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General News of Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Source: The New Statesman

Stop intimidating Ghanaians - Hackman tells CDS

A former Interior Minister in the erstwhile Kufuor administration, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, has described as intimidating, the recent statement from the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Michael Samson Oje, announcing the intention of the military to deal brutally with trouble makers on December 7.

According to Air Marshall Samson Oje, the military will take tough action against people planning to cause mayhem during this year’s election, stressing that the military are ready and prepared to “deal ruthlessly with anyone who causes any kind of trouble during the election period.”

But Mr Owusu-Agyeman believes the threatening statement from the CDS is unhelpful in a democratic country such as Ghana, observing that it constitutes a subtle attempt to scare aware voters on the day of elections.

“I want to tell the Chief of Defence staff to stop intimidating us because we will not be intimidated. I am telling everyone to go and vote on December 7. Everyone should go about their duties because what the CDS said is neither here nor there. Nobody is going to deal with anybody ruthlessly, and we should just do what the law requires,” he stated.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang told the Daily Statesman that the job of the military is to protect the country against external aggression, and not to intimidate the people or meddle in political matters, especially as the electorates prepare to exercise their franchise on December 7.

“What he must realise is that no one is creating trouble and besides that the job of the military is to protect the country against external aggression not to intimidate the people. What he (CDS) is doing is tantamount to interfering in the system because people in developing countries always associate the movement of the armed forces with governmental functions,” he said.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang, also a former Member of Parliament for New Juaben North in the Eastern Region, added: “it is completely out of order, unheard of, never happened in this country for the Chief of Staff to issue such statements or threaten people.”

Describing his posture as unacceptable, Mr Owusu-Agyemang explained that it was rather the CDS who was giving the citizenry the bad impression that there was going to be violence on the Election Day. “I can say it on authority that what he has done is completely unbecoming of a CDS. It has never happened before. I take exception to that,” he said.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang regretted that fact that the body language of the CDS, as well that of some of the other security heads, leaves a lot to be desired, stressing that the confidence people have in the security services, especially with regards to their neutrality, is nothing worth writing home about at the moment.