Opinion: The “demilitarization of the military” in Ghana

Army storms parliament

The purpose of Ghana Armed Forces, and for that matter, armed forces all over the world is to protect and defend the country and its interests by land, sea and air against external forces. Their training is unique and the roles clearly defined.

The military is not trained to engage in domestic affairs until they are called upon to do so; it has to return to base immediately after executing the task.

In some countries, it is rare to see soldiers in uniform on the streets. Even if they do, they are either passing through or attending to personal needs. You won’t see them dressed in full battle order with their rifles slung behind them walking in the streets.

In Ghana it is the opposite, especially these days. Fully dressed combat ready military men are often seen on the streets of Accra, chasing hawkers, motorists, stopping civilians who are not wearing masks, serving as “bodyguards” to politicians, etc. Reports suggest that some are even made to serve as errand boys to anybody who seems to have connections with government officials or politicians in power.

Recently, soldiers were officially deployed in one of the Akyem towns as land guards; the Armed Forces is yet to come out with who authorised that operation. Independent sources have unearthed soldiers who have, apparently, been officially detailed to provide security for Chinese miners and their local Ghanaian cohorts. As if these are not enough, there have been two most shocking videos recently – the deployment of soldiers under a whole Army Colonel to invade Parliament house and a soldier assigned to a private legal practitioner as his bodyguard and errand boy.

Soldiers were deployed, and in some cases, used to intimidate voters prior to and during the recent election. The on-going election petition has also revealed another abuse of the military. During the first lock- down, a military man, either accidentally or deliberately, shot a civilian in Ashaiman. It is an eye sour to see about platoon strength of battle-ready troops assigned to the Electoral Commissioner as personal security, a duty that should be provided by the Ghana Police Service.

The question that readily comes to mind is whether the roles of the military have changed? What are the duties of the police these days? Who is behind all these military deployments?

Sometimes, people wonder why the Military and Police are having problems with each other. It is simple: somebody is breaking the rules. Soldiers do not enforce laws; it is the duties of the police service. Soldiers are not trained to perform police duties. So when soldiers are deployed to “take over” police duties, it is sign that the police are of no relevance.

It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. The continued presence of the military in harmless domestic matters is breeding disrespect among civilians for the military.

Several questions need to be asked. Why should soldiers be seen on the streets chasing non-mask wearing civilians in Accra and some Regional capitals? Why should soldiers dressed in full musketry order be seen driving hawkers off the streets? Why should soldiers be used as private security personnel? Why are soldiers deployed to perform non-military duties? When have those assignments become military duties?

It is said “when a man is dancing offbeat, it is the relatives who burry their faces in their palms”. The government and the military high command must wake up before the image of the military goes into the drain.

The military must be called upon, if and only if, there is civil disobedience and the police are incapable of handling the situation. In any case, why won’t the government recruit and train more police officers to improve upon the population-police ratio?

I call on the Military High Command to quickly address these issues before the military completely loses its respect.

By: Nana Kofi Odikro II

Publish on Apt

Do you have any Social, informational, educational or entertaining stuff that should be featured on www.aptnewsghana.com?

Please submit your stories, pictures, and videos to us via WhatsApp: +233548388489 or click on the icon on your screen. Alternatively, email us: aptnewsghana@gmail.com

RSS APO Group – Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa

  • Coronavirus - Zambia COVID-19 statistics daily status update (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    COVID-19 daily update - 11th May: we report 40 new cases out of 5,697 tests (0.7% positivity), 38 recoveries, and 4,399 new vaccinations; with 1 new death (MHSRIP).Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI).Media filesDownload logo
  • Coronavirus - Eritrea: Announcement from the Ministry of Health (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    Sixty-four patients have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 in tests carried out today at Quarantine Centers in Gash Barka, Anseba, Northern Red Sea, and Central Regions. Out of these, fifty-one patients are from Quarantine Centers in Ghirmaika (25), Agordat (22), Ali Ghidir (3), and Adibara (1); Gash Barka Region.  Six patients are from a Quarantine […]
  • Team Qhubeka ASSOS take on Challenge Mallorca May 12, 2021
    Team Qhubeka ASSOS (www.TeamQhubeka.com) will head to Mallorca, Spain, this week for the four UCI 1.1 races that make-up the Challenge Mallorca, starting tomorrow. Trofeo Calvia, Trofeo Serra de Tamuntana, Trofeo Andratx and the Trofeo Alcudia are the four events taking place on the Spanish Balearic Island of Mallorca this week. Each of the races […]
  • Energy Capital & Power Confirms High-level Sponsors for South Sudan Oil & Power 2021 Event May 12, 2021
    Energy Capital & Power (www.EnergyCapitalPower.com) is excited to announce the confirmation of several high-profile sponsors for its South Sudan Oil & Power 2021 (SSOP) conference on 29-30 June 2021, in Juba; Event sponsors include Nilepet, DPOC, GPOC, SPOC, Petronas, CNPC, Atlas-Oranto, Centurion Law Group, Trinity Energy, Nile Petroleum Service Co., IPTEC and Stanbic Bank; ECP […]
  • ?About a Boy ? the big winner at 2021 Nollywoodweek Film Festival May 12, 2021
    "About a Boy", a story about the psychological games played between a writer and his muse by first-time director Diji Aderogba received the highest honor at the 2021 Nollywoodweek (www.Nollywoodweek.com) film festival, the Audience appreciation award known as the Prix du Public. The announcement of the winning film marked the culmination of the 2021 edition […]
  • The Newest TECNO CAMON 17 Pro raised the bar for selfie smartphones, allowing users to express their true selves creatively in their own way May 12, 2021
    On May 6th, TECNO (www.TECNO-mobile.com), a rising superstar as a global smartphone brand of the new generation, has successfully launched the TECNO CAMON 17 Pro and get back their focus on the seflie for the users in post-epidemic era with48MP AI selfie camera and 90 Hz super-high refreshing rate at 6.8 inch FHD Screen. Not […]
  • UNICAF Sets Out Plan to Expand to 17 African Countries Following UN Call for Investment In Digital Education May 12, 2021
    The COVID-19 pandemic unearthed the fault lines for what could be a generational catastrophe in education. Even before the pandemic resulted in school closures affecting over 1.6 billion students in at least 161 countries (https://bit.ly/3ydxErB), more than 250 million school-age children (https://bit.ly/3eGd6QM) were out of school globally. In much of the developing world, the gap […]
  • Coronavirus - Kenya: COVID-19 update (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    356 people have tested positive to the disease, from a sample size of 4,424 tested in the last 24 hours. Our positivity rate is at 8.0%. From the cases 329 are Kenyans while 27 are foreigners. Total confirmed positive cases are now 163,976 and cumulative tests so far conducted are 1,725,546. County distribution of new […]
  • Coronavirus - South Africa: COVID-19 Statistics in South Africa (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    Tests conducted: 10,931,906 Positive cases identified: 1,599,272 Total recoveries: 1,519,258 Total deaths: 54,896 New cases: 1,548Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa, Department of Health.Media filesDownload logo
  • Coronavirus - Eswatini: COVID-19 daily update (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    Total daily tests: 1,068 New confirmed cases: 5 Cumulative confirmed cases: 18,487 Active cases: 32 Recoveries: 17,784 (0 new) Currently admitted: 0 New deaths: 0 Total deaths: 671 Total vaccinated to date: 35,227Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health, Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini.Media filesDownload logo
About Editor 616 Articles
Joe Bright Nyarko Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.