventual agenda was to bug, monitor and listen to telephone conversations of persons perceived to be political opponents of the government of the day.
Mr. Baidoe-Ansah, a legislator and former Minister of Trade and Industry, who additionally served at the ministries of Tourism as well as Aviation, told DAILY GUIDE that the order was an empty one which is not backed by any law, thus persons who choose to disobey cannot be punished in anyway by any person or group of persons.
He said if National Security is asking that mobile phone numbers be registered because the devise can be used to commit crime, then all persons who buy kitchen knives might as well be asked to register the device because it is also used in committing crimes.
“Gbevlo-Lartey has decided to occupy a gap that is not meant for him. The National Security Council has no such mandate to order any company or individual to register our phone numbers with our identity cards and personal detail.
“This is not backed by any law, and the hidden motive is to get to know which person is using which number so the government can monitor and listen to our calls, especially those of us perceived as political rivals.
The order is as empty as one coming from my son in primary school, and I ask the mobile phone companies to call his bluff. “There is also no law in Ghana that it is compulsory for people to have identity cards, so how do people who do not have ID cards get to register to own SIM cards? Or is Gbevlo saying they would be exempted or prevented from having mobile phones?” Baidoe-Ansah questioned.
The MP asked the said mobile phone companies to call the bluff of the National Security Coordinator, and noted that Ghana is “a democracy and not an authoritarian state where people can get up and give orders from their hearts, like a recent order from the Information Ministry that it would edit and vet all publications and video footage any foreign journalist intends to carry on Ghana, and the recent one in which they wanted to decide the fate of the GBC boss”.
Baidoe-Ansah said if the National Security Council really wanted to fight crime; it would have tackled more serious issues like proliferation of arms, not mobile phones. “This is a very lazy excuse supposed to explain why they want to listen to our private calls, and indeed the laziest way of fighting crime.
A mobile phone has not been used in attacking any person yet, but how many times have we not seen unlicensed guns being used in committing crime? Why are they not tackling that matter?” Baidoe-Ansah questioned.