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Opinions of Monday, 12 June 2017

Columnist: Kwesi Atta Sakyi

Martyrdom of a brave Ghanaian soldier

Even though to be a soldier means going to war to face battles and probably pay the supreme sacrifice in the process, soldiers need not die needlessly in their homeland through mob lynching as the case was with the late Captain Adam Mahama who was sadly mistaken for an armed robber by a mob in Denkyira Obuasi.

Where did this inordinate desire to lynch emanate from? I believe a carry-over from the infamous June 4th and 31st December movements of the Rawlings era.

Ghana prides itself in having finely trained and disciplined crop of soldiers who have distinguished themselves on the theatre of war during peacekeeping operations in places such as Congo DR, Lebanon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Rwanda, and Kosovo, and Bosnia, among others.

We heard glorious accounts of our forefathers who fought gallantly in the First and Second World Wars as part of the colonial West African Frontier Force which took part in war campaigns in places such as Burma, Cameroons, and East Africa.

Circumstances which led to the the death of the late Captain are sad indeed as there are many accounts but what stands out clearly was that he went jogging in the early morning of that fateful morning not clad in his military uniform. Even then, it is a known fact that soldiers and policemen are easily identified by their unique tunic as well as haircut and the way they present themselves. No one needs to tell you who a soldier is.

However, villagers could be ignorant and unlettered in identifying such markings. The dastardly deed is done as a precious life has been lost. What a great loss to the nation of being robbed of the services of a budding and promising soldier! It was to be, was it?

In my own estimation and analysis, the following are the remote causes leading to such mayhem, bedlam, and lawlessness.

- Lack of strong directive political leadership at the top. We need a strong leadership style emanating from the top. Nkrumah and Rawlings exhibited strong leadership styles, though in those days they trampled on many human rights. Our state security institutions should show strong presence on the ground everywhere in the country. We can form para-military units who can be stationed in every district in Ghana. They should be well armed and operationalized by giving them transport such as jeeps and motorbikes. This para-military unit can create jobs and maintain law and order. We have such units in Nigeria and Zambia. There is even a discreet armed unit in mufti called Flying Squad. These units can undertake route marches and morning jogging sessions to instil some discipline in the communities.

- School-leavers should be given compulsory military training for one year so that they become disciplined. It will keep them occupied. During such training, they can be deployed to work on farms or taught some skills

- All quack pastors should be banned from preaching on radio and those rouble-rousers who talk ad-nausea on radio should be stopped from polluting the air waves and the minds of the youth as many of our young broadcasters are inexperienced and half-baked literates who blow hot air on the airwaves.

- The quack and sham District Assembly as now composed should be called District Legislatures because the name DAs is tarnished and has connotations to the PNDC revolutionary era and as such the concept should be scrapped and we revert to the old local government system which should now be decentralised and made autonomous with power to generate their own revenue with grants and oversight from central government. Appointments should be on qualifications and merit and not on partisan basis.

- Local Governments should have two chambers or bicameral with Lower and Upper Houses, with the Upper House made up of Senior Local Citizens

- The Constitution of Ghana needs reform to give powers to local government to deal with Galamsay and land issues. We should form land police who will enforce all land laws and deal with issues to do with sanitation, environment, etc. Perhaps we need three police units namely, Land Police Unit (LPU), Sanitation Police Unit (SPU), and Environmental Protection Police Unit (EPPU)

- The old concept of the Ghana Bureau of Languages under Nkrumah, and Centre for Civic Education under Busia should be revisited so that we can educate our communities of their rights, obligations, and enlighten them on civil and national developmental issues

- The Ghana Armed Forces, The Ghana Police Force/Service should increase their public relations outfits and engage the public often so that they can sensitize the public about their operations, and strategic plans, mission statement etc

- The police and armed forces should visit colleges and universities to do presentations and identify students to be recruited.

- Each District in Ghana should have a well-equipped police station

- A monument should be set up at the site where Captain Mahama met his untimely death to serve as reminder to all the people in the area and Ghana that such untoward acts are not to be entertained

- Local Vigilante groups in Ghana should be registered and they should work under police supervision

Long ago, Sir Isaac Newton made the famous observation that he could calculate the orbits of heavenly bodies but he could not calculate the madness of crowds. Well, we all know that mob psychology is a potent and dangerous weapon. Let us all help educate our brothers and sisters about the tenets of the law so that in every situation, we follow the law instead of taking the law into our own hands. Such actions border on crudity, barbarism, and savagery. Ghana is a nation of laws. Let us dearly uphold our national motto of Freedom and Justice which is emblazoned on our coat of arms.