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08.10.2008 Editorial

Ex-generals must behave well


The National Security recently took Ghanaians by surprise when it announced the banning of a number of ex-Security capos from entering all police and military installations in the country. The decision follows Chronicle publication about a meeting held between the affected officers and former President Rawlings to discuss security and other matters affecting the country.

Since the announcement, Ghanaians have expressed mixed reactions about the issue. Some people hold the view that the ban was too harsh while others also believe that looking at the old ages of the ex-Security capos, who met the former President at his Ridge residence, it is incomprehensible and an over exaggeration to conclude that they are capable of plotting a coup.

Some of the ex-Security heads who were involved in the said meeting, especially Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah, has gone public and harshly criticized the government for attempting to prevent him from commenting on national issues. Just as the issue about the much-publicised meeting and the subsequent punishment was about to die down, former President Rawlings has once again decided to rekindle it. During last Saturday's launch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto in Accra, Mr. Rawlings used the opportunity to introduce the ex-Generals who served under him, including those who attended the controversial meeting in his house.

The Chronicle finds the former President's decision and that of the ex-Generals to attend the manifesto launch, which was a purely political affair to be very unfortunate. Their conduct has completely eroded the argument that the infamous meeting was not meant to discuss party matters, but national issues. Even though the Generals who were introduced by Rawlings at the manifesto launch were no more serving military officers, they should have at least made known to Ghanaians that they were now actively into partisan politics.

If their political colouration was known to all, then nobody would begrudge them for attending functions that are political in nature. To us at The Chronicle, the said Generals have compromised their neutrality. Nobody would take them serious the next time they hold discussions with the former President and claim to be discussing national matters.

Their behaviour seem to have justified the action that was taken against them by the National Security, which was condemned by a section of the population.

Looking at the tension that their meeting with Rawlings created in the country, the Generals should have distanced themselves from the manifesto launch, even if they are die-hard supporters of the party, to dispel the perception that they had ulterior motives during the controversial meeting with Mr. Rawlings.

Supporting NDC is not a crime and nobody can fault them for pursuing their freedom of association, but as we noted earlier, they should let the public know their political stand, so that whatever action they take, the people would know how to hold them accountable.

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