What A Shame!

A military attack on the police, now a common occurrence, has never attracted such a public bashing. Coming after the deliberate and great pain taken to repair the battered image of the Ghana Armed Forces by the then Defence Minister, Dr. Kwame Addo and the military high command after the nasty scenes of the PNDC junta, it is regrettable.

The annual open day activity, part of the calendar of the military which Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor supported as part of his efforts to enhance the image of the military and create a sustainable and cordial relationship between the Armed Forces and their civilian counterparts, went a long way in achieving its goal. The ‘Armed Forces Is A Friend’ billboards strewn across the country were part of the efforts to reverse the image of midnight kidnappings and disappearances associated with the PNDC junta and by extension the Armed Forces when the Kufuor administration took over the helm. And now we inadvertently recruit into the colours what can be described as social media age boys who think that what they heard about the PNDC days can be replicated today; their conduct threatening the good image chalked by the military after the bloody days of the PNDC.

What happened in Tamale could have been worse than was witnessed because the soldiers involved knew in the end nothing was going to happen to them.

Ghanaians are disappointed in the military for harbouring such undisciplined soldiers and would want to see concrete action taken against the defaulters and same put on the public domain. Indeed if the criminal action demands that the suspects be handed over to the police so they are prosecuted, so be it.

We think that the training programme at the recruits training centre must be upgraded so that those who join the colours will appreciate the importance of discipline in the profession they have chosen. With such fractured relationship, how would the two security agencies be able to undertake internal security operations when the need arises?

We have heard about an engagement between the heads of both the military and the police. We are not enthused because this would not be the first time that such a meeting is taking place.

For us, due process should take place lest a worst scenario is unfolded in the future and besides the pedigree of the Armed Forces in the international community, the United Nations Peacekeeping missions, in particular, should not be associated with such moral contaminant as being witnessed. It is no longer a matter of pockets of indiscipline but a widespread phenomenon. On Thursday, the unenviable occurrence was captured on the BBC’s Focus on Africa. What a shame!

Nobody is above the law; soldiers and the police alike should know this. It is for this reason that when in the face of a breach nobody is investigated and prosecuted, a dangerous precedence is being created which does not inure to the interest of national security.

The law must not only work but must be seen to be working no matter the status of the defaulters.