Soldier killed in land dispute at Millennium City near Kasoa
Soldier killed in land dispute at Millennium City near Kasoa
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Killing a soldier?

On April 30, 2024, a soldier in uniform was reported to have been shot dead at Kasoa over a land dispute.

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Initial reports that the assailant was a National Security operative as he was known in the community were quickly denied by the ministry. The soldier who was gunned down in front of the Kasoa Police-Station was said to have accompanied a colleague whose half-plot of land was being encroached on.

Sadly, a Kasoa resident/landowner lamenting the soldier’s death stated, “knowing the track record here with law enforcement, nothing will come out of this!” This incident reminded me of my December 2020 article in the Daily Graphic titled Sirens, Slaps and Handcuffs vrs Rice, Oil and Drinks? Part read:

“When I heard the news, I asked myself, can this be true? A Warrant-Officer-Class-One (WO1) of the Ghana Armed Forces in uniform with Ghana’s Coat-of-Arms on his right wrist indicating his rank, slapped, beaten and handcuffed in broad daylight by five National Security personnel? 

Shakespeare

As I thought about this, my mind went to Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Lady Macduff was advised to flee with her children to avoid being murdered. She answered, 
“Whither should I fly? For I have done no harm.

But I remember now, I am in this earthly world, where to do harm is often laudable. To do good, is sometimes accounted dangerous human folly.

Why then alas, do I put up that womanly defence to say, I have done no harm?

Shakespeare simply restated man’s inhumanity to man in the statement “to do harm is often laudable!” Human beings inflict pain and humiliation on others for no reason than to show power.

 Such perpetrators do so with impunity because they know nothing will happen to them. A WO 1 was beaten for causing no harm!

Denkyira-Obuasi

During my sojourn outside in 2017, a local retired General called to find out if I had seen the video-clip of the gruesome murder of a Ghanaian Army Captain by some villagers. After expressing his disbelief and shock, he angrily asked me, “is that wicked village still on the map of Ghana?” 

Sirens

On Wednesday, November 25, 2020, WO 1 Mashud Salia was driving to Michel Camp, Tema. When sirens from Toyota land-cruiser-V8s started wailing for lesser mortals to get off the road. Try as he did, the WO could not go off the congested road.

He was pulled out, slapped, beaten, handcuffed and then driven to Michel Camp. In February 2020, I was driving from Burma Camp to the nearby Air-Force-Officers’-Mess near El-Wak Stadium.

Three speeding V8s with sirens wailing caught up with me when I was on top of the overpass bridge. Since I was in the slow lane, they could easily overtake me on the left, but no! 
Knowing their modus operandum of crossing drivers, I stepped on my brakes seconds before the first V8 crossed me.

But for my anticipation, I would have hit him as he planned. As for the consequences, it could have been the same as WO Salia’s. Maybe, after slapping and beating me, they would have with impunity dumped me at the Military Police Check-Point at Burma Camp.

Aftermath

On Saturday, November 28, 2020 at Michel Camp, a top government official is said to have compounded the problem at a durbar with troops by condescendingly offering to give soldiers rice, oil and drinks for Christmas. Naturally, this insult did not amuse troops.

Troops felt while politicians may choose to disrespect the Military as some show glaringly, soldiers will not accept being insulted, and then treated like children, by being given “toffee” after unjustifiably beating them. The angry soldiers were told to forgive and forget!

Uniform

While driving in uniform to Ghana from Northern Nigeria about thirty years ago with my “Manager”, my car had a mechanical problem in a remote area between Abuja and Minna.

The driver of a speeding car which passed us braked hard and reversed. The gentleman left two colleagues with us and drove back twenty kilometres to bring a mechanic to fix my car.

The Nigerian Good-Samaritan, who attended school in Ghana said he only stopped to assist because of my distinct Ghanaian Army uniform!

North Carolina

On the eve of July 4, 2020, passengers boarding a flight to North Carolina to celebrate America’s Independence Day were upset when they were told their flight would be delayed. Amid the grumbling, the captain of the flight came on air and apologised for the delay.

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He then explained that they were delayed because they were getting a special passenger on the flight…the body of a soldier who had been killed in Afghanistan, and was being returned to his family.  

With that there was absolute silence followed by spontaneous applause/expression of gratitude to the soldier and the Military for their sacrifices. Why do self-righteous Ghanaians see only the seamier side of ourselves, and observe near-silence on killed soldiers?”

Discussion

The military uniform is an important symbol of the State’s authority. Attacking/misusing a soldier is an attack on the State. Has impunity reached levels where soldiers can be killed and a Ghanaian laments, “nothing will happen” because of negative record of law-enforcement? Any leader/law enforcer who endorses this undermines his own/state authority. This will not be countenanced in any civilised country!

The situation where killing a soldier, as happened at Ashaiman in March 2023, is treated at best with subdued sympathy, but beating a civilian is trumpeted as “military brutality” must give way to balanced reasoning, not emotions.

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Finally, as stated in an earlier article, giving the CDS and IGP security of tenure will be good for Ghana’s security, as it allows them independence to operate professionally, and not political appendages who must do government’s bidding, or be sacked!

Leadership, lead by example! Fellow Ghanaians, wake up!

The writer is former CEO of African Peace Support Trainers Association, Nairobi, Kenya/Council Chair, Family Health University College, Accra.  

E-mail: [email protected] 

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