Do unto “watchmen” as thou would Have others do unto thee!’
It is often referred to as the Golden Rule. It simply states in Matthew 7: 12 that, “do unto others as thou will have them do unto you………!”
It underscores the basic principle of treating all human beings well irrespective of status. Indeed, the United Nations Charter on Human Rights enjoins all to be treated well irrespective of race, colour, creed etc!
Additionally, Article 17 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution states;
(1) All persons shall be equal before the law.
(2) A person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.
Disrespect demanding Respect?
So why should people demanding the right to be respected demean others for just doing their work? Why should a director/head who had been sent to receive a petition by “Occupy Bank of Ghana” demonstrators be called an ordinary “watchman?” Does one’s economic/social status as a watchman take away his dignity and right to be respected as a human being?
As former Governor of the Bank of Ghana Dr Kwabena Duffour stated subsequently, in the absence of the Governor and his two deputies, the Secretary should have been tasked to receive the petition and not the Head of Security. But did that give cause for the person of the Director of Security to be derogated?
Ironically, while demanding respect, the MPs/demonstrators disrespected the person of the Director whose only offence was complying with instructions to receive the petition on behalf of the Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
Equally disrespectful was the Governor of Bank of Ghana’s description of the MPs and demonstrators as “hooligans!” Article 21 (1d) states;
“(1) All persons shall have the right to— “(d) freedom of assembly including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations;”
By his logic, is he calling all past/future leaders demonstration leaders hooligans?
In any case, who is this “watchman?”
Before then, my friend Nana, former Chairman of the National Media Commission who sent me the profile from Wa of the “watchman,” reiterated his constant demand of me.
He said, “General, this reinforces my demand that, your Public Relations Directorate must educate Ghanaians about the military, so we get ourselves out of the colonial mold of negative thinking of the military as a rough profession of illiterates.”
Unfortunately, this negative stereotyping of the military gained ground following the atrocities of 4th June 1979/31st December 1981 with the execution of Generals, murder of judges, killing/disappearance of ordinary Ghanaians etc, and the resultant fear, massive doses of indiscipline and disrespect.
This created the “culture of silence” Ghanaians are yet to fully recover from.
The gentleman described as an ordinary “watchman” is Wing Commander (Lieutenant-Colonel) Kwame Asare-Boateng (Rtd), Esquire, Head of Security at the Bank-of-Ghana. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and a Masters’ degree in International Relations both from the University of Ghana, Legon. In 2007 he was called to the Bar as a lawyer.
While in the Armed Forces, he served in United Nations international assignments including peacekeeping missions like UNIFIL (Lebanon) and UNMIL (Liberia) as a Legal Officer. He retired honourably from the Ghana Armed Forces after twenty-six years’ service to Ghana and the world. In 2019, he joined the Bank of Ghana as a Director/Head of Security.
This is a brief profile of the “watchman” disdainfully and disrespectfully referred to. In any case, does a watchman not deserve respect because he is a watchman? Do we all have to be in parliament to deserve respect from fellow Ghanaians?
On the same “Occupy Bank-of-Ghana” demonstration which annoyed MPs because the Governor did not come personally to receive their petition, an angry MP used language no decent Ghanaian would ever use. To describe himself and some of his colleagues as “gutter boys” who can do anything unthinkable leaves a lot to be said about some of the people who represent us. As I watched proceedings on TV, I felt ashamed of myself as a Ghanaian.
He has since apologized. However, in her 11th October 2023 article in the Graphic titled “How not to apologise,” Madame Elizabeth Ohene stated as follows:
“If the MP indeed wanted to apologise, he would not be directing it to “all those offended”, he would know that the apology should be directed to everybody, without any qualifications.”
He and his colleagues must learn that, they are ordinary mortals capable of making mistakes. They must therefore not think of themselves as saints when addressing us sinners!
Society expects decorum in speech from officials who have such high academic credentials, and have been elected to represent us. Describing themselves as “gutter boys” capable of doing the unthinkable is unfortunate! In an earlier article titled “13th January - Bring back Civics and History,” I suggested the return of these subjects into our curriculum to sanitise the current free-for-all disrespect dealing with fellow Ghanaians! For, a society which does not respect itself will not be respected by others.
Additionally, I recommend that future MPs before they enter the Chamber, do an orientation course including a basic ethics of Military Level 101 “Fundamental Officer Training” on ‘Word Choice and Tone,’ and only one week at the Jungle Warfare School where among others like Discipline, they will be treated to delicious snake-meat!
Finally, always remember the Golden Rule, “do unto others as thou will have them do unto thee.” (Matthew 7:12).
Leadership, lead!! Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP!
The writer is a Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA), Nairobi, Kenya and Council Chairman, Family Health University College Teshie, Accra