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11.03.2009 Editorial

One for colonel damoah

By Daily Guide

THERE IS a drama unfolding which all Ghanaians must follow with interest. If what is happening is filmed, it could win an Oscar Award in the US.  I foretold Ghanaians what was going to happen when I wrote in this column a piece captioned “THE RETURN OF THE BUFFALO SOLDIER”. 

In fact, that was when president Mills assembled his security capos which included, General Arnold Quainoo, Major General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah and Lt. Colonel Gbevlo Lartey of the 64 Battalion fame.  I knew it would not be long before the axe starts to fall on the heads of some military officers who are perceived to be moving in sympathy with the out-gone NPP government.

And so it started like this:  420 full-blooded Ghanaians were to undergo training to be drafted into the Ghana Army.  The young men and women had packed bag and baggage from their towns to participate in the vigorous military training with the hope that they too would have the opportunity to serve the nation as soldiers.  

Immediately the Buffalo Soldier and his people were appointed, the training of these boys and girls were ordered to be stopped, because according to them, the qualifications of these potential recruits were suspicious.  Alas, the Buffalo Soldier had returned, all covered with vengeance.

Colonel Kwadwo Damoah, the former Director of Manpower and Personnel, who was in charge of the recruitment exercise of the 420 unfortunate Ghanaians, is now at the receiving end and he may likely be forced to retire prematurely from the Ghana Army.  

The intimidation, witch-hunting and harassments have already begun.  Remember I wrote in this column when president Mills started assembling his ministers that looking at the list, Mills will be in charge of the economy but surely Rawlings will be in charge of security and work behind the scene.  The fire has started burning and it seems no water can quench that fire.

Colonel Damoah, a lawyer and an accountant has come out to tell Ghanaians that Rawlings has polarized the army.  Making his submission before the Board Of Inquiry investigating the qualifications of the 420 recruits, the fine military officer had this to say: 

“Ex-president Rawlings told a political gathering at Peki, in the Volta Region, before the elections that Voltarians were being denied entry into the military. 

Certainly, such a sensitive statement coming from no less a personality than a former President and Founder of the ruling NDC fitted  into the grand scheme of some officers in the military and the NDC to portray me as the number one enemy”.   For me, this deliberate distortion of fact has provided easy fodder for the enemies of Colonel Damoah in the army.

Colonel Damoah, a citizen of Kwameseikrom in the Jaman South of the Brong Ahafo Region further stated that  ex-president Rawlings also stated at Tain in the Brong Ahafo Region that he (Damoah) had sent troops and ammunition to assassinate him and that he (Rawlings) was going to deal with him appropriately when the NDC came back to power. 

This is why I am really worried for the nice colonel. If a top military officer like Colonel Damoah comes out with such allegations, we as observers should be worried indeed.

Rawlings is an expert in “dealing” with people and he has many methods to do so.  He “dealt” with Arkaah who stepped on his toes. I don't think Colonel Damoah is safe in the army and the best option for him is to resign and practice law. 

If septuagenarians like Arnold Quainoo, Nunoo Mensah and Gbevlo-Lartey could be brought back to play a role in the security service, one day; Colonel Damoah will have his turn.  The former president is capable of doing anything to harm him now that the likes of Arnold Quainoo and Gbevlo-Lartey are in the system.  

But if something should happen to Colonel Damoah, I am afraid there will be mutiny in the army because the man is liked by a greater number of the soldiers.  Co-incidentally, Osahene Boakye Gyan, Rawlings' arch enemy is also from Jaman South. 

The Commander in Chief of the Ghana Army, in the person of President Mills, should as a matter of urgency, exert his authority in the army.

If he leaves things to the temperament of the so-called cadres and graduates of the 31st December Revolution and things go haywire, he will have himself to blame.  

Ex-President Kufuor did everything possible to unite the military for the eight years that he held the reins of power.  For those eight years that the man ruled the country, there was not a single coup attempt because the soldiers lived in harmony and as such had no cause to launch any coup.  The situation is different today because of the tribal politics Rawlings is playing in the Ghana army.

Because of the utterances of ex-president Rawlings in the run-up to the 2008 general election, the military is politicized and polarized.  It looks as if the situation at our barracks is what one would call, an uneasy calm.  The Voltarians in the army feel Rawlings; their man has come back, whereas the other tribes feel like orphans or aliens.  

This situation is not good for peaceful co-existence at the barracks. There is the likelihood that any personal misunderstanding between a Voltarian soldier and another from a different tribe could trigger trouble.  Good morning Colonel Damoah and may God, He who keepeth Israel, be with you and protect you.  (Will somebody say AMEN to that ?).

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