Against all norms of decency and relevance, certain anomalous attitudes and practices have become synonymous with the word “bodyguard” in our part of the world, unfortunately.
For quite sometime now, we have all unconsciously looked on as some bodyguards of our front line national figures have devised to attract to themselves far more limelight than they actually deserve, at times even jostling publicly with those they are supposed to be bodyguarding, to be caught by camera lenses of TV crews or newspapermen!
Without doubt, bodyguards have the onerous duty and responsibility to protect the lives of those high-profile figures assigned to them and to ensure their general safety at all times. Yes! But there is need for some professional restraint on the part of these human shields, under all circumstances. Therefore, they are not meant to compete with their charges for attention, nor dare to upstage them.
Precisely so, is perhaps why whatever “rules of engagement” relating to these “uniformed men” (occasionally- ‘women’) – some preferring dark sunglasses and all − need to be revised to more clearly establish a better “code-of-conduct” or specific parameters for a healthier operational spectrum of these guards.
By all means, the “big men” they protect need to have unimpeded access to the public limelight that is made possible by media exposure. This is necessary to ensure that these personalities convey their policy aspirations and other messages to the larger citizenry who cannot always be present at every event. Another important reason why leaders need to remain at the centre stage is to assure their followers or electorate and general admirers that those they elected or appointed to high positions are, indeed, alive and carrying on with the jobs for which they were chosen into office.
It is in this regard, therefore, that bodyguards or security personnel around such national figures are least expected to jockey with their “bosses” for prime media attention. Otherwise, they would not only be compromising their state of alertness to ward off potential threats to such very important personalities (VIPs). They would also be impeding and clearly obstructing the official work of those they are paid to protect. At best, therefore, all they can do is to blend into the background as unobtrusively as possible, and thus become more effective in their functional roles!
This brings us to the issue of “Aides-de-camp” or ADCs, “per se”. As it were, it takes the combined efforts of several individuals forming the respective “security details” who literally “kill” themselves on a daily basis to ensure the protection and convenience of the President, his Vice and other state dignitaries. However, it is only the apexes of these teams or those “lucky” ones who often claim the singular topmost spots as the “seen” ADCs that we are talking about here.
Whether as soldiers or policemen (occasionally females), they remain nothing beyond the “dignified” bodyguards that they are, pure and simple! So in no way are they supposed to be sharing the President, Vice and others’ public positions with them. They are, therefore, not expected to compete or dare attempt to upstage their bosses when it comes to filming or videoing the activities of these VIPs anywhere.
Interestingly, however, a cursory look within Ghana from the Rawlings’s era in particular, and around Africa in general, can confirm something quite peculiar about these “uniformed men” paid to be around our “big men”. Repeatedly, most of these our continental ADCs keep displaying a penchant for making themselves “seen”, with some caught on camera grinning or giggling along with dignitaries when some State Presidents, etc., share jokes with their august audiences ! Yet, is it doubtful when supposed bodyguards or security-detail members get “cleared” to assert their presence or become part of the action and public attention that,