Let’s create a new image for Africa: Commander Aduhene-Benieh

Story and Photos by E. Obiri Addo

“Africa always springs surprises” (Ex Africa simper Aliquid novi), so wrote the Roman historian Pliny the Elder. But these surprises seem to be almost always negative. The challenge to Africans now is to create `positive surprises’”
Commander Justice Aduhene-Benieh of the Ghana Police made this observation during a public lecture at Centenary College, in Hackettstown, NJ on Monday, November 18, 2013. Commander Aduhene-Banieh who currently serves with the Africa Union Police (AUPOL) in Somalia, East Africa spoke on the topic, “Terrorism and International Peace Keeping in Somalia” to a large audience of faculty, students and administration. He argued that Somalia is now considered as a “failed state” where all national institutions have virtually crumbled.
“A former colony of Italy and Great Britain, Somalia became a sovereign state in 1960, but it declined into an authoritarian socialist state from 1969 to 1990. Added to its peculiar colonial history, its complex and dynamic clan structure made it descend into anarchy, turmoil and factional
fighting,” he stated. He also explained that there are sixteen major and minor clans all carving out fiefdoms that vie for control of the country’s vital resources including sea ports which for some time engendered piracy in international waters. He painted a bleak scenario of the current situation in Somalia, a country of ten million people: Life expectancy for men and women are 49 and 51 years respectively. School life expectancy is three years for males and two for females, with an infant mortality rate of 101.1/1000 live births.
“These gloomy statistics can be seen across the African continent today and all this form the core of terrorism as we read in the news. The
bombing and massacre at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi indicate that no country is safe if we plant seeds of failed states anywhere in the world. We need to change failed states to viable states, because failed states breed terrorism”, he stated.
Commander Aduhene-Benieh outlined the mandate, activities, achievements as well as challenges of AUPOL, the AMISON police component. “The AUPOL (Africa Union Police) is charged to build the capacity of the Somali Police Force into a professional force in accordance with principles of democratic policing. This would enforce and maintain public order and protect Somali citizens, especially the vulnerable groups,” he explained. The challenges in achieving these goals include the volatility of the current security situation, inadequate office accommodation, and logistics, and above all language barriers which translate into cultural challenges.
Before his deployment to Somalia in May 2013, Superintendent Aduhene-Benieh was the District Police Commander (DCP) at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana. He had excelled in community policing at the Nima Police District in Accra which won him an international award.
Commander Aduhene-Benieh holds a Master of Arts degree in Peace and Development Studies from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, and Bachelor of Science in International Economics and Business from Ostfold University College in Halden, Norway.
The Commander was in the United States to attend a one-week seminar in peace keeping in Washington, D.C. His tripe was sponsored by two faculty members of Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey, Professors Christopher Linne and Norm Cetuk. They both teach Criminal Justice and have brought students to Ghana for service learning in the past.

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Posted by on Dec 18 2013. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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