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Victims: Ghana's democracy versus military brutality

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Tue, 21 Mar 2023 Source: Charles Yeboah Sir Lord

Lucky Dube, the South African reggae legend of blessed memory, was so prophetic in his song: Victims.

Guided by history, if one is myopic, the rendition will only be limited to the killings and humiliation black South Africans suffered under the Apartheid system of white minority rule and its aftermath.

But as it is in line with the prophecies of the old prophets, Lucky Dube's lyrics reflect and serve as a reference point when blacks or by stretch when any other human being is brutalised.

Ashaiman in Ghana has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the month of March supposed to be solemnly observed as Ghana Month, meant to celebrate our Independence and democratic journey.

The pomp and pageantry showcased in Ho at the Independence Day parade are not dominating the headlines and discourse these past days as they would have been in previous years.

Rather, death of personnel in uniform and retaliation in brutalities by his angered colleagues in the army.

A young soldier, Trooper Sheriff Imoro was horribly murdered by unknown assailants at Ashaiman. In a war zone Rambo style, the military swooped down on the Ashaiman citizens in a dawn raid to fish out the perpetrators. Using helicopters and armoured vehicles, the armed-to-the-teeth men in uniform paraded about two hundred citizens and subjected them to inhumane treatment.

Obviously, in such a case, innocent citizens will be caught in the raid and suffer bruises and broken limbs.

The military justifies their actions, and seems to have support from some citizens, angered by how some Ghanaians can mete out mob justice on people they think are offending.

The cruel killing of Major Maxwell Mahama few years ago in Denkyira Obuasi is often cited to back the retaliatory acts of the military to deter will-be offenders that will attack military personnel.

Human rights lawyers and those arguing on common sense disagree and discourage such an assumption that the military can take the laws into their hands and punish people in this democratic era of rule of law.

Mob justice can befall any other citizen – uniformed or civilian. The same way, arbitrary arrests and brutality can victimise any other Ghanaian, a perpetrator of mob justice or those innocent people caught up in the raid at the wrong time.

Why are we doing this to ourselves? The three celebrated ex-military men, Sergeant Adjetey, Private Odartey and Corporal Attipoe should be turning in their graves now for we the living making their heroic efforts that triggered our Independence struggle worthless.

They sacrificed their precious blood facing the merciless gun of the oppressor in their attempts to redeem their promised remuneration after fighting in the Second World War (WWII) for the British.

If they knew dying to give us freedom will be so dishonoured this way, they would have advised themselves and sat on the fence, arms folded, as the enemy humiliated and killed us all.

So, Lucky Dube sang it:

"I didn't know she was crying, until now she turned to look at me.

She said, boy oh boy, you bring tears into my eyes.

I said why?

She said boy o boy you bring tears into my eyes.

Bob Marley said, how long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look.

Little did he know that eventually now, the enemy will stand aside and look, while we slash and kill our own brothers, knowing that already, they are the victims of the situation. Still licking wounds from brutality, still licking wounds from humiliation.

She said these words and the wrinkles on her face became the perfect trace of the tears, and she said:

Chorus: We're the victims every time, we get double troubles every time.

"She took me outside the churchyard,

show me graves on the ground.

She said: there lies a man, who fought for equality.

There lies a boy who died in his struggles.

Can all these heroes, die in vain, while we slash and kill our brothers, knowing that already they're the victims of the situation. .."

Fellow Ghanaians, let us all march in this marching Ghana month of March to the graves of our slain soldiers, to the grave of Kwame Nkrumah, to the grave of JB Danquah, to the grave of Kofi Abrefa Busia and on the graves of all the other freedom fighter heroes and weep for disappointing them.

The enemy they freed us from now stands aside and looks, as we kill and humiliate our brothers knowing that they are victims of the situation, still licking wounds from humiliation and brutality.

Columnist: Charles Yeboah Sir Lord