14 March 2018

Ghana: The Military Must Not Dent Image


The military has been in the news in the past month for the wrong reason. We believe if the behaviour of some of our world acclaimed gallant uniformed men is not checked, it may dent the image of the country as a respectable democratic state, where rule of law holds supreme.

It was reported last month that a group of soldiers destroyed about 185 bags of salt at the Mallam Market in an operation to reclaim a disputed land for the metropolitan authorities. The women who suffered the military brutalities claimed to have bought the land from the landowners.

Again, not long ago, they were in the news for allegedly accosting a policeman at Bolgatanga, the Upper East regional capital for wearing camouflage attire that is supposed to be for the military. We were told that but for the timely intervention by the Upper Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, there would have been a blood bath because the police had vowed to confront the soldiers for manhandling their colleague.

It is intriguing to hear of disagreement between a soldier and police. Fact is that they are all security agencies with clearly defined mandates. They have undertaken joint police-military operations severally in crime combat in this country, with the aim of protecting the people and ensuring law and order.

In another operation, military detachment on operations in the Northern Region, "Operations Vanguard" meant to protect water bodies from illegal mining activities and other crimes allegedly burnt down 14 tipper trucks and excavator used for illegal sand winning at the Dalun River which serves as the intake point of the Ghana Water Company Limited.

The Ghanaian Times is alarmed at the rate at which the soldiers engage in these acts; some clearly a violation of the rights of the people. If we are to consider that the soldiers take orders from their superiors, then we hold the view that some of the orders are unlawful.

We hold our military in very high esteem and know that they are a highly reputable institution, noted for discipline and professionalism and would not indulge in arbitrariness, especially in a volatile environment and attack a sister security personnel.

The military has played and continues to carry out important roles in the socio-economic development of this country by constructing (quick fix) bridges and undertaking social services to improve the well being of society.

It is public knowledge that the military has an array of professionals including doctors, nurses, pharmacist among other health workers, lawyers, administrators, engineers, communication experts, sports men and women. The expertise of the military have often time been deployed to the benefit of the civil population through the provision of emergency and humanitarian services both within the country and outside the country.

We have witnessed efforts at promoting civil-military mutual cooperation. The relationship must grow and grow well to the benefit of society.

We hope that these few unpalatable acts would not mar the good reputation that the military has built for itself. Rather, we envisage a much improved relationship with the civilian population, who must also appreciate the security agencies for what they do for our country.


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