With both the NDC and NPP tottering at 137 and 138 MPs (including Independent) respectively, the precarious nature of the power balance in Parliament brings to fore the urgent need for MPs to exercise extra precaution in ensuring their safety.
One might wonder how numbers in Parliament relate to the security of MPs.
Well, the uncomfortable truth is, politics in Ghana has become so grime that some people, thirsty for power, do anything under the sun to grab it. Therefore, in the unfortunate demise of an MP from either side, power could tectonically shift and cause major parliamentary re-engineering. As a result, probable politically motivated violence against MPs has become dire.
A lot is at stake, hence, MPs, especially those who were elected under extremely contentious grounds should take personal security more seriously.
These are a few tips worth considering;
1. Equip homes with surveillance and alarm systems
2. Avoid announcing itinerary especially those done late at night
3. Travel on populated, well-lit streets at night. If possible, travel with a friend or in a group
4. Conduct background checks on domestic help
5. Do not grant artisans too much access to your home
6. MPs elect moving into new accommodation should change all locks if third parties have previously had access to the keys
7. Pay attention to other cars behind you. Criminals can trail you the whole day
8. Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. Call if you are going to be late
9. Immediately send GPS coordinates of your current location to someone you trust if things don’t look or feel right
10. Have your keys in hand before you reach your car or door
11. Install GPS tracking devices in your vehicles
12. Use automated gates with remote controllers. You don’t have to wait outside for the main gates to be opened. You can easily be ambushed at your entrance
13. Park your car in a well-lighted area and lock it when you leave. Check for uninvited passengers in the back seat or on the floor before you get in
In the end, vigilance at all times is your surest bet. Don’t make it easy for the criminal to make you a victim.
The writer is a Security Analyst/Executive Director
Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building