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05.06.2017 Opinion

John Peter Amewu’s Unguarded And Reckless Comment Sparked The Outrage Against The Military

Elikem Kwami Kotoko
Opinion John Peter Amewu’s Unguarded And Reckless Comment Sparked The Outrage Against The Military

It has been over a week since the nation of Ghana woke up to news of the unfortunate and gruesome murder of a young military officer with the rank of captain who was due for promotion to Major and the entire nation has still remained dumbfounded as to how such atrocious atrocity could be visited on a fellow human, though admittedly it was not the first of its kind that news of an innocent person was reported to have been lynched by a mob; mob justice. The unfortunate demise of the late Capt. Maxwell Adam Mahama in several ways could be associated to wrong decision by the Executive with the president as Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces and his appointee sector Minister of lands and natural resources.

Prior to the December 7 2016 elections, candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his very well coached to be loud running mate Dr. Mahmoud Bawumia during their tours assured the electorates living in mining areas where illegal small scale mining was prevalent that his administration when voted into power was never going to put an end to the illegal mining otherwise known in Ghanaian parlance as “galamsey” [coined from the phrase, gather and sell”], they further reiterated that their focus remains creating more jobs and therefore question rhetorically why he will be destroying the existing jobs.

[Find tape attached] Check the story out on .

The discerning Ghanaian voter apart from the “galamseyers” wondered how politicians could take for granted the intelligence of the citizenry and also assure them of their intention to mortgage the future of this country by looking on as the menace of galamsey became more and more visible in our environment. Aquatic lives were being destroyed and so was our forest reserves depleted with impunity.

Fortunately, it was only a campaign message to trick the masses to vote for them. Upon assumption of office, the Akufo-Addo led NPP government which strongly referred to the previous president Mahama as incompetent begun an exercise to stop all forms of galamsey in the country and the Minister for lands and natural resources, John Peter Amewu was the one championing this exercise. It was welcome news but as to if the modus operandi was the best, it is another story to be told later.

On Tuesday, May 23, the Minister of lands and natural resources, Mr. John Peter Amewu was quoted as having categorically said in an interview on a radio station that the military was solidly covering some galamsey operators. It was also captured in various newspapers and websites and can be verified on " " This was a very strong accusation of our military and one wondered what was his exact motivation to level such a serious accusation against the military. In fact, his statement was not only reckless and unguarded but unfounded and unsubstantiated. One still wonders why the military itself woefully failed to appropriately respond immediately to that accusation but well, in our part of the world instead of actors, artistes, etc, being our celebrities, stars, icons or movers and shakers, our politicians are rather the ones.

That singular unguarded commentary of an accusation by the sector Minister sparked some sudden hatred for the military who have for so long been considered a very principled institution which stands for integrity. The military has always enjoyed a certain air of respect but that dropped the moment citizens heard news of their alleged involvement in galamsey. Obviously, every Tom, Dick and Harry felt if the military high command was involved in galamsey, then indeed we were not safe as a country because that was abominable. At variance with this comment by Mr. Amewu, his own government in the fight against galamsey deployed military personnel to various mine sites to curb the activity and Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama was one of such fine men sent on such duties. The biggest question however is WHY THE MILITARY? Our military’s core mandate remains to protect and defend our territorial borders against any foreign or external aggression. The military could only be called on when the police which is responsible for internal security is considered incapable of containing a situation at hand. Under the circumstance in question, whoever deployed the military on such a mission ‘misapplied’ the state weapon/asset and should bow his head in shame; the ultimate responsibility in this regard lies at the very door of the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Juxtaposing the Minister’s comments against that of the suspended DCE, who in my view should be summarily dismissed instead of being suspended, it appears this government chose before long ago to play politics with the death of this innocent Captain who swore to protect and defend the people of his nation, only to be killed by the very people he swore to protect.

It is worthy to also remind the reading public that a senior military officer was recently changed and guess why, before the 2016 elections he moved in to seize some excavators from miners believed to be sympathetic to the then opposition NPP therefore immediately the election was won by the NPP, government went in for him. Till date, there has not been any single reason for the actions taken against this senior military officer, why are we gradually extending politics into the ranks and file of our most disciplined institution?

Now, based on the comments of Mr. Amewu, it is very obvious that the community may immediately develop some hatred for any soldier they spot in their mining communities with the prejudice that they are there to protect and in effect engage in the galamsey themselves for their senior commanders. As citizens, isn’t it possible therefore that in their anger and upon spotting a known military man in their neighbourhood they decided to “give a dog a bad name so they can hung it”? They chose to pretend and call Capt. Mahama an armed robber just so it will be convenient enough for them to extend this dastardly inhuman act to him. The military at this point is still nursing the wounds of their fallen soldier and I can also bet that one of their staunch enemy aside the people of Denkyira Obuasi is the current Minister of lands and natural resources, Mr. John Peter Amewu.

In my candid view as a citizen, it is time the president recalls our soldiers to the barracks where they belong to curb such occurrences. Captain Mahama was a very decent military officer who lived and died for the very oath he swore; to protect and defend the people of Ghana. Even when the people he swore turned against him and threatened his life and eventually took it, he only struggled to free himself when he could have fired at as many as fifteen or even more to go down with him.

Mr. Amewu at best should be wise enough as an appointee of the Commander-in-Chief of the GAF to see wisdom in aplogising to the military if he intends to continue to work with them and its best he knows the military may not necessarily come out to condemn him for his statements but they were not and are not pleased with his accusations. His comment has left a scar on the minds of the gallant soldiers!!! Appointees should not see themselves as Lords and begin to see themselves larger than the positions they occupy. The fight against galamsey is a worthy course but if not handled properly could become a time bomb.

We must all get involved so we grow Stronger Together and make all things Possible Together. Our prayers are with the family of the late Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama’s family and we expect nothing short of justice.

God bless our homeland Ghana
~Elikem Kotoko, (ek)
Twitter: @elikem31
Facebook: Elikem Kwami Kotoko
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