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Military Brutality!

Daily Guide
7 March 2013 | Editorial
Soldiers slapping Vincent Dzatse, at the Independence Square yesterday
Soldiers slapping Vincent Dzatse, at the Independence Square yesterday

The military high command, in spite of its efforts at changing the image of the Armed Forces, a project which has sapped a substantial amount of money and time, is still far from meeting that noble objective.

We recall the annual open day interaction between the military and people from the civilian streets, especially school children, a project which started during the Kufuor administration. It is now an annual feature on the military calendar intended to demystify the Armed Forces whose responsibility is the defence of the country's sovereignty including supporting the civil police in managing internal security operations when situations demand such collaboration.

Unfortunately, some soldiers with a warped impression about the military take the law into their hands and brutalise the civilians they are tasked to protect by abusing the notion that 'soldiers are trained to kill.'

We wish to add that they are not trained to kill their compatriots as being done in Syria, but foreigners who seek to invade our country or breach our territorial integrity, period.

The military is a disciplined institution where every action is orderly and prescribed; little wonder that even the firing of weapons must be ordered, as under firing control orders.

A picture elsewhere in this edition does not cast the military in good light. At the age of 56, Ghana should have gone past such a realm of brutish conduct endemic to countries at the lower rungs of the civilization ladder where piracy on the sea is still a worrying feature.

A country, which prides herself as possessing disciplined officers and men with an international peacekeeping pedigree, such as Ghana, should not have a place for unruly personnel who misuse the battle PT, tactics, field craft, weapon and foot and weapon drill among other important subjects they learnt at either the recruits training centre or the Military Academy.

The military training is intended to prime them to render service to their compatriots as disciplined officers and men but not to brutalise them at the least provocation.

The picture under review depicts military policemen including an officer descending upon a press photographer whose only crime was that he was standing outside a security zone at the Independence Square yesterday.

Not even an explanation- he was not talking back- could save him from the imbecility and madness of the soldiers who make it look like undergoing a military training transforms one into a brute with no thinking cap. When have we ever heard British or American soldiers assaulting their compatriots during national celebrations?

What is even mind-boggling was that an officer, a gentleman and a Captain for that matter, who was present at the time, did not stop the bad nuts from manhandling their fellow Ghanaian but rather partook in the act and boasting that 'soldiers are trained to kill.'

At the age of 56, our country's Armed Forces should be different from the Gold Coast Constabulary days when the colonial masters used the 'buga buga' soldiers of the Captain Glovers Hausas to subjugate our forebears.

We are compelled to recall the Isa Mobila incident and how some soldiers were arrested for their role in the murder of the politician and the subsequent reaction of the law.

Officers and men should remember that being bound by two sets of laws- military and civil- behooves them to be more responsible and circumspect in their dealings with their civilian compatriots.

By this editorial, we request that the military high command institute disciplinary action against the Captain and his platoon for their inappropriate conduct on a day we are supposed to showcase the progress, if any, we have made since 6 th March 1957. What a shame on an anniversary day!

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Daily Guide

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