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Opinions of Sunday, 14 December 2014

Columnist: Ali, Joseph Oswald

Brutality without Integrity; Pale Military Shadow left in Wa

Coming events cast their shadows and one wouldn’t be much surprised at the reaction by the military to the unmasked and brutal approach at Wa Islamic SHS as if they were in confrontation with Boko haram gunmen. I write not as an alien to this event but wish to lighten this issue with an eyewitness account. Before I proceed I wish to find out whether the investigations were done in Wa or far away Accra in the stables of Ghana Armed Forces ‘play down’ public propaganda outfit sorry public relations department I should say?
Time without number, the military have taken the rights of the people back and forth like playing the brazuuka football in the just ended world cup final. The military have no barracks in Wa, they only came to town several years ago as a result of the intermittent conflicts we experience. In a combatant mood they are often ruthless to people caught in activities ranging from a road traffic offence to thievery or robbery without recourse to the due process of law. This strikes uncontrollable fear into many residents to such an extent that many ladies for fear of being molested accept any advances made by these men in uniform.
That said November 20th this year, saw the campus of Wa Islamic SHS turn into a torture ground just for the fact that students had gone on a demonstration which is least qualified to be termed a riot. At the time I arrived at the scene the police were already on the campus of the school using tact and diplomacy to restore calm. They were led by the deputy regional crime officer of Upper West ASP Lysander Asare, at a point calm was restored he sent for the students to come to the assembly grounds to be addressed. It was during this period that some military men entered the campus at the blind side of the police. The students police sent to the girls’ dormitory to call their colleagues and those at the dormitory were ordered to lie-down and they were beaten resoundingly. ‘We when we are called we are bad news’ were the words of the military men. All this is available on audio.
This led to a confrontation between the military men and ASP Asare warned the military men to be mindful of their actions. He subsequently apologized on behalf of the, military to the students.
Truth be told, the military didn’t conduct any investigation I really don’t understand what they mean by internal investigations it should as well be called internal collusion. Did their instigations involve the police, students and media? Certainly not and why were they investigating it since they denied it a day after the incident?
The Ghana armed forces are a strong institution but it lacks a strong character. What does it take to admit your frailties? The military high command must be seen as the first to shape the path of its members but to give them the impetus to continue the brazen disregard for the law is unfortunate. Please they ought to come back to want to mend their tattered integrity we reject I reject in totality their half-baked investigation.
Suffice this to say, the silence of the Upper West regional minister on this matter is worrying. The demonstration didn’t go out of hand so who issued the command to the military?
Together let us build a better society.
Joseph Oswald Ali