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Opinions of Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Columnist: Kester Aburam korankye

Thoughts of a Soldier

We Soldiers are not happy about what is currently going on in the army. Our superiors are telling us to be calm after they have watched the video of the late Capt Adams Maxwell Mahama being massacred.

As Soldiers, our mandate is to stand against both internal and external aggression. To be able to protect Ghanaians, we should be able to protect ourselves first.

But here is a case where a whole Captain of the army has fallen and we can't do anything about it. Even in the animal kingdom, every family protects or defends its own.

We are trained as Soldiers, yet you want us to behave like the Police. Our superiors have given themselves to politics and politicians so much so that they cannot stamp their authority any longer as sworn in allegiance to Ghana and Ghanaians, thereby endangering the lives of Soldiers.

If the Police can stand and fight back anytime they feel threatened, then we wonder why we as Soldiers, that are supposed to lead the way, can no longer do what we ought to do.

In the early 80s, a Policeman was murdered in Hamele, our border town with Burkina Faso. The Police stormed the town and we all know what they did and whatever they did served as a deterrent to the people of the area.

The question is - is it because he is a Captain? So he has been used as a sand bag? By the way, how many soldiers does a Captain command? Is it a section or a platoon? None of these, but rather a Company which has about 315 soldiers. And he died like a pig without owner and honour!

If a whole Captain will fall like this and we can't handle it in our own way, then we wonder how it would have been if it was an Other Rank. If this had happened to a senior officer of the rank of a Colonel and above, is that how it would be handled? God forbid, because there have been instances where Lieutenants and Captains have been attacked but there has never been any retaliation whatsoever. But each time there's an attack on any officer of the rank of Major and above, then we act and act swiftly.

The worst part of it is when an Other Rank is involved. Quickly, they will turn the tables against him crucifying him and use him for political gain.

The soldiers in Diaso couldn't take action because of the way our superiors have given themselves to politics and politicians and the way they treat soldiers when issues come up especially involving lower ranks. Hence, the soldiers inability to act and salute their fallen commander the way they ought to. The rules of engagement are clear when your life is in danger or that of your colleague is in danger.

Years back, it was predicted that the way the Ghana Armed Forces treats Soldiers when there is an issue, it would surely get to a time that Commander's would be attacked and Soldiers would not react, not because they do not want to but because Command is not trust worthy. Unfortunately, it has happened.

Now our superiors are being controlled by politicians. A Minister or Member of Parliament calls a military officer on the phone and all he can do is say 'Yes Sir' even if the Minister is wrong.

When they want to do same to the Other Ranks and they put them right, they say the Other Ranks do not respect.

If Command continues to treat Soldiers in this manner whenever there is an issue involving Soldiers, acts like this will never stop. We must be allowed to do what we have been trained for!

The question is - if you deploy soldiers with arms to represent you and you think they are mad men yet you sent them to represent you, then how do we describe you???

Dark days indeed!

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